ROCKPORT — The Rockport Art Association will hold its annual historic art auction, featuring a near record 208 works of art, on Saturday afternoon
"It's a visual history of art on Cape Ann," executive director Carol Linsky said of the organization, now in its 90th year. "We think of it almost as a homecoming weekend because we have people come from all over the country, some who have attended since the first auction in the 1980s. It's exciting to see them."
The event is a true happening, with a festive-like quality as the gallery fills with both buyers and those interested in how the historic auction works.
"This auction has a different character than others because it's a historical show. This is different than others because it's a historical show," said Linsky. "It's special to Cape Ann and it has to be historic pieces. People that collect Cape Ann art love to come to our auctions. Many auctions with historic art include other items like furniture and china. Ours is pure art."
The format will be different this year. Instead of taking each piece off the wall, the image of the artwork will be projected at the stage at the auction center. Also, there is an component to this auction. Those wishing to bid can do so online at www.liveauctioneers.com during the auction, with those bidders joining those live from the audience.
The artwork comes in all sizes and all price tags starting at a few hundred dollars. At the upper end is a painting by Emma Fordyce MacRae (1887-1974), a National Academician. Cape Ann Museum recently held a show of her work. Her painting titled "Half Moon Beach" is estimated at $20,000 to $25,000.
"She was an exceptional artist and it's an exceptional piece," said Linsky.
The works by Emile Gruppe (1896-1978) always draw a lot of interest. Among the lots is a painting titled "Late Afternoon, Gloucester Harbor," estimated at $12,000 to $16,000.
A work by Gruppe's teacher, John F. Carlson (1874-1945), is also among the lots, with his 9-by-11 work titled "Winter," valued at $3,000 to $5,000.
The auction came into existence after the death of one of its prominent founding members, Antonio Cirino (1889-1983), who bequeathed his art to the association with the stipulation that it be auctioned to help support the organization. The auction quickly evolved to include other historic Cape Ann artists, and has been the major annual fund-raising event ever since.
Each year there are works by favorites, including Cirino, Aldro Hibbard, Anthony Thieme, Theresa Bernstein, William Myerowitz, Harrison Cady and Paul Strisik to name a few.
Gail McCarthy can be reached at 978-283-7000s x3455, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you go
What: The Rockport Art Association's annual historic art auction.
When: Saturday, 2 p.m.
Where: Rockport Art Association at 12 Main St. in downtown Rockport. The 208 works are on display now, with a wine and cheese evening reception on Friday from 4 to 7 p.m.
Details: The auction in its entirety is on view on the association's website at www.rockportartassn.org. For additional information, call 978-546-6604.