Hanging on the walls of Rockport Art Association are more than 200 artworks by deceased artists that will be sold at the organization’s major benefit auction Saturday. The vast array of subjects range from familiar street scenes of Rockport and Gloucester, to seascapes, landscapes and still lifes.
The works are now on view. Plus, there will be a free special evening reception Friday from 4 to 7 p.m. The art auction kicks off Saturday, May 4, at 2 p.m.
The Rockport Art Association, now in its 92nd year, boasts many artist members who achieved national prominence. They have earned memberships to the National Academy, the American Watercolor Society and many other prestigious art associations. This auction helps raise money to operate the local art association, which has about 250 artist and photography members.
The prices of the works range greatly, starting around $200 and going upward of $15,000 for the more prominent artists. But the bidding can go both above and below estimated values, thus providing an element of surprise at each auction. The gallery is always jam-packed with both serious collectors and newcomers to the auction. Many are local, although out-of-towners make this a special stop so they do not miss out on this opportunity.
“This auction has become like a traditional homecoming event,” said Carol Linsky, the art association’s director.
The auction evolved from a bequest by founding member Antonio Cirino (1889-1983). He left his artwork to the association provided that the art be auctioned to help support the organization. The auction grew to include other historic Cape Ann artists, and has been the association’s major fund-raising event ever since.
This year’s 229 offerings include works by Cirino, Aldro Hibbard, Anthony Thieme, William Myerowitz, Harrison Cady, Emile Gruppe, Paul Strisik, Henry Hensche, Marguerite Pearson, Carl Peters, W. Lester Stevens, Emma Fordyce MacRae, Alfred Czerepak and many more. This year also includes some firsts: a hand-carved table by Max Kuehne and six whimsical portraits by Earle Merchant.