Detroit Institute of Arts Big Art Auction

When the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) invited the public to donate artworks for a Big Art Sale fundraiser, the response was remarkable. The museum accepted 180 objects, each valued between $250–$30,000, to auction off on Thursday and Friday, October 1 and 2. The Big Art Sale will take place at DuMouchelle Art Galleries, 409 E. Jefferson in Detroit, and proceeds benefit the DIA.

Martin Rosol
Untitled, Martin Rosol, 2005, glass

Among the items to be auctioned are works by Tyree Guyton, Jacob Lawrence, Max Ernst and Alexander Calder. Also up for bid are sterling silver pieces, a Turkish silk rug, a wood Akan comb from Ghana, lithographs, and a leaf-shaped brooch and earrings made of 18 karat gold and sapphires. Although some of the items are by artists represented in the DIA’s collection, such as Norval Morrisseau and Tony Smith, none of the objects are from the museum’s collection.

“We are thrilled by the range and quality of artworks contributed by our patrons,” said Graham W. J. Beal, DIA director. “and I hope that the auction will present a special opportunity for our public to support the DIA while pleasing themselves with lasting acquisitions for their homes.”

Among the most expensive items are: an 1897 oil painting by Theodore Levigne entitled A Pretty Girl with a Bouquet of Flowers, donated by Edsel Ford II, valued between $20,000–25,000; and a wood dining table with table leaves, sideboard and 12 leather and wood side chairs from the estate of W. Hawkins Ferry, valued between $10,000–20,000.

Items in the $250–500 price range include: a silk and embroidered Chinese wedding gown; a Costa Rican earthenware pot with a face, dated 300–500 CE; a 1960 Tiffany & Co. framed clock; a signed poster from the 1972 Munich Olympics; and several Waterford crystal pieces.

There will be a Preview Night party on Thursday, October 1 at 6 p.m. that will feature a live auction with 29 items valued from $1,000 to $30,000 and the opportunity to pre-bid on Friday night’s items. Tickets to Thursday’s event are $50. For tickets, call 313-833-1923.

The public live auction will take place on Friday, October 2 at 6:30 p.m. and admission is free. Daytime viewing at DuMouchelle Art Galleries will be available Sept. 30–Oct. 2, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. The auction catalog is available on line at www.bigartsale.org

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