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Works of Art Are Going, Going, Gone

November 02, 2000|PAMELA DIAMOND

The event: The Laguna Art Museum's 18th Annual Art Auction held Saturday in the building's galleries. More than 200 California artists contributed to an eclectic collection that ranged from mixed media collage to free-form sculptures.

Raffle winners Joel and Greta Panish of Laguna Beach took home an 11-inch bronze by Robert Graham, while the night's highest bids went to two paintings: Larry Cohen's View of Downtown San Francisco ($3,800) and Llyn Foulkes' The Crossing ($3,000).

Fruit as art: Decorative bowls of green apples reflected the evening's theme, "What is Art?" which was inspired by surrealist Rene Magritte's famous painting of a man in a bowler with a green apple suspended over his head. "We thought it was such an intriguing question," explained Chairwoman Maggie Stapp. "It evokes different responses from everyone."

Volunteers in bowler hats served green-apple martinis embellished with maraschino cherries while more than 500 guests cruised the galleries and made their bids. Guests also enjoyed appetizers--chicken and leek strudels were hot tickets--before the live auction began.

Guests' attire was mostly basic black, from sequins and leather to classic black turtlenecks.

Quote: "The auction is a great opportunity to get fabulous art at very good prices," Stapp said. "And guests get to mingle with the artists."

The annual event unites people in a unique way, noted museum board president Jack Kenefick. "It allows them to enjoy and appreciate art from artists around California, and that common interest can break down a lot of barriers."

Bottom line: The event netted $60,000. The money will be used to support the museum's education and children's programs and help develop new exhibits. The auction helps upcoming artists get a foothold in their career and promotes collecting in the community, said museum director Bolton Colburn. "That's the wonderful thing about Laguna Beach having grown up as an art colony."

What's new: For $1,000, people can buy a tile etched with their name to be placed in the museum lobby. The money raised will go toward the museum's endowment fund. The program was inspired by tiles found in the museum building that date back to 1929. Call (949) 494-8971.

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