BILLED as "the most important Latin American art auction ever held on the West Coast," a fundraiser for the Museum of Latin American Art in Long Beach next weekend will offer 182 works donated by artists, collectors and galleries. Oil paintings, sculptures, graphics, photography and works on paper by 153 artists -- including widely recognized masters such as Fernando Botero, Rafael Coronel and Jose Luis Cuevas -- will go on the block.
The selling prices of individual works remain to be seen, but the museum's estimates go as high as $240,000 for "La Familia," Botero's 1992 charcoal-on-canvas portrayal of an overfed family clustered in a forest-like setting. At the other end of the spectrum, some drawings and limited-edition prints are expected to bring as little as $400. The museum hopes the sale will raise about $500,000 for its exhibitions and programs.
Organizers say the assembly of artworks is a relatively affordable alternative to the high-end sales of Latin American art regularly staged in New York by Sotheby's and Christie's.
This is not the first auction at MoLAA, but it's by far the biggest. Scheduled as the finale of a month of events celebrating the museum's new sculpture garden and performing arts space, it will begin at 6 p.m. Saturday with a $100-per-person gala and silent bidding. The first round of items not sold in the silent auction will be offered in a live auction, open only to gala ticket holders, from 8 to 10 p.m. Saturday. The price of tickets can be credited toward purchases in the live auction but not to items sold in the silent bidding. The final session -- free and open to the public -- will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday.