International art collection to be auctioned as Port Angeles Fine Arts Center opens bidding Thursday

Sarah Jane, the new Gallery and Program Director at the Port Angeles Fine Arts Center, has just unwrapped an unusual package — a gift she hopes to pass on to the art-loving community.

In an unprecedented silent auction and show, 21 pieces of fine art from around the world will go up for bid Thursday, Dec. 6 and through Saturday, Dec. 8, at the fine arts center. Natalie Spiegel, a longtime supporter and a woman with an unfettered love for art and global travel, has donated the collection to the center for auction.

Proceeds from the three-day event will benefit the Port Angeles Fine Arts Center, the city’s free, public art gallery at 1203 E. Lauridsen Blvd.

“This is the first major fundraiser we’ve done in some years,” said Jane, who noted that Spiegel, 92, gave the works of art to the center after downsizing her home and moving into an assisted living community.

During the opening party, a VIP night on Thursday, Jane and Jessica Elliott, executive director of the center, will unveil the art, which includes works from the American Southwest all the way to China.

Also that night, chef Scottie Sinclair will lay out a tapas-style buffet beside the artwork. The eight or 10 dishes are the chef’s response to the colors and shapes filling the gallery.

“There’s a piece with striking purples, yellows and reds, and that made me think of carrots and beets,” said Sinclair, who might whip up a dip or a hummus with those sweet root vegetables.

“It will be food from all over the world,” he added.

Sinclair, who is Jane’s spouse, is also a ceramicist with a feeling for handmade cuisine, handmade pottery and the art of both.

“He’s designing an exotic menu. It’ll be a fun pairing,” said Jane. On VIP night she’ll offer a brief talk on the collection and then make herself available to chat about the various pieces.

Tickets to Thursday’s VIP event are $25 at PAFAC.org; space is limited so art lovers are encouraged to purchase in advance.

Starting Friday, the fine arts center will be open to the public and Spiegel’s collection on display. Bidding will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday and from 10 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Saturday. Prospective buyers can also see all of the art in the auction catalog at PAFAC.org: click on “Exhibitions and Events” and then “2018 Benefit Auction.”

Saturday evening the center will have another party: the Auction Countdown from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

“We’re inviting people to join us for spiced cider and light refreshments while they place their final bids — and watch the proceedings — until the auction closes at 6:30 p.m. sharp,” said Jane.

Some auction highlights:

• Israeli artist Yaacov Agam’s 1970 Agamograph — yes, the method is named after him — titled “Straight Wave,” in which the images change when viewed from various angles;

• Christine McHorse’s “Turtle Bowl,” a piece in traditional Navajo style whose micaceous clay has a pearlescent glow;

• Inuit artist Mary Rose Kopak’s “Bear,” a whalebone carving from the Kivalliq region of Nunavut, Canada, a place known for its carvers;

• “Coyote’s Winter Shawl,” an earthenware sculpture by Pueblo artist Snowflake Flower;

• Hideo Hagiwara’s “Germination #5,” a color woodblock print infused with ink from behind the paper, giving the images a buoyant look.

“As I’ve been unpacking it, I’ve been struck by how diverse the work is: Native American work, work by well-known American artists, really striking Japanese prints, some abstract pieces, some traditional,” Jane said.

This is an unusual chance, she added, to collect art by internationally known artists who did groundbreaking work in their time. The items in the auction have starting bids set at 40 percent of the piece’s estimated value: as low as $75. Values range from $200 to $2,000.

“There is really nice work here,” Jane said, “and pieces that will appeal to lots of different people.”

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