The final gavel rang down to thunderous applause as the first ever Irving Harper sculpture was sold for $21,000 at a charitable auction to benefit The Rye Arts Center on Saturday, January 10th.
With the artist looking on intently along with the Harper family, RAC Board President and auctioneer, Jeff Taylor, led the bidding for the whimsical and intricately worked paper snake that captured the imagination of art admirers from far and wide. Guests arrived from California, Michigan, Canada, and from throughout Westchester County to attend the “art history” making auction event. Telephone bidders also awaited on-line to participate along with the 165 attendees during the live auction.
The colorful snake was surely the focal point for active bidding, but the later addition of a rare tour and visit with Harper at his home provides a priceless experience for the lucky winners, Kate and Paul Conn of Rye.
Paul, cool and calm, waited until the final minute to place his first and winning bid.
"We were captivated by Mr. Harper's unique art and his personal story. His art appeals to our young sons as much as it does to us. Kate and I are thrilled for the opportunity to be the custodians of the first piece of Mr. Harper's art ever to be sold. We're also delighted to support The Rye Arts Center and we thank them for hosting this world-class exhibit and vibrant, competitive auction."
All proceeds generated by the auction will go directly to support The RAC’s future exhibitions, arts education and outreach initiatives. Irving Harper: A Mid-Century Mind At Play remains in the RAC Gallery located at 51 Milton Road, Rye through January 24th. Currently, there are no future plans for the exhibit to travel or tour.
Photo credit: Rye Arts Center, Jeff Davis