We returned from New York City a few days ago. Our hearts go out to all the people of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut who are still dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. For the most part Manhattan looked pretty good (excluding some of the southern part). New Yorkers are a hearty bunch and they got things up and running very quickly. We visited our dear friend Eva Cellini in New Jersey and that was another story. Trees and light poles littered the streets. The damage took one’s breath away. It is obviously much better now, but we certainly offer those still suffering our thoughts and prayers.
Saturday, November 10th the Hermitage Museum Foundation threw its annual gala to support the Hermitage Museum and specifically the “Art From America” program. Jeff Koons and Erik Bulatov were this year’s honorees. Both spoke eloquently about their art and inspirations. Two great artists from different cultures, with more in common as artists than not. Truly inspiring.
After the dinner and speakers the auction began. OK, I’ll admit it now, Ingrid and I were nervous. Her piece was the first to be auctioned off. We held our breaths as the bidding began. This was an $18,000 piece and the bidding began at $2,000. It bounced around, $4,000, $6,000, then stalled at $8,000. OK, somebody’s going to get a great bargain, we thought. Then a collector jumped in at $10,000 and the bidding stopped. The auctioneer was about to slam the hammer down when… I’m not going to tell you. You are going to have to see for yourself. I posted the video of the auction on YouTube. Forgive the poor quality, it was taken using my iPhone.
The video only shows the auctioning of Ingrid’s piece. The rest of the evening was terrific and I’ve heard report that they raised quite a bit of money from the sale of works by Jeff Koons, Damien Hirst, Michal Rovner and Martin Mull. It is also gratifying to know that a portion of the money raised will go to help relief efforts for hurricane victims – nice touch.
Ingrid and I would like to thank the many people who put on this elegant and important event: the generous board members of the Hermitage Museum Foundation, especially Paul and Chauncie Rodzianko and their daughter Marina, Mark Kelner. Thank you staff and associates of the Hermitage Museum Foundation, especially Annie. Thank you Phillips de Pury Auctioneers for the beautiful setting surrounded by great contemporary art. And thank you Simon de Pury for your auction wizardry. A very special thanks goes to Brad and Penny Place, our dear friends and patrons who helped make the evening possible for us.
Wow what a night, we’re still flying!