The More You Pay, The More It’s Worth

If you have followed our report of the first session of the housing works’ auction of early American prints, you will be familiar with Kathleen Guzman’s work: “The more you pay, the more it’s worth.” It was a sensational sale and a lot of items were sold 20-40 times more than their estimates. Ms. Guzman is coming back next week to auction the second batch of the sale. Here are the details:

Lot 42, George Washington on Horseback

On Wednesday, Jan. 27, celebrity auctioneer Kathleen Guzman will preside over Housing Works’ second and final auction of early American prints to fund the charity’s ongoing programs to assist low-income New Yorkers living with HIV/AIDS.

The auction includes dozens of desirable prints by the quintessential American engravers Currier and Ives. All will be available to preview starting Monday, Jan. 25, at the Gramercy Housing Works venue at 157 E. 23rd Street in Manhattan. Eighty lots containing a total of 90 items will be auctioned.Just in time for President’s Day, the auction will include numerous portraits of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, as well as horseracing prints, pastoral scenes, and events and maps. One noteworthy map, The Battle of Long Island, 1776 by cartographer Samuel Holland, sold through a prominent Philadelphia auction house in 2007 for $14,000.

The first Housing Works auction of early American prints, which was held last October, pointed toward a resurgence of interest in the genre. The inventory of 56 lots earned an astonishing $40,000.

“I was gratified by the response to the first auction,” Guzman said, noting that the current economic climate is an ideal one in which to buy art at below-market prices. “I encourage all collectors who love early American prints to bid in the auction to score great deals while you still can. You’ll be raising money for a fantastic organization at the same time.”

New York’s Swann Auction Galleries and the collectibles Web site Worthpoint.com are contributing support to Early American Prints, Part II. The Works – Housing Works’ catering company – will provide light hors d’oeuvres and beverages.

The Early American Prints auction events were prompted by an anonymous donation of nearly 300 engravings and prints. Many were originally sold by the famed Kennedy Gallery.

Guzman is a world-renowned auctioneer who appears frequently on PBS Television’s Antiques Roadshow, has worked for Christie’s and Sotheby’s, and has auctioned everything from Michael Jackson’s silver glove to Dorothy’s ruby slippers from The Wizard of Oz. She has been volunteering at Housing Works since January 2009. WNYC, New York Public Radio, profiled her last month.

A silent auction of a separate selection of prints will take place on Housing Works Thrift Shops’ auction site, Shophousingworks.com, starting midnight, Friday, Jan. 22 and closing at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 3. Online auction items will be featured in the windows of Housing Works’ Gramercy Thrift Shop on Friday, Sept. 25.

All proceeds from the auctions will go toward proving life-saving services such as housing, medical care, meals and job training to homeless and low-income New Yorkers living with HIV/AIDS.

About Hui

Wang Hui lived from 1632 - 1717 and followed in the footprints of his great grandfathers, grandfather, father and uncles and learned painting at a very early age. He was later taught by two contemporary masters, Zhang Ke and Wang Shimin, who taught him to work in the tradition of copying famous Chinese paintings. This is most likely the reason why critics claim that his work is conservative and reflects the Yuan and Song traditions. One critic claimed that "his landscape paintings reflect his nostalgic attachment to classical Chinese aesthetics. Along with the other Wangs, Wang Hui helped to perpetuate the tradition of copying the ancient masters rather than creating original work.

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