SFMOMA’s 2013 Art Auction Raised Nearly $1.5 Million For Exhibition and Education Programs

Images by Drew Altizer Photography

Some 500 of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA)’s supporters and Bay Area art collectors came together on April 24, 2013 to bid on more than 50 artworks at the museum’s Art Auction 2013. Organized by SFMOMA’s Modern Art Council (MAC), the museum’s premier fund-raising auxiliary, the 19th biennial event grossed nearly $1.5 million in support of the museum’s exhibitions and education programs.

Arriving at the museum, guests were greeted with the opportunity to have their portrait taken with a handsome Porsche car—courtesy of presenting sponsor of the night Northern California Porsche Dealers—playing off the launch of SFMOMA’s “On the Go” off-site programming while the building is temporarily closed for expansion construction.

Festivities began in the Schwab Room, where guests enjoys delectable bites by McCalls catering and toasted with bubbly by Ruinart and a special cocktail called “The Winning Bid,” which set the mood for some high stakes paddle-raising.

Museum patrons and friends—including event chair Alka Agrawal and husband Ravin;  Gretchen and John Berggruen; Sabrina Buell and Yves Behar; Dolly and George Chammas; Steven Dinkelspiel (San Francisco magazine); Carla Emil and Rich Silverstein; Bob and Randi Fisher; Stanlee Gatti; Blake and Michelle Richards (Bank of America); Jon and Linda Gruber; Mimi Haas; Charlot and Gregory Malin; Nion McEvoy; Philip Mauney (Porsche); Diana Nelson and John Atwater; Jed Pedersen (Webcor); Stuart and Gina Peterson; Laura King Pfaff (Bonhams); Charles and Helen Schwab; Judd Sher (Deloitte); MAC president Joni Binder Shwarts and husband Robert; Norah and Norman Stone; Abigail Turin and Jonathan Gans; Carlie Wilmans; Anne Wintroub (AT&T); and Annie and Montgomery Woods—mingled and buzzed about  the 15 live auction items and 41  silent auction pieces donated by galleries nationwide. During the silent auction, the crowd had fun using IML mobile-bidding devices, an aspect new to the event this year.

The art represented an exceptional range of work by both established and emerging artists who have been featured in major exhibitions at the museum or who have produced works that are cornerstones of SFMOMA’s collection, such as John Baldessari, Vija Celmins, Chuck Close, Rineke Dijkstra, Mark di Suvero, Andreas Gursky, Jasper Johns, Marilyn Minter, Martin Puryear, Gerhard Richter, Cindy Sherman, Katharina Sieverding, Kiki Smith, Andy Warhol, Garry Winogrand, and  Christopher Wool.

As the evening progressed, bidders moved to the live auction in the museum’s Haas Atrium. In his welcoming remarks, SFMOMA board chair Charles R. Schwab have a special nod to event chair Alka Agrawal and Modern Art Council president Joni Binder Shwarts for their incredible work in pulling the auction together.

Led by Patrick Meade of  Bonhams Auctioneers & Appraisers,  the bidding was serious throughout, but the highest-selling work of the night was a large-scale watercolor pigment print by Chuck Close titled Self-Portrait (Yellow Raincoat) (2013), which hammered for $100,000.

Another work that saw spirited competition was a stunning suite of four mezzotints and one etching with drypoint by Vija Celmins, which went for  $44,000 (high estimate $28,000).

In keeping with SFMOMA’s legacy of leadership in the area of photography, it was a great night for the medium, with a large-scale ink print collage by Jim Goldberg going for $36,000 (high estimate $20,000); a vintage print by Garry Winogrand closing out at $15,000 (high estimate $12,000);  a large chromogenic print by Rineke Dijkstra hammering at $44,000 (estimate: $35,000-$45,000); and an ink-jet print by Andreas Gursky from 1980—his very first published picture and a work that’s never been to market before—selling for $40,000 (estimate: $35,000-$45,000).

“It was such a fun evening and such a great outpouring of support for SFMOMA from our dedicated community,” says SFMOMA Director Neal Benezra. “Some very happy patrons went home with terrific works of art. I truly appreciate the hard work that went into this event and the spirit that was shared by all that night,” Benezra concluded.

When the bidding was over, guests were treated to warm mini-donuts and a live musical performance by San Francisco band Geographer—a sweet ending for a lovely night at the museum.

SFMOMA’s Art Auction 2013 was made possible through the generous support of presenting sponsor Northern California Porsche Dealers and supporting sponsors AT&T, Deloitte, and Webcor Builders. San Francisco magazine was the media sponsor and Bonhams Auctioneers & Appraisers was the auction house sponsor. In-kind sponsorship was provided by Blueprint Studios, Champagne Ruinart, Hafner Vineyard, The Painters Place Picture Framers, and Ship Art International.

Jim Campbell, Wavelengths, 2002
Estimate: $80,000-$90,000/Sold for: $70,000

Vija Celmins, Web Ladder, Divided Night Sky, Reverse Galaxy, Falling Stars, and Dark Galaxy (2010)
Estimate: $22,000-$28,000/Sold for: $44,000

Chuck Close, Self-Portrait (Yellow Raincoat), 2013
Estimate: $75,000-$95,000/Sold for: $100,000

Rineke Dijkstra, Sefton Park, Liverpool, June 10, 2006 B, 2006
Estimate: $35,000-$45,000/Sold for: $44,000

Mark di Suvero, Untitled, 2009
Estimate: $170,000-$190,000/Sold for: $80,000

Jim Goldberg, Destiny’s Shiny Bracelet, 1989, printed 2012
Estimate: $15,000-$20,000/Sold for: $36,000

Andreas Gursky, Gasherd (Gas cooker), 1980
Estimate: $35,000-$45,000/Sold for: $40,000

Jasper Johns, Periscope, 1981
Estimate: $20,000-$25,000/Sold for: $23,000

Gerhard Richter, Untitled (21.5.07), 2007
Estimate: $75,000-$85,000/Sold for: $80,000

Cindy Sherman, Untitled (2010/12)
Estimate: $50,000-$75,000/Sold for: $48,000

Katharina Sieverding, Maton 11/1 A, 1969, printed 1996
Estimate: $65,000-$85,000/Sold for: $35,000

Snøhetta, Dollhouse, 2012
Estimate: $15,000-$25,000/Sold for: $18,000

Andy Warhol, Still-Life (Hammer & Sickle), 1977
Estimate: $60,000-$90,000/Sold for: $65,000

James Welling, FD1, 2012
Estimate: $20,000-$25,000/Sold for: $12,000

Garry Winogrand, Central Park Zoo, New York, 1967, printed in 1970s
Estimate: $10,000-$12,000/Sold for: $15,000