Aldrich Museum to auction off entire collection

October 28, 2003, 2:11 AM EST (AP)

RIDGEFIELD, Conn. -- The Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art will auction off its entire collection next month as the museum renews a tradition of selling its art to encourage and fund new exhibits.

The auction, which will be held in Binghamton, N.Y., will feature hundreds of pieces, including 12 hand-colored etchings by Salvador Dali, a screenprint by Roy Lichtenstein, lithographs by Richard Linder and a black-and-white photograph by Robert Rauschenberg, The News-Times of Danbury reported.

Museum officials said the Nov. 8 auction will feature more than 200 artists.

The museum's founder, Larry Aldrich, sold his collection of French impressionist and early modern works to start the museum in the 1960s. In the 1980s, he began selling works in the museum collection, reinvesting the money in museum's exhibition program.

When he retired in the late 1980s, the process stopped, the newspaper reported. It is now being renewed, and at the upcoming auction nothing is to be held in reserve.

After expenses, the auction is expected to bring in just $25,000 to the museum, but money is not the only reason for the auction, a museum official said.

"This marks the end of the museum's collecting period," said Richard Klein, the museum's assistant director. "We're following through on Larry Aldrich's mission of supporting emerging and mid-career artists."

Many pieces were offered back to the artists before being put on the auction block, Klein said. New York auctioneer Bob Connelly will oversee the auction.

A preview of 40 selected pieces to be auctioned will take place Friday and Saturday in Cleveland.

"Many of these artists after 25 or 30 years are just being rediscovered," Connelly said. "These are the ones that in the next 10 to 15 years everybody's going to be looking for."

He said some pieces are expected to bring in more than $10,000, while others will fetch about $100.

The museum was closed in August for expansion and renovation. It is scheduled to reopen in the spring.

On the Net:

Copyright © 2003 The Associated Press and