Brattleboro Museum & Art Center holds online auction Friday

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BRATTLEBORO — With its Spring Gala and other important fundraisers canceled this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center is counting on an online auction to provide essential support for its year-round youth and education programs. Hosted by Duane Merrill & Company Auctioneers and Appraisers, the auction will take place on Friday, Sept. 4, starting at 9:45 a.m.— in person at the Merrill & Co. showroom in Williston, and online via LiveAuctioneers.com. Details are at brattleboromuseum.org.

In addition to the cancellation of its Spring Gala, the museum has lost revenue this year due to a three-month-long closure of its galleries and the cancellation of all in-person events since mid-March. The museum is now open on a pay-as-you-wish basis, with masks and social distancing in place.

Vermont's largest auction house, Merrill & Co. has hosted benefit auctions on behalf of a number of Vermont nonprofit and cultural institutions, including the Shelburne Museum, the Hood Museum of Art and the former Green Mountain College. When the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center was forced to cancel its annual Spring Gala, Director Danny Lichtenfeld contacted Merrill & Co. owner Ethan Merrill, who agreed to help the museum try to make up some of its lost revenue.

"A silver lining of this new approach" Lichtenfeld said in a statement, "is that thanks to Merrill & Co.'s online presence, we expect to reach many more bidders, worldwide, than we do with our usual in-person auction."

All items to be auctioned off, approximately 100 in total, have been donated to the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center for the express purpose of helping to make up revenue lost due to COVID-19.

The items include a painting by Maurice Utrillo, a pastel painting of a lake shore and a rare limited-edition print of a Martha's Vineyard harbor scene by Wolf Kahn. There is also an oil-on-paper painting by Emily Mason, a watercolor by Eric Aho and paintings, prints, sculpture and functional ceramics by Michael Abrams, Bruce Campbell, Jim Giddings, Carolyn Enz Hack, Christie Herbert, Charlie Hunter, Julia Jensen, Gordon Jones, Ed Koren, Mallory Lake, Stephen Lloyd, Petria Mitchell, Fiona Morehouse, Meridel Rubenstein, James Urbaska, and others. Other items include a large dining room table handcrafted by Vermont furniture maker Garrett Hack, a set of six mid-century modern chairs by Danish designer Jens Risom, two room-size Persian rugs, an assortment of rare wines from Napa Valley, vacation getaways and a pair of "art sneakers" by sculptor Andy Yoder.

"The generosity of our supporters has been humbling," Lichtenfeld said. "I hope the bidding will be robust, so we can take full advantage of the opportunity we have been given."Those unable to participate in the live bidding can place advance bids online, via a link posted at brattleboromuseum.org, or by calling Merrill & Co. Auctioneers at 802-878-2625. The lots benefitting the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center are numbered 051-100 and 201-250.

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