Karen Sturm purchased most of the artwork in her home at art auctions, where sale prices generally are lower than for work offered in retail galleries.
Sturm is hoping for frenzied bidding May 15 at a 7 p.m. art auction and dessert buffet that will benefit her Fountain Valley synagogue, Congregation B'nai Tzedek.
Lithographs and prints by a variety of artists, including a few from Israel, some Judaica and about 50 higher-priced signed works will come under the gavel. Two works, including a Chagall print valued at $400, will be also be raffled for buyers of $5 tickets, Sturm said.
The 300 items, framed and matted with care, are to be displayed around the sanctuary, lobby and social hall. Participants will receive a numbered, magazine-sized catalog that briefly describes each and also serves as a bidding paddle. To whip up competition, an auctioneer starts the process with a reverse bid, allowing someone to win a work for $1, said Jill A. Selin, auction coordinator for State of the Art, a Cleveland, Tenn., company that helps nonprofits raise funds by sharing auction proceeds.
Sturm is hoping for 100 art lovers, which will earn the synagogue a minimum of $1,000 even if no one buys anything. Serin said the average group earns $5,000.
Art sold at auctions is often by artists whose popularity is waning or are unsold, old remainders from publishers or galleries, said a local gallery owner, who asked not to be identified. "It's a fun event, but not a great deal," the owner said.
The synagogue is located at 9669 Talbert Ave., Fountain Valley. For more information, call (714) 963-4611. Artist requests can be made to Selin at (800) 242-7682.