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George Eastman House Benefit Auction set for Oct. 3

Will feature items donated by artists, collectors, and museum supporters, following success of 2010 auction that raised $650,000 for the museum

Rochester, N.Y., April 20, 2011—George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film is organizing its second benefit auction of photographic objects and prints, books, and camera technology, to take place in New York City at Metropolitan Pavilion at 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 3. Denise Bethel, director of the Photographs Department at Sotheby’s New York, will again volunteer her services as auctioneer, as she did for last year’s inaugural benefit auction – which raised more than a half-million dollars in less than two hours for Eastman House.

Artists whose works will be among those in the 2011 auction include Roger Ballen, Jeff Bridges, Carl Chiarenza, Robert Glenn Ketchum, Les Krims, Steve McCurry, Barbara Morgan, Lori Nix, George Seeley, Neal Slavin, George Tice, Larry Towell, Charles Traub, Alex Webb, William Wegman, and Brian Ulrich, recipient of the 2009 John Simon Guggenheim Memorial award. All of the items auctioned are donations; none are from the Eastman House collections.

Coupled with an online component, last year’s benefit auction of 300 photographic items ultimately raised more than $650,000, making it the largest fundraiser in the museum’s 64-year history.  More than 300 people attended last year’s Eastman House benefit auction. It was “the best attended auction of the season,” according to Alex Novak of iPhotoCenral.com. The online component that accompanied the Sotheby’s New York auction was the auction house’s largest charity auction in history. The 2010 donations came from more than 200 donors and featured most processes of photography from the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries.

The George Eastman House 2011 Benefit Auction’s live portion will be preceded by a reception, as well as a program featuring conversations with artists. An online selection also will be available. According to iGavelAuctions.com, the 2010 online lots garnered more than 1,700 bids from an international audience of collectors.

“This was by far one of the best charity auctions ever presented,” said Lark Mason, president and founder of iGavelAuctions.com and a retired vice president with Sotheby’s, of last year’s auction. “George Eastman House’s online auction was perfectly blended with the live auction component, collectively presented as a true auction exhibition at Sotheby’s and with each photograph displayed with equal exposure and weight. And this is what garnered the international attention with bidders from the entire sphere of the photography world, including the United States, Europe and Asia, as they were all made aware of this sale and participated.”

The challenge of the recession has required Eastman House to employ new fiscal solutions, such as this auction. Proceeds from the benefit auction help the Eastman House — the world’s oldest museum of photography — maintain its extensive collections of photographs, camera technology, motion pictures, and related literature, totaling more than 4 million objects. Eastman House also serves as an educational institution and center of preservation, offering degree-granting graduate programs in photographic and motion-picture film preservation on the site of the National Historic Landmark house, gardens, and museum.

As museums look for creative ways to raise funds, what is so impressive about this benefit is summed up by Dr. Anthony Bannon, the Ron and Donna Fielding Director of George Eastman House: “For more than 60 years George Eastman House has showcased and supported photography, and now, for this auction, we turned to the photography world to help the museum. We are overwhelmed by how enthusiastically all have embraced this effort.”

To donate to the auction, or to register to bid in the live and online auctions, please visit http://auction.eastmanhouse.org. Donations will be accepted until June 1. To receive updates or an auction catalog, please email your contact information to kbaldwin@geh.org or call (585) 271-3361 ext.   Information about the venue is available at www.metropolitanevents.com.

What they’ve said about Eastman House and its auction:

 “George Eastman House is the nation's leading photography museum … Rare photos dating to 1850 were donated, along with cameras and photography books, by 227 artists, collectors and dealers for a four-day fundraiser." - Wall Street Journal/Associated Press (2010)

“George Eastman House is the most extensive photography museum in the world! We need it!” - Jerry Uelsmann, photographer and donor to the 2010 auction (2010)

 "George Eastman House is a diamond. It holds the collective visual memory of our entire nation, and it is incredibly important you support it." - Graham Nash, photographer and musician (2011)