Northwestern Press

Sunday, August 19, 2018
CONTRIBUTED imageWilliam Weldon Swallow, “Pennsylvania Dutch Barn No. 2” (tile mosaic, 29 in. x 30½ in.) CONTRIBUTED imageWilliam Weldon Swallow, “Pennsylvania Dutch Barn No. 2” (tile mosaic, 29 in. x 30½ in.)
CONTRIBUTED imageWalter Emerson Baum, “Pennsylvania Scene” (oil, 25 in. x 30 in.) CONTRIBUTED imageWalter Emerson Baum, “Pennsylvania Scene” (oil, 25 in. x 30 in.)

Mosaic of art: 33rd annual Baum School of Art auction offers something for every art collector

Friday, May 18, 2018 by KATHY LAUER-WILLIAMS Special to The Press in Focus

A colorful tile mosaic of a red barn complete with hex signs is one of the most exciting pieces that will go on the block at the The Baum School of Art’s 33rd Annual Art Auction May 19.

“Pennsylvania Dutch Barn No. 2” (tile mosaic, 29 in. x 30½ in.).

by William Weldon Swallow is one of more than 300 pieces of art from the era of school founder Walter Emerson Baum, as well as from contemporary regional artists, that will be featured in a silent and a live auction that will raise funds for the Allentown teaching and exhibiting art school.

The Swallow mosaic was chosen to grace the cover of the auction catalog.

“It’s really cool,” says Shannon Fugate, Executive Director of The Baum School of Art. “You need to see it in person to really appreciate it.”

Swallow was an art teacher at Parkland High School and designed Parkland’s logo. He died at the young age of 49, so the number of his works is not as large as that of other artists.

“There are a limited number of these barns,” Fugate says. “When they come up for auction, it’s special.”

The auction also includes three abstract mosaics by Raymond Galucci, a student of Swallow’s.

Fugate says the mosaics are beautiful and highly-collectible.

The Swallow piece is one of several pieces donated from the Rodale family collection, Fugate says.

There are eight pieces from Walter Emerson Baum, including a beautiful oil of a winter scene, “Pennsylvania Scene” (oil, 25 in. x 30 in.).

Baum was a Pennsylvania Impressionist, a member of Bucks County’s New Hope Group, and known for his Lehigh and Bucks County landscapes.

Also included in the auction are works from other artists from the New Hope Group, including Eleanor Barba, Nolan Benner Jr., Karl H. Buesgen, Jerry Quier, Queenie Stein, Grace Whitehead Phillips, Ann Yost Whitesell, Elsie Hontz, Walter Mattern, Clarence Dreisbach and John F. Berninger, who also was the first curator of the Allentown Art Museum.

Fugate says there also is a landscape painting by Orlando Wales, a Pennsylvania Impressionist from Allentown who predated Baum.

“We don’t see many of his paintings come to auction,” she says.

Another work of art which Fugate is excited about is an avant-garde piece of jewelry by Lisa Oswald Sorrelli.

Fugate says Sorreli’s exotic gem-encrusted “Aquatic Cuff” looks like octopus tentacles wrapped around a wide cuff bracelet.

“We don’t often have a piece like that,” she says.

For jewelry fans, Fugate says, there are also local jewelry artist Ann Lalik’s abstract jewelry pieces, which Fugate calls “phenomenal.”

New this year is emerging artist William Sean Kelsey, who has donated two repurposed furniture pieces. Fugate says the two decorative tables are fashioned by Kelsey from old-mill parts.

Also of note are black and white photographs by Allentown photographer David Haas, whose work is exhibited in the Philadelphia Art Museum.

“We don’t often have black and white photographs,” Fugate says, “but he is pretty significant and important.”

For collectors of contemporary art there is a glass sculpture by world-renowned sculptor Steve Tobin.

Other contemporary works include those by Nancy Bossert, Sandra Corpora, Adriano Farinella, Michael Kessler, Rigo Peralta, Ann Elizabeth Schlegel, and Dana Van Horn.

Fugate says the works “run the gamut from figurative to abstract to landscapes.”

She says the prices also run the gamut and a work can be bought for from under $50 to thousands.

The auction typically sells $80,000 to $90,000 worth of artwork, netting Baum School around $55,000.

It is free to attend the auction, which usually is standing-room-only. Fugate says about 200 bidders are expected for the live auction.

More than 200 works are in the silent auction, 5:30-7:30 p.m. May 19. Approximately 100 works will be sold in a live auction with auctioneer Boris Wainio at 8 p.m. May 19 in the David E. Rodale and Rodale Family Galleries.

Attendees may enjoy a buffet dinner featuring Catering by Karen Hunter in the Fowler Community Room.

Top-level sponsors for the event include: Janet and Malcolm Gross, Bob and Sandy Lovett, PPL, J.B. and Kathleen Reilly-City Center Allentown, Stoudt Associates, LLC, and the Zelenkofske Family.

Preview night is 6-8 p.m. May 17 to view the artwork before it goes up for bid. Wainio and Baum School staff will be available to answer questions on the pieces. Auction items also can be viewed at: baumschool.org.

Proceeds benefit the community visual arts school that reaches more than 4,000 students through classes and community outreach programs.

The Baum School offers around 350 classes in drawing, painting, ceramics, sculpture, jewelry and metalsmithing, fashion design and construction, photography, graphic design, illustration and more.

More than 12 gallery exhibitions annually feature regional, national and international artists, as well as student work, in the school’s David E. Rodale and Rodale Family Galleries.

Information: 610-433-0032