Penticton Art Gallery curator Paul Crawford shows off Salvador Dali’s The Last Supper, one of the items available for the gallery’s 40th annual art auction. Steve Kidd/Western News

Penticton Art Gallery serves up an eclectic palette for art auction

Dali, Colville, Karsh, Snowden and more on the auction block

Paul Crawford had a couple of goals when putting together this year’s art auction.

He wanted to ensure there was something for every price range, and that there was a wide variety of pieces coming under the auction hammer.

“I am trying to get a real variety of historic, contemporary art objects … at every price point so there is a little bit of something for everybody,” said Crawford, curator of the Penticton Art Gallery.

More: B.C. history on auction

This is the 40th annual Art Auction, one of the gallery’s major fundraisers. Crawford has been here for 10 of those, but about three years ago, he started thinking about reworking the auction to take the pressure off the local artists, who are asked to contribute items for sale each year.

“More and more I started to seek out items from further afield and working to get donations from people that were downsizing their own collections,” said Crawford.

That’s created a wide selection of items on sale at the auction, which ranges this year from a signed poster of Roberta Bondar — the first Canadian woman in space — to photographic portraits by Yousuf Karsh and Lord Snowden.

“I also wanted to foster a culture of collecting. I wanted people to buy objects because they love the story behind the object and that story enhances the object,” said Crawford, adding that the reaction from patrons has been enthusiastic.

“It sort of proved a theory that I had about what people would be interested in,” said Crawford. “In doing these auctions, it’s been really great seeing the under-40 crowd coming out, bidding on items and getting excited.”

Crawford said this is probably the gallery’s most aggressive year of gathering unique items for sale.

There’s also a classic acoustic guitar, signed by the members of Blue Rodeo during their performance in Penticton earlier this year and a bas-relief by Salvador Dali.

“It’s called The Last Supper and it was produced in 1978,” said Crawford, adding that this version in platinum — there are three versions, platinum, gold and silver.

“Doing research online, I have found them upwards of $25,000 online. Appraisal came back at $7,500,” said Crawford.

Online bidding for the auction has already begun at www.4thmeridian.ca. A full preview of the auction items begins on June 14 and runs through to June 22, with guided tours on June 17 and 18 at 1 p.m.

Tickets are on sale now at the Penticton Art Gallery for $75 each or $70 each for members. Groups of four are $275. Semi-formal attire recommended.