A fine Art and Postcard Auction taking place in Newcastle tomorrow promises to deliver a few surprises with artwork by pop stars up for grabs alongside a set of two previously-unpublished photographs of John Lennon.
The popular auction is held annually by Newcastle University’s fine art students to raise funds for their final degree show, with leading artists and public figures joining students in contributing a piece of original art to the sale.
In previous years they have included Tracey Emin and George Shaw, who was shortlisted for the Turner Prize at Baltic in Gateshead.
This time around music stars are amongst those displaying their artistic talents, with 80s king of pop Rick Astley – who still holds the record as the only male solo artist to make the Top 10 with his first eight singles – donating a quirky drawing in green of a smiling frog and The Rolling Stones rocker Ronnie Wood, already known for his paintings, coming up with an original drawing of a man and guitar. Both are signed.
Then there are the two previously-unpublished candid shots of John Lennon, the late Beatles star pictured in stripy trousers relaxing on the steps of a house: looking directly at the camera lens in one and, in the other, leaning over a piece of writing, pencil in hand. They come with a signed letter of proof.
There is set to be a lot of interest in the unique lots at the auction which takes place at Hatton Gallery tomorrow from 5.30pm, with online bidding opening earlier.
Among the lots are inkjet works by Newcastle University graduate Ben Applegarth, who was long-listed for the art magazine Aesthetica Art Prize this year; colourful acrylics by Theresa Poulton, who graduated this year with an MA in fine art, and swirling watercolours by Lord Richard Macleod who is currently studying for his MA at Sunderland University and has already exhibited in America and Istanbul as well as Newcastle.
Other examples include spray paint and collage work by Liliane Lijn, a 74-year-old New Yorker who has been short-listed to produce the next artwork for the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square, and a singed book by 86-year-old Alex Katz who has been involved with about 700 international exhibitions - more than 200 of them solo - since 1951 and has received a lifetime achievement award from New York’s National Academy Museum.
Local art-lovers meanwhile might go for a colourful photograph view of Newcastle by Mark Keville or an oil produced by Corinne Lewis from a 2005 residency at Saltwell Park in Gateshead. The annual auction is one of the main money-raisers in a series hosted by the students to raise cash for their degree show, to cover the exhibition’s advertising, artist catalogues and travel to London, and each year local and national contacts are called upon and come up with some real one-off treats – and rare opportunities for buyers.
Phil Frankland, one of the auction organisers, said: “The Postcard Auction has great support from artists all over the UK and is a great place to pick up a bargain.
“Last year a Tim Bavington print worth $3,000 sold for just £1,000.”
Buyers are also investing for the future by supporting aspiring artists at the start of their careers.
John Bullock-Anderson, from Anderson and Garland Auction House which supports the event, will be back as auctioneer this year and Phil adds: “It is a great honour to have the support of such a respected and renowned auction house, while Mr Bullock-Anderson’s enthusiasm and charisma always promises a night of great entertainment!”
There’ll be opportunities for the public to make purchases at both a silent and a live auction at Newcastle’s Hatton Gallery. The first will take place at the Claremont Road venue from 5.30pm then the live auction will start at 7pm. The newly-refurbished Keith’s Café, in the university’s fine art department, will also be open for refreshments.
This year also sees the opportunity for online bidding before the main event: visit www.nclauction.com to browse the live auction catalogue and find details of how to place a bid.