finster painting
American artist, Howard Finster’s piece titled, “Vision of George on Planet Loraleon” was the highest bid item at $49,200 at the recent Slotin auction.  Special Photo

Buford, Georgia is home to the unique and successful Slotin Folk Art auction house, the top-rated source for buying and selling self-taught art. Located right across the tracks from Main Street in downtown Buford, this auction house hosts biannual events featuring the best pieces from art genres including Southern Folk Pottery, Outsider Art, and Antique & Anonymous Folk Art. In the past, Slotin Folk Art has hosted art sales for prestigious folk art collections such as the Smithsonian and High Museum of Art in Atlanta. 

On November 9-10, Slotin Folk Art held its annual Fall Masterpiece Sale. This auction featured some of the greatest self-taught folk artists, originating from all across the globe. Artists from London, Miami, South Carolina, and Georgia created works that were auctioned in the most recent Slotin Folk Art event. American artist, Howard Finster, was born in Alabama but practiced his artwork and sculptures in Pennville, Georgia. His painting titled, “Vision of George on Planet Loraleon” was the highest bid item at $49,200. A previous Finster painting still holds the current record price of $51,600 at a 2013 Slotin sale. 

The third highest bid was a complete surprise at Slotin; American self-taught artist from Wisconsin, Eugene Von Bruenchenbein’s “Surreal Cityscape,” more than doubled its high estimate of $8,000, selling for $21,600. Von Bruenchenbein’s work is rarely seen at auction to begin with and this piece sold at a record price. The last Von Bruenchenbein’s piece seen at Slotin was a painting one year ago that sold for $11,000. 

Additionally, three oil on canvas paintings by Georgia artist, Mattie Lou O’Kelley, were sold as well. Her piece, “Autumn in the Hills” sold for $10,800 and will be featured at the Cleveland Museum of Art.“The Country Store” and “Snow at the Old Place,” also by O’Kelley, brought strong $6,000 and $4,800 bids. These quaint paintings all display views of country life, much like her many other folk art pieces, some of which are featured at the Smithsonian. 

The Slotin Folk Art Auction was a smashing success overall and provided a unique view into the world of folk art. Slotin continues to widen the umbrella of folk-art at their auctions, highlighting dozens of pieces by anonymous or heretofore unknown makers. The next auction will be held in April of 2020 and will feature a similar spread of the profound and distinctive works of art. 

— By Regan Saunders


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