Magazine article Southwest Art

The Newcomer

Magazine article Southwest Art

The Newcomer

Article excerpt

"BIGGER IS better" has long been the unofficial Texas motto. But the partners behind the first annual Fredericksburg Art Auction, debuting May 1-2 in the charming Hill Country art and wine destination, hold fast to a vision that smaller may actually stand a greater chance for success.

"Other auctions have gotten too large," says David Plesko, owner with his wife, Meredith, of InSight Gallery, which since 2009 has established a sterling reputation as one of Fredericksburg's, and the nation's, leading sources for top-notch contemporary realist and western art. To establish the auction, they've banded together with colleague and friend Greg Fulton, owner of 9-year-old Astoria Fine Art in Jackson, WY, which has developed a devoted following for its mix of current realists and works by deceased and historical artists, a complementary fit to InSight.

"We'd been referring a lot of our customers looking to buy or sell to other auctions," notes Fulton. So he and the Pleskos conceived their own event, in which a deliberately curated selection of fewer works could be more thoughtfully showcased. "We think there are collectors out there who would like to consign their artworks to an auction that has no more than about 250 items rather than 450," says Fulton.

Their less-is-more approach will extend to another key aspect of auctions: the buyer's premium, an automatic markup on a winning bid. "The trend has been to push it higher and higher," says Fulton, with some events ratcheting up as high as 20 to even 25 percent. "We'll be in the 15 to 16 percent range," says Plesko. "No one's going to beat us on rates."

Fulton and the Pleskos believe that those lower rates will be more than compensated for by the outstanding prices they'll get thanks to a discriminating selection. "We won't have 20 Remingtons or Russells competing against each other," says Plesko. …

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