Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Culture: Under the Hammer

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Culture: Under the Hammer

Article excerpt

Byline: David Whetstone

You could pick up a bargain and help a good cause at the Lifespan Charity Auction, as David Whetstone explains.

WORK by Antony Gormley, Dame Elizabeth Blackadder, Alexander Millar and the late Beryl Cook are to be auctioned in Newcastle in aid of Lifespan.

The small North East charity provides a range of services, including counselling and complementary therapies, for people with life-threatening illnesses and their families.

Its benefits have been recognised by artists in the region and across the country who have donated work to be auctioned at the Biscuit Factory art gallery in Shieldfield.

The work is on view there today and until the first lot comes under the hammer at 7pm on Thursday.

As with all art auctions, it's a mixed bag with the work of distinguished Royal Academy members rubbing shoulders with Viz artwork, stained glass and ceramics.

In all cases, however, there is the chance to pick up a bargain at a time when the credit crunch is said to be driving serious investors into the art market - for the supposed long-term value of paintings, prints and 3D items.

Avril Trapp, director of Lifespan, said she was delighted so many artists had responded by donating examples of their work.

As a small charity, she explained, Lifespan had to be imaginative in its fundraising.

"Lifespan works with people who are seriously ill and also with their families, and we can work with them at home, which is really appreciated.

"I explained to the artists the sort of situations we deal with and how the money is spent and it really seems to have hit home. People have been really generous.

"We had a very successful auction last year and I know this year, financially things seem to be in freefall, but for people who really love and believe in art, there's some good work here."

The lot which is expected to fetch the most on Thursday is an original signed drawing by Antony Gormley.

It is called Body & Light and is dated 1993.

It shows a Gormleyesque figure in a landscape.

Pre-dating the Angel of the North and many of the sculptor's most famous works, it could prove to be a serious investment - even at an estimated sale price of pounds 6,000 to pounds 7,000. …

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