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Tuesday, November 19, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Spokane

Auctioned paintings fetch $1 million for WSU art museum

With just over $1 million from the recent sale of two 1920s paintings, Washington State University’s Museum of Art looks forward to building and maintaining its collection.

The museum sold the two paintings, by New Mexico genre painter Walter Ufer, at an auction on April 28. “House on the Hill,” painted in 1920, sold for $190,000, and “Indian Encounter,” painted in 1926, sold for $850,000.

The pieces originally were part of a 93-piece collection curated in the 1930s by former WSU president Ernest Holland. Proceeds from the sale were used to create the Holland/Orton Endowment, named after Holland and Charles Orton, who donated funds for the collection.

“President Holland and Mr. Orton took the very first steps to create a robust museum program to provide students, faculty, staff and members of the public with access to meaningful encounters with art,” museum director Chris Bruce said in a statement.

The museum recently has undergone a thorough “deaccessioning” — the process of removing works from permanent collections. Bruce said the two Ufer pieces are considered regional works that don’t fit with the museum’s focus on modern art. He said the endowment will ensure the museum can care for each piece in its collection, and buy some new pieces down the line.

Debby Stinson, a spokeswoman for the museum, said there are no plans to sell more pieces from the collection.

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