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Virtual Sporting Art Auction brings in $1.6 million

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Posted at 7:16 PM, Nov 22, 2020

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — The eighth annual Sporting Art Auction brought in a total of $1,625,945 in sales for Keeneland and the Cross Gate Gallery of Lexington on Sunday.

The event is a collaboration between the two organizations, which showcased 188 fine sporting art pieces from around the world.

Normally, Keeneland’s Sales Pavilion is filled with energy as hundreds of bidders arrive at the site to participate in the auction. However, the 2020 Sporting Art Auction was conducted virtually due to COVID-19.

“It’s obviously more fun when you can have more people in person, but we’re hoping this is going to go over really well as well,” said Carlisle Berkley, the gallery director’s assistant.

The auction took place between 12 p.m. and 5 p.m. on Sunday. Bids were placed online, by phone, via absentee, or arranged ahead of time.

Gallery director Bill Meng said the digital platform presented a unique challenge for art lovers.

“It’s art, and you really need to see it in person and it’s hard to describe things in person to someone that they cannot get up close to,” Meng said.

The highest-selling artwork was the 1973 watercolor Over the Hill painted by American artist Andrew Wyeth. It sold for $109,250.

Keeneland will be donating its proceeds from the auction to its non-profit initiatives. LexArts and the Central Kentucky arts community will also benefit from the auction sales.