MOUNT ARLINGTON – On a perfect summer evening, clear with a cool breeze coming off the lake, the first Gala Art Auction and Wine Tasting, sponsored by the Lake Hopatcong Foundation, was held at the Lake Hopatcong Yacht Club.
Close to 180 people attended the open-air fundraiser, enjoying wines from around the world, a variety of hors d’oeurves and art.
Along with art pieces provided by Marlin Art Auctions, four local artists, Greg Hildebrandt, Linda Rossin, Bill Sturm, and Matt Keown featured work, each donating original pieces or high-quality prints from original works for auction. All proceeds from their sales went directly to the Foundation.
Hildebrandt, who lives in Hopatcong, is known around the world as the artist who created the first Star Wars movie poster and JRR Tolkien Lord of the Rings calendars.
“This is fantastic,” said Hildebrandt at the beginning of the night. “This is the first time I’ve done anything like this. Kind of personal, a neighborly atmosphere. I like meeting the other artists,” he said.
One of Hildebrandt’s Lord of the Rings images, “The One Ring,” a large Giclee print, was sold to two separate bidders, each paying $1000.
“We saw the piece of Greg's and thought our kids would love it. It will be a fun conversation piece to have in the house. It’s also great that all of the proceeds go to LHF. We are strong believers in what the Foundation is doing,” said Rebecca Rubenstein, who lives with her family in Mount Arlington.
Rossin donated an original oil painting, “Lake Hopatcong Sunset,” painted from the deck of her home in the Woodport section of Jefferson. Six or seven people participated in the bidding with the winning bid of $475 taking home the painting.
“I think this is great,” said Rossin of the art auction. “What a wonderful idea to generate funds specifically for the lake. And I have the perfect painting for it,” she said of her donated landscape.
Sturm, a resident of Budd Lake, is well known for his whimsical views of famous Lake Hopatcong locations. Four of his Giclee prints, Wayne’s Marina, Raccoon Island, River Styx and Lake Hopatcong Yacht Club were auctioned off.
“I haven’t been here (the yacht club) in a long time. I love being here,” said Sturm who also debuted his newest lake-related painting, a rendering of the Lake Hopatcong Historical Museum. Sturm said he worked on the large painting everyday for three weeks prior to the Foundation event, including the day of the event.
Jim Flinn, Commodore at the Lake Hopatcong Yacht Club, outbid two or three people to win Sturm’s rendering of the historic
yacht club. According to Flinn’s wife, Anne, they now have three different art pieces depicting the Yacht Club, an old photo, a hot plate and now the print.
Keown, a native of Mount Arlington, is the author of the semi-syndicated comic strip Joe Mahoney, which is published on the Lake Hopatcong News website. He offered a high-quality scan depicting the continuing battle over water levels in Lake Hopatcong. It was his first published panel.
“It’s an honor being here,” said Keown. “Very cool to be with all these talented people. I hope somebody wants my piece,” he added. His piece did sell.
Guests were able to bid on signed musical instruments and on a variety of art, including works from the masters, and up-and-coming and present-day artists. Ken Kearney from Lake Hopatcong went home with one of the guitars, signed by one of his favorite bands, Aerosmith.
“This is a great event, quite a variety in art and artists,” said Karen Porfido, a Mount Arlington resident. “Great bargains too.” Porfido and her husband, Clayton Bridges, bid on and won “Autumn Stroll” by Israeli artist Slava Ilyayev. “We have some open walls,” said Porfido. “We are always looking for artwork, we’re kind of starting a collection,” she said.
According to Foundation president Jessica Murphy the event raised $11,234 with $3,555 coming directly from the sale of art by the four local artists.
“Between the amazing work by our volunteers and staff members, the incredibly talented and generous local artists, the enthusiasm from our guests, the beautiful weather and location, and the fundraising numbers, we really could not be more pleased with how the art auction went. It was a wonderful gathering that celebrated both the lake and local talent, and we look forward to the next such event,” said Murphy.
Art on display at the Lake Hopatcong Yacht Club.