moving down

The 20 x 30 original John Clymer painting Moving Down is scheduled to go up for auction at a Jackson Hole, Wyoming gallery on Saturday. A local art patrons group has offered to buy the work and donated it back to the Clymer Museum and Gallery in effort to keep Clymer’s art in Ellensburg.

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A local art group calling itself the Patrons of the Clymer Art Museum is raising funding to purchase the John Clymer painting scheduled for auction at a gallery in Jackson Hole. Wyoming, on Saturday.

Group leader and former Clymer Foundation board president Janice Ludtka said the group’s intent is to purchase the 20 x 30 painting “Moving Down” and donate it back to the Clymer Museum and Gallery to keep the original John Clymer work in Ellensburg.

LOCAL FUNDRAISING

“I made four calls and came up with $20,000,” Ludtka said. “The board intends to raise between $30,000 and $50,000 at auction, so we’ll continue to raise donations. But what they have to bear in mind is they will have to pay fees and taxes at the auction.

“We are offering an alternative in buying the painting and keeping John Clymer’s work in Ellensburg where it belongs.”

As a result of financial difficulties, the Clymer Foundation board intends to sell the original John Clymer painting called “Moving Down,” a 20 x 30 painting depicting elk on a snowy mountain side, at a live auction at the 2020 Jackson Hole Art Auction.

The Wyoming gallery website states the oil on board with signature titled and signed in the lower left corner is from the collection of the Clymer Museum & Gallery and that proceeds from the sale will benefit the Clymer Museum & Gallery.

DIFFICULT DECISION

“It was a very difficult decision. But the sale will be a one-time sale, which is expected to raise $30,000 to $50,000,” Clymer executive board of directors president Nancy Schnelby said. “We are not the only nonprofit struggling with financial obligations. Other galleries have made a decision to sell off their art. But like I said, we made this difficult decision as a one-time sale.”

Ludtka said her group intends to approach the Clymer Foundation board on Tuesday with its business proposal, which is an alternative to selling it to a private collector.

“Whatever happens at the auction will cost the Clymer Foundation. They have to pay fees, which is usually around 30 to 40 percent of the sale. The art auction will be charging a fee, plus taxes,” Ludtka said. “This piece of art, as I understand from an attorney, can’t be used as a donation and has to be considered a commercial sale.

“I other words, fees and taxes can’t be written off. We’re offering to buy the piece and then donate it back to the Clymer Museum with the attachment that it would belong to the patrons and was donated back permanently.”

In an unprecedented move, as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the Association of Art Museum Directors, made up of museums in America, Canada Mexico and Canada, has recently relaxed its guidelines. It’s too soon to gauge the effort, but it is already big news in the art world that the once frowned on and unthinkable, is suddenly something to contemplate in selling works of art to stay afloat.

The thing is, once you’ve sold a Monet, or a Norman Rockwell, or in this case a John Clymer, it’s hard to get it back. But these are desperate times, Schnelby said.

CAN’T GET IT BACK

“The decision is one that the board will never repeat,” Schnelby said. “Right now, our priorities are to focus on fundraisers that we can hold online.”

The 2020 Jackson Hole, Wyoming art auction is scheduled to be held online on Saturday.

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