The newly created fine art gallery in Whistler's Re-Use-It Centre sold one fine art piece this month.
The centre in Function Junction was marketing three rare pieces by accomplished artists. The works were all anonymously donated to the centre and the manager of the store, Cheryl Skribe, said she and her staff were surprised at the value estimated for each of the three works.
One of the pieces sold on Monday, Sept. 17, she added.
Skribe did some research into the artists who created the three pieces and found that each of the artists is well known and when their works come up for sale, they typically sell for thousands of dollars.
"There's some magic in the Re-Use-It Centre," Skribe said. "Since I took over it has been one exciting adventure after another."
The three fine art works are by Rie Munoz, Clare Bice and actor Anthony Quinn.
The Munoz print is the one that sold and it is called Downhill Skiers. Skribe determined it is valued the highest of the three, it sold for $850. Munoz studied art at Washington and Lee University in Virginia and at the University of Alaska-Juneau.
According to Skribe, the Bice painting is an original.
"I'm looking at it going, 'Hmm, this looks like it's official,'" Skribe said after first seeing it.
She started to do some research and was pleasantly surprised by what she found out.
"The Clare Bice, we have that down as a $500 or $600 minimum but I think that's the most exciting of the three because its an original and it's a Canadian artist," said Skribe. "His stuff is being sold all over the world."
Based on her research she said she believes the market value of the piece could be greater than $1,600.
Bice died in 1976 and in his life he was a curator along with being an author and illustrator of children's books. He was made a member of the Order of Canada in 1973 for his contribution to the arts.
The piece by Quinn is an abstract painting done for the United Nations as a limited edition lithograph created to accompany a UN stamp issue called The 1984 Flag Series. It is numbered 427 of 1,000 prints and the print is signed.
Skribe said she and her co-workers wanted the generous residents of Whistler to hear about the paintings before the rest of the world found out.
"We wanted the Whistlerites to have the first opportunity for these great pieces," she said. "We have a mandate to fund our programming so we do need to get the best price we can. We'd be silly if we didn't."
Wednesday morning, Pique learned from Skribe that a piece by Robert Bateman was donated this week to the Re-Use-It Centre. It can be viewed at the there.
There's more information and photos of each piece of art at the Re-Use-It Centre's auction page at www.mywcss.org/pages/auction-items.