Arts & Theater

Twin auctions to sell both affordable and luxury works by Sacramento artists

Ceramic open book with pictures by Ruth Rippon (Rippon Collection auction). Estimate: $100-$250
Ceramic open book with pictures by Ruth Rippon (Rippon Collection auction). Estimate: $100-$250 Witherell's

Now is your chance to own a piece of Sacramento art history, no matter your budget.

Twin auctions are coming to Witherell’s auction house in New Era Park, featuring works by well-known Sacramento artists like Ruth Rippon, Gregory Kondos and Jack Ogden. Both auctions will have a free preview show March 19 at Witherell’s, according to a news release from the auction house.

The larger of the two auctions, “The Ruth Rippon Art Collection” features about 175 lots that will be auctioned online the day after the preview. The title is literal – beloved local ceramicist Ruth Rippon, now in her 90s, is selling her personal art collection to benefit the Crocker Art Museum, which has displayed her pieces and held a retrospective of her works in 2017.

“Ruth Rippon is both a vanguard and veteran figure in the field of ceramics,” said Scott Shields, associate director and chief curator at the Crocker, in the release. “The diversity of style, form, technique and subject matter in her work reflect her insatiable curiosity and appetite for experiment.”

Rippon, a Sacramento native, collected the works of her colleagues across the Sacramento art scene. Along with her ceramics, the auction will feature works by Robert Brady, Patrick Dullanty, Irving Marcus, Kondos, Ogden and several other Sacramento-based artists, according to Witherell’s. All proceeds will benefit the Crocker.

The lots in the Rippon auction will be very affordable, according to Witherell’s consignment director Brian Witherell.

“This is a very affordable (price) range and an opportunity for people to own something with true Sacramento ties,” said Witherell in the release. “These are pieces of Sacramento history. This is the most comprehensive grouping (of Sacramento artists) we’ve ever had… Here’s your chance to own a Sacramento original at an incredible price.”

Starting bids will range and final prices will be decided by the bidders, but some pieces in the Rippon Collection will have starting bids as low as $5 and $25, said Witherell. He estimated that some pieces could sell for as low as $50.

The second auction is Witherell’s spring “Luxury Asset Auction,” featuring about 90 lots, said Witherell’s. The luxury asset auction will feature more expensive lots, including a clay plaque self-portrait by sculptor Robert Arneson that could sell for as high as $20,000.

The luxury auction will also have more affordable pieces with bids starting at $50, Witherell said. He estimated that the lowest-selling pieces in the luxury sale will go for $250 to $500.

According to the news release, the luxury auction will also feature pieces by sculptor David Gilhooley, known for his irreverent frogs and other whimsical ceramics, and sculptor Peter VandenBarge, a pioneer of the California funk movement.

The luxury auction includes a large one-of-a-kind walnut desk designed by Eben Haskell, Lynn McLarty and Michael Kirchner of the Haskell Design Studio. All proceeds from this sale will benefit the Sacramento State University art department, according to Witherell’s.

The luxury collection will be displayed alongside the Rippon collection March 19 from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Witherell’s annex. The Luxury Asset Auction will be held live at Witherell’s on March 21 at 10 a.m.

The Ruth Rippon Art Collection auction will begin online on March 20 at 10 a.m., and closes April 3 at 10 a.m.

For more information on the auctions or to register to bid, visit

If you go

What: Free preview show for the Ruth Rippon Art Collection Auction & The Witherell’s Spring Luxury Asset Auction

When: Tuesday, March 19, 1 to 4 p.m.

Where: Witherell’s auction house, 300 20th Street, Sacramento

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Hannah Darden covers breaking news and feature stories for The Bee and is a political science and journalism student at Sacramento State. A Sacramento native, she previously worked as editor in chief of her community college newspaper, the American River Current.