When he was six or seven years old, Robert Vogt – the director of Vogt Auction Galleries – played on a Little League team called the Pace Padres. The team was sponsored by Linda Pace and her husband, who at the time were running a local San Antonio food company that grew to what we know now as the global food company Pace.
Linda was an artist, collector, and businesswoman whose philanthropic efforts have deeply shaped the San Antonio community and continue today after her death in 2007 through the Linda Pace Foundation (LPF), a committed charitable vision of its founder that fosters the creation, presentation, and understanding of innovative expression through contemporary art.
Now in 2016 – years after his baseball days – Vogt is partnering with the Linda Pace Foundation to host an auction of the founder’s estate in anticipation of the foundation’s move to a new building, called the Ruby City, in 2018. The auction, which will take place on December 3-4 at 1 p.m., will include furniture and personal effects of the private home of Linda Pace.
Designers included in the auction are Eames, Saarinen, Knoll, Egg, Paola, B&B Italia, George Jensen, Tiffany, William Spratling, and many more. All proceeds of the auction will go to benefit the LPF.
Vogt Auction Galleries, located at 7233 Blanco Rd., has been San Antonio’s leading auction house since 1976. The estate sales of museum benefactor Marion Koogler McNay and businessman and philanthropist John Santikos are among the many high profile sales in their robust portfolio. Vogt Auction offers online live bidding for selective sales as well as phone bids. The gallery specializes in Texas art, European furniture, military memorabilia, ranch furniture, and rustic advertising pieces.
The Rivard Report sat down with Vogt, Consignment Director Katy Alexander, and John Bloodsworth of the Publicity Ranch, who is handling the PR for the auction to learn more about the event. The auction will have an online catalog available weeks before the two-day event, and those interested can participate over the phone, online, or in person.
Rivard Report: How did the partnership between the Linda Pace Foundation and Vogt Auction Galleries come to fruition?
Rob Vogt: We have a history here in San Antonio as the leading auction house, so (we have) a lot of art among a lot of other things. Linda Pace’s legacy is so intimately tied up to this city, so it seemed like a natural partnership for when they were going to bring her estate to market that we should be the auction house of choice.
RR: When did that decision come about?
RV: Linda died in 2007 and (the foundation has considered it) for a while. There was a more recent event of the sale of her loft that precipitated this estate auction. That has actually been fairly recent, (around) the last 3 months.
RR: Financially speaking, how does the partnership work?
RV: We work with estates all over the place. Certainly Linda is a special case but, like all auction houses like Sotheby’s, Christie’s, and us, in a much smaller level, we work on a consignment basis. We represent things at auction and then we charge a percentage.
John Bloodsworth: All the proceeds from this particular auction will benefit the Linda Pace Foundation and will fund all the ongoing projects of the foundation, in addition to Ruby City. This is another facet in their fundraising efforts for contemporary art in the community and beyond.
RR: Could you tell us about Ruby City?
JB: I don’t know much more other than they are looking at completion in 2018 and this is something that has been a long-held vision of having a 14,000 sq. ft. museum space, exhibition space, and new offices for the foundation in one site. (This is) a monumental step (for) our community and contemporary art globally.
RR: What sorts of objects are we looking at in this auction collection?
RV: Linda Pace’s personal style tended towards the modern, similar to her tastes in art. She has a classical collection of modernist and famous name furnishings, collections like dishware and kitchenwares. This is her personal estate and these are the pieces she lived with every day. It’s everything you might imagine in a home, but tending towards the famous, contemporary modern styles and makers. If you think of modern design and modern home interior, it is going to be represented in this auction.
Katy Alexander: On the personal end, something that is going to give warmth to the sale is her sterling silver. For so many people that is a personal part of their collection that goes beyond her furniture, and we also have jewelry: costume jewelry and fine jewelry. So pieces that Linda wore and loved and cared for that people will recognize, and that is going to be a special and tender part of the auction.
RR: As this is a fundraising effort, is there any financial concerns occurring in the foundation?
JB: None that we are aware of … This, as Rob said, is a continuation of a process. For a period of time, (her home) was used as a foundation facility and now that they are looking to move to the 14,000 sq. ft. Ruby City, so it’s in transition … This is a part of that continuing process of the evolution of the Pace Foundation.
RV: They are not selling everything, by the way. They are taking certain things there (Ruby City).
JB: Most importantly, none of her artwork is a part of this auction. Every piece of her artwork in the collection remains in the foundation and will be the core of Ruby City.
RV: The foundation’s core mission is the fostering of her art collection.
RR: As someone who has never been to an auction before, what is the process like?
RV: That’s a great question. Totally open to the public. It’s going to be a fun event here in San Antonio; we have been here for 41 years. We have hundreds of people at every auction every weekend. Over all these years, we figure 200,000 people here in SA have been to our auctions. Our furniture is everywhere. When you come, everything will be catalogued. They will have descriptions of every single item and we will have estimates of what we think things will go for.
That said, it is a true auction. We wont have minimums, reserves, or starting prices. Everything will sell exactly at what it sells for at this public auction. We expect quite a bit of attendance (and) a lot of telephone bidding from all around America. Online simulcast and online bidding.
JB: There is a fervor and excitement to be at the auction. It is a unique (and) easy experience for someone who has never been to the auction before. It’s a simple process: You come in, you walk up to the counter and all the professional staff is there. You get your number, you have a seat, and you start bidding. Rob and his father will be up there as auctioneers and they will hold the first piece up and the bidding will begin. Some things start at $10 or $5. You never know where it’s going to start and someone puts a bid in. In the end, if you are the lucky person who gave the last bid, that piece is yours.
KA: The catalog will be up online at least a couple of weeks up before the sale and everything will be up online. People can start taking bids at that point. Once things are up people can start putting in bids. We will have a preview day all day that Friday before the sale. People can take measurements, flip things over, check conditions, (and take a) close look at everything that will be in the sale.
KA: That shows we reach out to bidders across the country. We will have people here from Texas – of course Houston and Dallas – and Chicago. The modern design component of the sale will speak to people outside the area and the LPF is the part that ties it to San Antonio. We have a great audience for the sale to help drive the prices and help raise money for this cause.
RR: What are some of your personal favorite items in the collection?
KA: Georg Jensen sterling flatware. She bought the best of the best. Everyone knows her taste is impeccable and of course that extend into pieces she brought into her home. Big pieces of furniture and all things from her kitchen. Everything is top of the line.
RV: I like the egg chair and the womb chair. We have two. Very stylish and surprisingly comfortable
KA: (It provides) real insight into her life for people who don’t know her. For those who are close to her, there are wonderful memories and there will be callbacks.
RR: What was the curatorial process like?
JB: They were able to repurpose some of the items (from the estate). Generally everything they couldn’t is included in the auction.
RR: Any last comments?
RV: We are honored to be entrusted to foster her legacy in this way. I couldn’t be happier or prouder to be a part of this.
KA: Keeping this project in San Antonio was the most responsible thing the foundation could have done. They could have easily called one of the big guys (and) taken it to Dallas or New York.
JB: It stays locally in San Antonio, where Linda’s legacy began, but through (the online auction process), her legacy is getting an international audience, which is the best of both worlds.