Sale of the Art Estate of Fred Marchman: A Wildly Creative Genius
Written by ESAC Executive Director, Bryant Whelan
The staff is giddy with excitement about the estate sale of works by Alabama artist Fred Marchman, just launched at ESAC. It’s an extensive collection: paintings, woodcuts, serigraphs, bronze sculpture, ceramic sculpture and framed prints, all priced for collecting. The works were donated to the Art Center by the artist’s family with proceeds supporting exhibit programming at ESAC. As we inventoried the work, the proof of the “wild creative genius” of Fred Marchman became even more apparent. All of us have a renewed and enhanced respect for this prolific, esoteric visionary Alabama artist.
But hosting this sale is bittersweet. When Fred passed away in 2016, he left behind an amazing amount of work in multiple genres. Our goal with the sale is to get his work into more people’s homes and collections by making it easier to own. THIS is what excites us the most!
A little background. A couple of times a month I get a call from someone who has had an artist in their family pass away, asking for advice on what to do with the body of work the artist has left behind. As the families grieve, they are also faced with many dilemmas as they yearn to preserve the legacy of the artist who has spent a lifetime making this collection. After family members have all chosen the special pieces they would like to keep, after retrospective exhibits have been held and pieces have been donated to museums and universities, the next stages can be overwhelming. What is a family to do? The art estate often ends up in a storage unit or in a climate controlled museum archive where it stays hidden away until the next exhibit opportunity years later.
ESAC is not a museum that builds collections. We support artists through exhibits, sales and arts education. We like to see an artist’s work go home with an eager buyer—there is nothing more exciting for an artist to see than a RED DOT by their work-the sign of a piece that has sold.