Arts / Galleries

Houston’s Ultimate Photography Auction Takes Bidding Wars to New Levels — FotoFest Keeps It Arty

Stunning Images and More Than $400,000 Raised

BY // 12.23.22

This is the next installment in a series detailing important art parties. It’s time to anoint the most sizzling soirées of the season.

Consider it another successful FotoFest Fine Print Auction for the books. Every two years, the international photographic nonprofit hosts its iconic auction benefit starring the images of global talents who have participated in FotoFest’s acclaimed biennials. For the 2022 fundraiser, photography connoisseurs gathered at The Whitehall Hotel in Downtown Houston for a seated dinner, drinks and, of course, bidding wars. 

While guests enjoyed the artful three-course meal prepared by Chef Silvia Covarrubias, FotoFest executive director Steven Evans, who curated the auction artists, delivered introductions and video presentations. That was followed by a talk from FotoFest multi-hyphenate Wendy Watriss (co-founder/artistic director/award-winning photojournalist), who dedicated the evening to her late husband and fellow co-founder Fred C. Baldwin. Notably in attendance were auction manager Janice Bond, associate curator and director of publishing Max Fields, biennial benefactor Carola Herrin and FotoFest official events planner Kevin Barnett.

FotoFest director Steven Evans surveys the action at the FotoFest Fine Print Auction. (Photo by Tere Garcia)
FotoFest director Steven Evans surveys the action at the FotoFest Fine Print Auction. (Photo by Tere Garcia)

Phyllis Kao of international auction house Bonhams led the bidding, which included the sale of many significant artworks, including Samuel Fosso’s L-002649 (Tommie Smith), 2008, and Ming Smith’s Amen Sisters, Harlem, 1976, a rare catch. The artist has upcoming solo exhibitions in 2023 at MoMA New York City and in Houston at CAMH.

Also among the top lots were Edward Burtynsky’s Carrara Marble Quarries, Cava di Canalgrande #1, Carrara, Italy, 2016 and Mónica Alcázar-Duarte’s Second Nature, 2022. The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston collected Delilah Montoya’s Jackie Chavez, 2005, and Houston collector Travis Capps acquired Deborah Roberts’ Folding the Red into the Black, 2018 to 2022, and also picked up Marcus Lyon’s Fuell ll, 2015.

For the first time in FotoFest history, the auction included two NFTs, both of which were sold in Ethereum: Rashed Haq’s Human Trials #5 (Trial 2Q10.5), 2022 and Penelope Umbrico’s Range: Of Swiss Fort Knox #18, 2022. 

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The auction raised more than $400,000, revenues FotoFest will use to continue enriching the Houston and global communities through art and photography.

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