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Quinn & Farmer to auction photography collection of former Virginia museum publication manager
William Christenberry, ‘Kudzu with Sky (Winter) Near Akron, Alabama, est. $800- $1,200. Quinn & Farmer Auctions image.

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA.- Quinn & Farmer Auctions in Charlottesville, Virginia, is hosting an online-only sale through LiveAuctioneers that features the photography collection of George Cruger, former publications manager for the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA) in Richmond. The auction is now open for bidding, and lots will begin closing at 5:30 p.m. Eastern Time on Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014.

For many years, George Cruger held the position of assistant curator of photographs at VMFA. In that capacity, Cruger had the opportunity to research photographic works, recommend additions to the collections, and mount exhibitions. Among the shows Cruger helped produce was the major group show in 1987 titled Portraits: Faces of the ’80s.

Cruger’s personal collection traverses the history of photography as it developed around the world. It includes many notable 19th- and early to mid-20th-century pieces from such photographers as Edward Weston, William Christenberry, Mary Ellen Mark, Roger Mertin, Grancel Fitz, Nickolas Muray and Geoff Winningham. Additionally, his collection of contemporary works dating from 1990 includes prints by Edith Maria Calvo (Italy), Chan Chao (Burma), Kahn & Selesnick (England/USA), Hiroshi Watanabe (Japan), and Claudio Cambon, Lori Nix, and Marla Rutherford (all USA).

Cruger’s support of Richmond’s art community is reflected in the photos he acquired by local artists including Myron Helfgott, Janet Decover, and Joe Seipel, current Dean of VCU Arts (Virginia Commonwealth University) and founding board member of 1708 Gallery, a nonprofit organization that provides a space for new art – both by emerging and established artists – to be displayed.

In a statement from his gallery show at Main Art Gallery in 2008, Cruger said he had not been guided in his collecting by “any overarching principle or shrewd strategy,” but rather, that the main impulse that motivated him was that he “liked looking at’s really as simple as that.” He added that his enjoyment of photographic art had kept him interested in collecting over a long period of time, albeit “with limited financial resources.”

Among the highlights in Quinn & Farmer’s Aug. 28 auction are Geoff Winningham’s wrestling shot “Tag Team Action,” est. $1,500-$2,000; Hiroshi Watanabe’s “Chikako Suga, Matsuo Kabuki,” $400-$800; and William Christenberry’s “Kudzu with Sky (Winter) Near Akron, Alabama,” $800-$1,200. A photographic three-quarter portrait of Willa Cather, taken by Nickolas Muray, is estimated at $200-$400.

Quinn & Farmer’s Aug. 28 auction is an online-only event. View the fully illustrated catalog and sign up to bid absentee or live via the Internet through For enquiries regarding any item in the sale, call Emilia Penney at Quinn & Farmer Auctions, tel. 434-293-2904.

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