Polly and Scott Larsen

Polly and Scott Larsen are the owners of Larsen Gallery in downtown Scottsdale.

The 2020 Fall Larsen Art Auction’s 428 lots are now installed and available for preview through Oct. 23 at Larsen Gallery in downtown Scottsdale.

Bidding then begins at 10 a.m. on Oct. 24 via telephone, absentee, online and in-person at the gallery.

“We’ve just got some really stellar pieces,” said co-owner Polly Larsen.

The 2020 Fall Larsen Art Auction marks Larsen Gallery’s ninth fall auction.

Highlights include Jim Dine’s “Main Street #5,” a piece estimated to be worth anywhere from $40K to $60K; Andy Warhol’s “General Custer,” estimated at $30K to $45K; and Logan Maxwell Hagege’s “Sun to the East,” estimated at $15K to $25K.

“[Hagege] is not necessarily the highest dollar figure in the auction, but he’s an important artist and we’ve never had any of his pieces,” Larsen said. “We expect that particular work to go above its estimates.” 

Due to COVID-19, this year’s auction will be different than last fall’s auction.

The owners, which also include Scott Larsen, not only extended their auction preview from three weeks to a little more than a month, but they’re also forgoing their well-attended three-hour preview party.

“Typically, in past years, we start the day with mimosas and Bloody Marys and specialty donuts. Then, we serve a full-on lunch,” Larsen said. “Typically, we have about 180 chairs set up.”

In addition to their two usual online platforms, LiveAuctioneers and Invaluable, the Larsens also added the online bidding platform Bidsquare.

Participants can also bid via telephone, a feature Larsen Gallery offered during its first spring auction this year.

“Because we had so many clients calling us and were interested in the inventory, we ended up adding telephone bidding three weeks prior to it happening; and we executed over 650 telephone bids, which was amazing,” Polly said.

The 2020 Spring Larsen Art Auction was Larsen Gallery’s first fully virtual auction, an event Polly said they will continue to host moving forward.

The spring auction boasted 396 pieces and they sold 92 percent to bidders around the world.

“Because everybody was stuck at home, because it was the beginning of the COVID [pandemic], we had people watch us all five hours,” Polly said. “We had a few challenges with shipping, but other than that, it was pretty seamless.”

Larsen Gallery set three auction records during their 2019 fall sale.

They increase both consignments and clients by 50 percent, sold 91 percent and shipped artwork to 30 different countries. 

And while this year’s fall auction is still days away, Polly said they’re already having their “best year ever.”

“And not just because of the auctions,” she said, “but we’re having our best sales here ever as well.”

Polly attributes the increase in sales to people spending more time at home and likely redecorating their home.

“People may have a lot of discretionary income, too, because they’re not traveling and they’re not spending money on food and beverages and et cetera. So, we’re having our best year ever,” she added.

Polly said they had no hesitation about hosting the fall auction this year.

“Because if we can’t have people in the room due to the pandemic, our April auction showed us that we can still hit it out of the ballpark,” she said.

This year, Larsen Gallery will continue their tradition of donating funds from their fall auction to Free Arts for Abused Children of Arizona, a nonprofit organization founded in 1993 that “transforms children’s trauma to resilience through the arts.”

The funds raised from the auction will support the Free Arts’ Professional Artist Series.

“We have been involved with Free Arts since the beginning,” Polly said. “Their very first art auction that they had was held at our gallery – not this space, but at our older space.”

Last year, the auction raised about $3,000 for the nonprofit.

“They’re just near and dear to our hearts, and we believe in what they do,” Polly said.

Larsen Gallery’s fall auction is open to the public but those interested must register to bid. In-person bidding will take place at Larsen Gallery at 3705 N. Bishop Lane.

Those bidding online or via phone can visit larsenartauction.com.