Local icon and artist George Dureau is a quintessential New Orleans talent. He’s well liked, approachable, gregarious and, over the years, has given much to the people and the city he loves. Now his fans can return the favor.
The 82-year-old painter, sculptor and photographer spends his days in a nursing home due to the ruthless effects of Alzheimer’s. Only close friends and family visit, and, even then, they are never sure he recognizes them. He’s being well cared for, but long-term financial support is a concern. That’s why close friend Katie Nachod and other acquaintances, who fondly call themselves “Friends of George,” have planned a fundraising event for Dureau.
A live auction of Dureau’s personal items and artistic tools will be held on July 13 at Crescent City Auction Gallery. Professional appraisers Ruthie Winston and John Abajian of Winston & Associates spent weeks going through Dureau’s three-story French Quarter home and studio, sorting out items of value that can be auctioned. Winston, who is also an auctioneer and will hold the gavel during the auction, approached Adam Lambert, owner of Crescent City Auction Gallery about the project. ALambert is donating the space and time for the auction, as well as giving a percentage of the buyer’s premium to benefit George.
According to Nachod, the auction has been a group effort. She visits the artist often, and is his link to the outside world, detailing visits in emails so friends and followers can stay informed.
“He always recognizes me as someone he knows when I visit him, but I am not sure he knows exactly who I am,” Nachod says H”owever, he is always charming, has a smile on his face and is very engaged with what is going on around him.”
The auction will contain items that Dureau used professionally and personally, including:
“We don’t have a dollar figure on what we believe this auction will bring in, but we spent hours sorting through items we believe will be of interest,” said Winston. “I know we won’t have any trouble getting bids because George is such a part of our city’s culture and he has left such an indelible mark; everything from the creation of his Professor Longhair Jazz Fest poster or his exquisite black and white photos.”
Living Estate of George Valentine Dureau Auction
When: July 13, 2013; auction starts at 1 p.m.
Where: Crescent City Auction Gallery, 1330 St. Charles Ave.