Jane Fonda will be auctioning off a trove of art that she has collected over the past two decades.
Taking place on Jan. 18, the Christie's annual Outsider and Vernacular Art auction in New York will comprise 14 artworks by the late American artist Thornton Dial, his brother, Arthur Dial, and his son, Thornton Dial Jr.
As the auction house notes, Fonda has been a longtime collector of Black artists from the American South. She previously collected mostly Plein-air paintings by women, but that changed during a trip to art historian Bill Arnett's house in the 1990s.
"It was chock-a-block full of these paintings by Thornton Dial, by Lonnie Holley, by Joe Minter, by so many other Black artists of the South," she recalled. "You literally had to suck your stomach in to go through the door."
Fonda explained that the "dynamism, the energy, the courage, the rawness of these works" moved her, and she "bought a number of things right then and there."
Over the ensuing years, Fonda would acquire her collection by visiting the artists Arnett was supporting at their home studios and yard art displays in Birmingham and surrounding communities in Alabama.
"I don't know of more powerful statements about the challenges faced in the Jim Crow South than these works of art," she said. "These aren't just commentaries on social wrongs. These are testaments to them by people who experienced it, who lived it."
The 14 pieces from Fonda's collection that will be auctioned range from animal-shaped benches by Dial Jr., each estimated to fetch $2,000 to $4,000, to a larger-than-life-sized painted canvas-and-plywood image of Uncle Sam from 1989, expected to sell for $20,000 to $40,000, and a large-scale mixed-media wall works by Thornton Dial, estimated to sell for between $50,000 and $100,000.
This is not the first time that Fonda has auctioned pieces of art by Dial from her collection. According to CNN, the actor and activist sold the highly textural 1999 assemblage "Trophies (Doll Factory)" for $277,000 in 2019.
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