Some of Lambiel’s James Hardman collection.

Some of Lambiel’s James Hardman collection.

Leo Lambiel to auction off art collection as benefit for Orcas Center

  • Thu Aug 16th, 2018 1:11pm
  • Life

The following was submitted by Orcas Center.

Leo Lambiel may well be the greatest San Juan Islands art collector in history.

After almost 50 years of collecting, the Leo Lambiel Art Sale on Aug. 25-26 at Lambiel’s waterfront home on the east shore of Eastsound will be the first ever, one-time sale to the public of his personal, unique collection of fine and decorative original art. Hours on Saturday are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday are 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

No parking will be available at the museum; park at Orcas Center and transportation will be provided via shuttle only. Cash or check are preferred for art sales.

Featuring more than 260 artists, most of whom presently or at one point lived in the San Juan Islands over the last 100 years, the sale boasts thousands of pieces including rugs, paintings, cartoons, quilts, blown glass, etchings, sculptures, antique clocks and books, furniture and ceramics. A portion of the proceeds from the sale will benefit Orcas Center.

Lambiel began his collection in the late 1960s and has lived with some of San Juan Island artists’ greatest masterpieces, including 179 works by Helen Loggie, who the Library of Congress, National Academy of Design and Seattle MET named “San Juan’s most famous artist.” She came to Orcas from Bellingham in the 1930s and made etchings of natural surroundings, including her most famous “The King Goblin,” a drawing of an iconic juniper tree on the island, which hangs in Lambiel’s bedroom. Perhaps Lambiel also houses the largest collection of original ceramics and paintings by James Hardman, another Orcas Islander who spun his own bold, colorful aesthetic on some of the same trees and landscapes etched by Loggie in previous years.

Lambiel’s collection presents an impressive lineup of creations by artists who may have moved away, passed away or given up their medium as the years pass, including ceramic artists Leslie Liddle and her grandmother who kept the tiles in Lambiel’s kitchen one-of-a-kind for decades. Paintings, maps, woodcarvings, blown glass, unique chess boards, books, rugs and furniture pepper Lambiel’s collection, proving his eclectic taste in art is not limited to oil paintings, of which he has several by renowned artists Xiaogang Zhu and Alfred Currier.

As of Aug. 5, the Lambiel museum has been closed to the public.

The two-day sale at the Lambiel home and museum provides future collectors with the opportunity to appreciate the art as he has over the past half-century. “This house is hard to explain. You have to experience it,” are Lambiel’s famous “last” words.