Bennington College will sell works of art from its collection to help kick off a new scholarship program.
The College will auction five pieces at Christie’s — including a large abstract work by the painter Helen Frankenthaler, a graduate of Bennington College.
College President Mariko Silver said the college hopes the sale encourages donors to contribute their artwork to support the new scholarship program, Art for Access.
“The contributions that are made to Art for Access really enables people to give to the college in another way,” said Silver. “And so people can give us art from their own collection that we will steward and keep until the right moment comes to sell it.”
Silver said the Art for Access scholarship will support Bennington students who otherwise would not be able to afford a Bennington education.
Along with the Frankenthaler painting “Red Square,” the college will also sell a painting by the Mexican artist Diego Rivera, a painting by the 19th-century French artist Julian Dupré, a piece by American abstract expressionist Norman Bluhm and a work from 1956 by French abstract artist Georges Mathieu.
Christie’s estimates that the Frankenthaler painting will sell for between $3-to-5-million.
Silver said Bennington College does not have an art museum, but that many of the works from among its approximately 500 holdings circulate around the campus.
And she said many of the artworks were contributed to the college with an understanding that the school would sell the works to support scholarships and academic programs.
“We want to continue to increase access by providing scholarships and more scholarship funds to students who need it,” Silver said. “Helen gave this picture to the college with the idea that it would someday move out into the world and so that’s what we’re doing.”