With the ever-increasing cachet of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston's biennial Latin American Experience as the place for acquiring contemporary Latin American art, it comes as no surprise that Saturday night's fifth event in this genre was a huge success. The oh-so-sophisticated live auction, led by Sotheby's suave Jamie Niven, brought in $845,000 as guests raised their paddles in the museum auditorium and others bid by proxy over cellphones.
The silent auction in a main floor gallery reaped $120,000 and ticket sales made up the balance at $345,000.
It was a grand black-tie evening for chairs Eugenia and Eduardo Gruneisen, in from Argentina for the evening, but also for honoree grande dame Nelly Arrieta de Blaquier, who divides her time between Buenos Aires, for which she is cultural ambassador; New York, where she serves on the Museum of Modern Art International Council and Chairman's council; and Paris, where she serves on the decorative arts committee of the Louvre.
Credit for this successful event goes in part to the museum's curator of Latin American art Mari Carmen Ramírez, who has put the museum at the forefront of the movement to recognize the accomplishments of modern Latin American artists. On this evening she was frequently in the company of Argentinean artists Miguel Angel Rios and Nicola Costantino.
Helping take this event to its happy conclusion were gala advisors Sofia Adrogué and Brad Bucher and host committee members such as Karol and Paul Barnhart Jr., Celina Hellmund, Gail and Louis Adler, Maria Ines Sicardi, Mary Cullen, Meredith Cullen, Sten Gustafson, Karol Kreymer and Dr. Robert Card.
Following the live auction, guests moved on to Cullinan Hall where dinner was served by City Kitchen and where the well-dressed crowd danced the night away to the sounds of Havana NRG. Of course, keeping a close eye on the proceedings was museum director Gary Tinterow.