Art collector shares treasures to help library

  • Thursday, November 1, 2012

This original color lithograph, entitled “The Stars”, was created in 1938 by Russian artist Wassily Kandinsky (Russian, 1866-1944), is one of some 75 original artworks from Robert Seay’s private collection that will be on display during the Art Gala.  

Art lovers, book lovers, caring folks from all walks of life will have a unique opportunity to help the community and feed their souls at the Friends of the Summerville Library Art Gala, to be held Nov. 9 at Art and Soul in Summerville.
The event, a fundraiser for the Friends of the Summerville Library, will feature art works from the private collection of Robert Seay, a long-time private art collector who lives in Summerville. The objects on display include works of old masters from between the 15th and 20th centuries, including Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, William Hogarth, and Albrecht Dürer.
A string duo from the Summerville Community Orchestra will also perform during the event and a champagne and dessert reception will be served.
Seay, a teacher with the Berkeley County School District has lived in Summerville for nearly 20 years; he has been collecting art for nearly 40 years, he said.
“I first became interested when I was about fifteen years old, after participating in a school tour of the Gibbes Museum of Art,” he said. “I also had opportunities to visit a number of galleries in Charleston, and that fueled my interest.”
Some may wonder how a private citizen of relatively modest means acquires artworks of well-recognized old masters. Seay acknowledges that he has amassed a rather large and now valuable collection, but notes that many of these works – at least up until recent times – have been much more accessible to the buying public than many may realize.
“There are still a number of original graphic works that are within the reach of a lot of people,” he noted.
To be more specific, the works are categorized into tiers. Artworks considered first-tier works are generally oil paintings and large sculptures. Watercolors and drawings may be considered second tier works. Smaller works -- lithographs, woodcuts, etchings, etc. – are examples of third tier works. They were created by the master and intended to be an original piece of art, rather than a copy of another work.
“Because I’ve been a collector for a long time, things I acquired years ago are now quite valuable,” Seay said.
Seay says as a teacher and a lover of art, he would like to someday secure funding, possibly through a grant through an organization such as the S.C. Arts Commission, to acquire the necessary equipment – and personnel – to take his collection “on the road.” Ideally, he would like to share his collection and pass his love of art on to students in schools across the state, he said. And, being a South Carolinian with deep family roots, he says he would like to leave his collection to a local museum some day.
The Art Gala fundraiser event will be held from 7-10 p.m. Friday, Nov. 9, in Art and Soul 113 W. Second South Street in Summerville. Tickets are $15 for one or $25 for two and are available online or at the door. All proceeds benefit the Friends of the Summerville Library. For more information call 224-4133 or go to the website at www.sc.weebly.com

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