A big step towards funding the $12 million Andrew Wyeth Memorial Endowment took place on Nov. 29 at the Adelson Galleries.

Beginning at 6 p.m., well wishers and bidders packed the East 82nd Street Galleries for an auction of museum quality art works to benefit the Farnsworth’s Andrew Wyeth Memorial Endowment. Twelve pieces, contributed by individuals specifically for the auction, were sold.

The evening’s highlight was the sale of Jamie Wyeth’s early oil portrait, “Portrait of Andrew Wyeth.” It fetched an impressive $2.4 million, a record amount for a Jamie Wyeth painting.

The live auction was preceded by a high-profile reception celebrating the life and artistic legacy of Andrew Wyeth, attracting attendees including famed artist Jamie Wyeth and his wife Phyllis, antiques expert Leigh Keno and David Rockefeller, Sr. The auction represented a major step towards funding our Andrew Wyeth Memorial Endowment, said Farnsworth Art Museum Director Christopher J. Brownawell. The campaign is now well on its way, and the event speaks volumes for the amount of support the Farnsworth continues to attract on the national scene, as well as the quality of the Farnsworth collection, he said.

“Our whole team would like to thank Phyllis Wyeth and her husband Jamie for their leadership role in this important campaign; the Adelson Galleries for having organized this exhibition and auction; and, of course, all those who so generously donated works including Paige Rense Noland, who donated five works of art in support of this important endowment campaign,” Brownawell said.

First announced in September 2009, the Andrew Wyeth Memorial Endowment campaign will support the maintenance and operation of four of the Farnsworth Art Museum’s properties: the Olson House in Cushing; and the Wyeth Center, Wyeth Study Center and Wyeth Research Center in Rockland. The Farnsworth Art Museum began acquiring works by Andrew Wyeth in advance of its 1948 opening and now owns more than 60 works by members of the Wyeth family.

VillageSoup Art/Entertainment Editor Dagney Ernest can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by e-mail to dernest@villagesoup.com.