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The International Fine Print Auction, FotoFest's principal fundraiser, takes place every two years as part of the FotoFest Biennial. It is designed to make some of the best national and international contemporary photographic art available to collectors.

The FotoFest Fine Print Auction is considered an exceptional benefit auction for the quality and breadth of its donating artists and their art work. It is one of the main events of the FotoFest Biennial and provides a rare opportunity to collect high quality contemporary fine art photography from Russia, Western Europe, Asia, Latin America, Canada and the United States.

Works featured in the FotoFest Auction are hand-picked by FotoFest’s founders in collaboration with selected artists. Donating artists and galleries donate all revenues from print sales to FotoFest. All the artists have had significant commissions and exhibits sponsored and curated by FotoFest itself or by important art institutions that have participated in FotoFest Biennial programs. The Auction is designed to honor these artists and their works as well as stimulate new interest in art collecting.

Educating Collectors
The Auction builds public appreciation for the value of photo-based art, and many people have
started photography collections through the FotoFest auction. There is no other charitable auction that offers this range of high quality U.S. and international contemporary photographic art.

In 2006, FotoFest began First Look, a membership group to explore photography collecting. Members-only events includwe regional trips outside of Houston, meetings with artists, visits to collectors’ homes, private print viewings at commercial art galleries, special visits to museum archives and collections, and members-only exhibition tours. In 2012, First Look hosted a new Collector's Program for visiting collectors to the FotoFest Auction. The three day program included a visit to the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston Print Collection, meetings with artists and tours of collector's homes.

The FotoFest Fine Print Auction is normally presided over by Auctioneer Denise Bethel, Vice President for Photography, Sotheby’s Inc., New York. In 2012, the Auction was led by Madeline Brophy, Heritage Auctions, Dallas, Texas.

Revenue and Artists
Revenues from print sales at the Fine Print Auction benefit FotoFest's art programs. Proceeds from Auction ticket and table sponsorship benefit FotoFest's year-round classroom-based education program, Literacy Through Photography (LTP), in Houston-area public schools. LTP provides more than 1,000 students annually with cameras and a curriculum using photography to improve writing and cognitive skills.

Among the well-known artists who have participated in the Auction are Doug and Mike Starn, Eikoh Hosoe, Alfredo Jaar,  Graciela Iturbide, Luis Gonzalez Palma,  Abelardo Morrell, Marc Riboud, Liliana Porter, Flor Garduňo, Lalla Essaydi, Yao Lu, Michiko Kon. AES+F and Elinor Carucci. 

2012 International Fine Print Auction
The 2012 Auction took place Tuesday, March 20, 2012 and was FotoFest’s tenth Fine Print Auction. It featured 82 fine art photographic prints. Thirty prints were donated by Russian, Ukrainian and Belarus artists featured in the FotoFest 2012 Biennial exhibitions, focused on Contemporary Russian Photography. It was the first time a substantial offering of high quality works by respected contemporary Russian, Ukrainian and Belarus artists were offered in the U.S. 

The 2012 Auction was held at the DoubleTree by Hilton Houston Downtown, the headquarters hotel and major sponsor for the FotoFest 2012 Biennial. The hotel is located at 400 Dallas Street, Houston, TX, 77002. The Fine Print Auction, Meeting Place portfolio review, Workshops, Book Signings, Evening with the Artists, and Artist/Curator Dialogues all took place there.

The FotoFest 2012 Fine Print Auction earned $366,500 with print sales and table sponsorships. The Auction drew institutional and private collectors from Brazil, Russia, France, Mexico and the U.S. Prices ranged from $17,000 to $1,500, with sales being 10% higher than FotoFest’s previous Biennial Auction in 2010. The 2012 Auction chairperson was Eloise Frischkorn.  The prints were framed by Italian moulding provided by ROMA Moulding. Additional institutional sponsorship was provided by the DoubleTree by Hilton Houston DowntownSingapore Airlines, IRIS Art Foundation – In Support of Photography in Russia, Gremillion & Co., Fine Art Inc. The FotoFest Board of Directors and twenty-five additional individual supporters were the major table sponsors. 

More information and images from the 2012 Fine Print Auction are available here.
The 2012 Fine Print Auction Online Catalogue is available here.