Super Art Sale

Dean, Cox team up to hold large
art auction Dec. 4 in Madison, Ind.

Dean sells estate items at his 'Wow What a Find' shop

(December 2021) – It’s the “most wonderful time of the year” for an art auction. Just in time for the holidays, Robert Dean is bringing a New York style, “big city” art auction to Madison, Ind., through his collaboration with Wes Cox, auctioneer, and Ann Lostutter, designer. 
The Fall Fine Art Auction is planned for Saturday, Dec. 4, at “WOW! What A Find,” located in the historic Masonic Lodge Ballroom on the third floor at 217 E. Main St., Madison. Previews are scheduled from noon – 3 p.m.  Thursday, Dec. 2, and Friday, Dec. 3.
On Saturday, the Pre-sale Preview and Cocktail Party runs from 5-6:15 p.m., followed by the auction at 6:30 p.m. Bidders can register in person, via phone or absentee. Payments accepted include credit cards, cash, checks and/or bank transfer. More than 60 lots (200 pieces) of fine art, fine art prints, engravings and giclee’s as well as sculptures will be featured. The art is sourced from estates, downsizing, and personal collections.
Dean, 57, was recruited to Madison by his friend, Patsy Schwartz, when the large building that previously housed “Green Roof Treasures” became available in 2016.

Robert Dean, Ann Lostutter

Photo by Sharyn Whitman

Robert Dean and Ann Lostutter show off some of the art pieces that will be auctioned Dec. 4 at 'Wow What a Find' shop.

Schwartz knew Dean had a large collection of unique furniture, art and décor in storage from his previous businesses in San Francisco and the New York area. They became business partners at that time. When that building was sold, they each opened separate smaller stores because there was no large space available.
Eventually, Schwartz moved to Cincinnati, and Dean moved “WOW! What A Find” into the Masonic Building.
“I’ve always had tastes that exceeded my budget, so I create stores where I would want to shop. My first shop was a modest little shop in San Francisco,” Dean said. “One day, a very understated, elegant, fun woman came into the shop. I wondered ‘Who is she?’ On her third visit, she pointed to 12 items totaling over $100,000.” She asked Dean if he could arrange to deliver the furnishings, and gave him her address. Dean said, “The Getty House?”  Mrs. Gordon Getty responded, “Yes.” Dean told her, “I will be happy to take your check.” 
In the beginning, Dean wasn’t sure his concept would work in Madison. However, his philosophy is, “If you love good things, you can have good things without spending $15,000 on a sofa. In my stores, you can spend $1,500 on that sofa. It’s a bargain.”
It wasn’t long before shoppers started saying to Dean, “You have a gorgeous store.” Dean discovered that Madisonians are stalwart supporters of his store. “WOW! What A Find” is also a draw for individuals who travel to Madison for the weekend just to shop for unique items in his constantly changing inventory. Dean said, “What I like about being a shopkeeper in this special town is that I get the privilege of meeting special people all the time – all with a story, all with a purpose.”


Photo by Don Ward

Wow What a Find opened in 2016 by owner Robert Dean. He buys and sells entire estates at his shop on Madison, Ind.'s Main Street.

Dean recruited Lostutter to work on several design projects during the COVID-19 retail closures. Lostutter has an Interior Design degree from Ball State University, where she also studied architecture.
In addition, she achieved certification as a Kitchen Designer. “I have now learned the estate sale business by working with Robert,” she said. “There is a lot of behind-the-scenes work to research and catalog items for estate sales.”
Cox operates both Cox Auctions and the Muddy Fork Antiques shop at 219 E. Main St., adjacent to “Wow! What A Find.” Cox has been collaborating with Dean and Lostutter on estate sales and interior design renovations. Dean manages the resale of high-end art, décor and furnishings. Lostutter works with Dean on the interior design and home staging. Cox manages the resale of all other estate furnishings and home renovation “leftovers” through his monthly auctions, both in person and online at www.auctionzip.com.
Dean said, “Wes Cox is a great guy. He is a solid citizen:  honest, no B.S.”  Dean explained that he had always wanted to be in the auction business, while Cox said he had always wanted to go “upscale.” Cox said to Dean, “Let’s do it together.”
This auction, like most auctions, will run about three hours. “I feed off of the energy of the people,” Cox said. “The auction business is fast-paced, with a million moving parts. I do auctions because I enjoy it. I’m so excited about this art auction and the knowledge I am gaining.” In the auction business, Cox has learned the importance of surrounding himself with good people whom he can trust. Dean and Cox have now discovered that collectively they are doing better together.

Wes Cox

Photo by Sharyn Whitman

Wes Cox displays a Henshaw painting that will be sold at the upcoming auction.

Some of the noted artists represented in the upcoming auction include: Dale Bessire, William McKendree Snyder, Orrin Draver, Charles Dahlgren, Henry Farney, Kinoko Craft and Ruthven Byrum. One very interesting item is a Remington statue (restrike) that was donated to benefit Christ Episcopal Church. 
Bessire (1892-1974) was a Brown County, Ind., farmer and businessman who started painting after his apple crop froze in 1914. He enjoyed painting the beautiful local Brown County landscapes so much that he resolved to paint every day. During the bleak Indiana winters, he decided he would try painting in warmer locations. However, he always looked forward to his return to Brown County, his “old friend.” By 1924, he was accepted into the first Hoosier Salon. He won many awards after that time. Apparently, he did spend some winter months at home because some of his works feature winter scenes and snowy days. 
Several William McKendree Snyder paintings are also available. Snyder (1848-1930) was a Madison, Ind., artist who is known his paintings of southern Indiana beech trees as well as his detailed Brown County landscapes. His highly desirable work is included in collections at Hanover College and the Indiana State Museum, as well as many other private and public collections
Orrin Draver (1895-1964) was born in Nebraska, but his family moved to Indiana when he was a boy. His artwork started with cartoons that he drew on the walls of his father’s office at the family’s milling machine business. He joined his father in the business and worked until his father’s death in 1932. At that time, he decided to sell the business and focus on painting. Like Snyder, Draver was captivated by the beech trees in Indiana. He enjoyed painting landscapes as well. His work continues to be in demand. 
Each work of art and each artist has a story. A buyer who purchases an original work of art, becomes part of that story through the preservation of that unique work. The story is shared and passed down through their family and friends. 
This first Fall Fine Art Sale on Dec. 4 is an opportunity to find a unique original to add to a personal collection or to give as a special gift. The third-floor ballroom at “WOW! What A Find” will continue to be used for special events, in addition to auctions. The winter Fine Art Sale is planned for February 2022.

For more information, contact Robert Dean at (812) 274-0440.

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