It’s a historic event, modernized for contactless shopping and a great way to buy art, support Guild Hall and our local artists.
This is the 75th annual Clothesline Art Sale, where art enthusiasts line up at 9am outside the Guild Hall for the chance to browse and buy works of art, hanging from the fences of the beach dunes on the lawn.
Over the years, the Clothesline sale (which began in 1946) has included some of the region’s most famous artists. Abstract Expressionists such as Willem de Kooning, Elaine de Kooning, Jackson Pollock and Alfonso Ossorio all participated in the 1950s.
This year, Clothesline features 240 artists and 675 artworks priced “from $100 all the way up to $4,000 to $5,000, with major prizes between $500 and $1,200,” says Casey Dalene, Associate Curator Lewis B. Cullman of the Guild Hall. for public learning and engagement.
“We push artists to set a very high price for their work so that the art is acceptable to the community that comes forward to buy it,” says Dalene. “We always receive a lot from the local community. … It’s kind of a very neat tradition within the community … not just the seasonal community, but also the year-round community, and a way for them to get real paintings, real works of art for their walls, at an affordable price.
The sale was changed last year due to COVID and those changes remain for this year. Normally the show is inside the gallery and in front of the building; this year it will still be only outdoors (while maintaining the gallery’s main exhibition, that of Alexis Rockman Castaway, “so that people can come for the sale and also check out the current exhibition”). Guild Hall expanded the front lawn and “doubled the space” they use to display art on the fence along the grass.
Where in the past a shopper would pick up an artwork off the fence or indoor wall and bring it to the checkout and stand in line to pay for it and receive a handwritten receipt, now there is a platform for online sale for Clothesline buyers:
“You see a board, you like it, you see the price on the board but you can also see it on the website – there’s a QR code you can scan and you go straight to the board on our website and Go straight to your shopping cart and checkout, on the spot and take the painting with you,” says Dalene. (If you’re shopping on the website from home, once you’ve made the purchase, you then take head over to the website to pick up the coin at Guild Hall the week after the clothesline.)
The Clothesline sale opens at 9 a.m. in person and online, but you can shop from home all day until midnight. Each artist submits up to three works (for a $15 fee) and Guild Hall makes a 50/50 split with the sale of a painting: 50% goes to the artist and 50% goes to Guild Hall.
If last year is any indication, the 75th anniversary celebration will be well attended.
“(Last year) it was a huge success, we went over budget…the community really went out for Guild Hall and the artists and just shopped – so we’re hoping for the same this year…And obviously , people are more outdoors and more comfortable being on the go,” says Dalene.
At its heart, the clothesline sale is a benefit to Guild Hall. And it supports local artists.
“For artists to also get exposure and sell their work, we love when we can help artists. It’s another opportunity to do it, it’s part of our program,” says Dalene.
And for art lovers and buyers?
“It’s a one-day thing…that feeling of discovery…to have that lucky, clandestine moment.”
The 75th Annual Guild Hall Clothesline Art Sale will take place Saturday, July 24 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Guild Hall and online from 9 a.m. to midnight. Guild Hall is located at 158 Main Street, East Hampton. Visit and shop at shopart.guildhall.org. For more information, visit guildhall.org.