Dennis Ziemienski: Excerpt from "Art of auctioneering"

By Lew Freedman


It was ping-pong with $1,000 bids, back and forth volleys, almost faster than the mind could process without a computer, bidders going hard after Dennis Ziemienski’s “Warmth of the Campfire” a 36-inch-by-30-inch oil painting of a white horse with a retail value of two happy young people, horses behind them, basking in the glow of a fire under the stars.

When the rapid-fire increases kept coming, the crowd began roaring, as if rooting a thoroughbred home on the straightaway at the Kentucky Derby.

“$13,000, $14,000, $15,000,” auctioneer Troy Black echoed, his energy transmitting to the players.

“$17,000!” Black said. The Buffalo Bill Art Show and Sale crowd, most of them spectators for this painting, yelled again.

It went up again.

There is never a problem selling Ziemienski’s large pieces. A few years ago the museum bought one for itself before it went to auction.

At various points during the annual event Friday night, held in a temporary tent facility on the museum grounds, bidding turned into spectator sport.

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