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Small Town, Big Names

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When a collection that included works signed with names like Pablo Picasso and Rembrandt van Rijn went on display in downtown Boise's Brown's Gallery last year, it got the art world's attention.

Rarely do works by world-renowned artists of that caliber appear outside a major art museum or famous auction house, let alone a small gallery in Boise, Idaho. Yet the show was a resounding success, with collectors flying in for the event.

If you missed out on your chance to own a classic piece of art, you're about to get another opportunity.

Brown's Gallery will open its latest show, taken from the collections of two private art lovers, on First Thursday, April 2.

This time around, there are fewer, slightly smaller works hanging, but they still carry names sure to bring big-league collectors to Boise.

Among the 18 pieces, which were once part of a private collection now being sold by the family of the collector, is an etching by Picasso and three paintings by his contemporary, Marc Chagall.

"People are going to scramble for them," said gallery owner Gloria Brown.

Additionally, would-be buyers can check out three ink on caribou skin works by well-known Inuit artist George Ahgupuk.

Also from the same collection are two signed, limited-edition ink lithographs by Kathe Kollwitz, including a small self-portrait of the artist.

A second collector who's looking to downsize is adding roughly 13 works by painter Mark Davis to the show.

The last time such a big-name show hung in the gallery, it was nearly sold out within two days, and Brown's son, Randall Brown, was met at the door by a crowd on the morning of the opening.

While the market for high-end art has declined some since then, Gloria Brown still has high expectations.

"There are people who will buy art, regardless," she said. "We'll just give it our best."

And while nervous investors watch the value of their stocks plummet, artwork by an internationally known artist seems like a safe investment.

Brown admits that most people are decidedly surprised to find such well-known art in Boise, and the novelty draws a lot of lookers to the gallery—which is just fine with Brown.

"We certainly welcome them," she said.

Brown's Gallery, 1022 W. Main St., 208-342-6661, brownsgallery.com.

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