When Dick Poole received a cancer diagnosis, he began to think about getting his affairs in order, including the more than 500 pieces of art that he and his wife Elisa had collected since 1963.
Poole had a friend on the board of Habitat of New Castle County and got the idea to donate some art. While he wasn’t extremely familiar with the details of Habitat’s work, “I did understand its importance and supported its mission,” Poole says.
After two successful surgeries, Poole is feeling good and preparing to auction 125 pieces from his collection, with all of the proceeds going to Habitat. Artwork in the March 14 auction will include watercolors, oil paintings, landscapes, portraits and more, as the Pooles have assembled a varied collection of works dating from the mid-19th century to the present. World-class auctioneer Alasdair Nichol, who has often appeared on Antiques Roadshow, is lending his voice and talents to the event. In the hopes of appealing to more people, there will be no reserve pricing on the pieces for sale.
“A painting that may be worth $1,000 could well go for $100 or $200,” Poole says. “And that is good because if someone gets a good buy and enjoys the painting in his or her home over the years, that will be gratifying to me because it will increase someone’s appreciation for art [and] it will be good for Habitat for Humanity.”
The auction is a first for Habitat of New Castle County. “We’re extremely grateful to Elisa and Dick Poole for their unprecedented donation,” says affiliate CEO Kevin L. Smith. “Their generosity has made it possible to further our mission of providing homeownership opportunities and allows us to develop new partnerships and expand our donor base.”