Here’s Your Chance to Own Works by Some of Hawai‘i’s Best Artists

The April 7 auction is a great opportunity for art collectors.

Editors Note: Through our partnership with the Honolulu Museum of Art, HONOLULU Magazine publishes a monthly blog written by Lesa Griffith, the museum’s communications director and a talented Hawai‘i writer on arts, culture and food.

  Art auction

Auction items ready for viewing.


When James “Jay” Jensen, the museum’s former curator of contemporary art, passed away a year ago, he left behind a substantial personal collection of artwork and books, a large portion of which he bequeathed to the institution that he loved. More recently, Dawn and Duncan MacNaughton donated works from their personal collection to the museum.


Now more than 200 items from these two generous gifts (designated for purposes of sale) are going to auction on April 7 at McClain’s Auctions. In addition, hundreds of books from Jensen’s collection, along with some from the museum’s library, will also be for sale.


Art auction
“Portrait of Luz” by Jean Charlot, from the Estate of James Jensen (left) and Lizbet Stewart's “Monkey with Vine” from the MacNaughton Collection.


The event is a great opportunity for collectors to acquire works by some of Hawai‘i’s best artists, as well as some options from nationally known artists. Auction items include sculptures, paintings, ceramics, drawings, prints and photographs. Proceeds from the works donated will go to the museum’s general operating fund.


Highlights of the MacNaughton Collection include a sculpture by Lizbeth Stewart, a portfolio of Brett Weston photographs, a woodcut by Susan Rothenberg and several ceramic works by well-known Hawai‘i artists such as May Chee and Lucille Cooper.

  Art auction

“Backstage X” by Harry Tsuchidana, whose work was in the museum’s recent exhibition Abstract Expressionism: Looking East from the Far West.


Jensen had amassed a substantial personal collection of artwork and books, which the museum is acquiring and offering important works for sale to the public. The majority of pieces date from the latter half of the 20th century; however, works from the 19th and early 20th centuries are also represented. Selected pieces include prints by Pat Steir, Ellsworth Kelly and William T. Wiley; a drawing by Jean Charlot; a photograph by Barbara Ess; a group of works by Kathy Muehlemann; and ceramics by Anthony Brown, Stephen Freedman, Victor Kobayashi, Don Reitz and Toshiko Takaezu.


The sale of art books—from the Jensen Collection and the museum’s library—is happening now through Friday, April 6. Interested buyers can browse shelves of books, exhibition catalogs, monographs and other art-related publications before the art auction. Book purchases are cash only.


McClain’s Auction, 780 S. Beretania St.

Art auction: April 7, 10 a.m. Preview April 4–6, noon to 6 p.m.; April 7, 8–10 a.m.

Book sale: April 4–6; noon to 6 p.m.; cash only.



Lesa GriffithLesa Griffith is director of communications at the Honolulu Museum of Art. Born in Honolulu, one of her early seminal art experiences was at the Honolulu Museum of Art, when on a field trip her high school art history teacher pointed out that the ermine cape in Whistler’s Portrait of Lady Meux was not just a cape—it was visual signage leading viewers’ eyes through the painting.