‘Peonies For Diane Rath’ benefit honors and suppports Lake Bluff artist

February 11, 2011

I was fortunate to be alerted to the Peonies For Diane Rath event by a Libertyville friend who received an e-mail blast from one of Diane Rath’s daughters, Annie Rath, about her mother’s Fine Art Show at the Lake Bluff Train Station Gallery on Saturday, January 29. Similar blast e-mails were also sent out by Artists on the Bluff and the Deerpath Art League.

Attend I did with my friend, and I was rewarded for having done so.  I must confess to having “egg on my face,” for despite being a resident of Lake Bluff since 1972, I was not aware that Diane Rath lived in my community!  What I saw was an outstanding display of Diane Rath’s oil paintings depicting still life, floral displays and landscapes, including many peony artworks which have become Ms. Rath’s signature.

While attending Peonies For Diane Rath I heard the tragic news of why the event was being held.  On January 1st Diane Rath received the shocking diagnosis of Stage 4 colon cancer.  Additional extensive hospital tests revealed that Diane’s cancer had spread to other organs. Despite the diagnosis, Diane and her family remain optimistic about her future.

It always helps to have friends, but especially in times of great emotional upheaval and stress.  Ms. Rath’s friends at Artists on the Bluff took up Diane’s cause and arranged Peonies for Diane as a benefit to raise money for her medical treatment.

And come people did to greet Diane, to wish her well, to view her outstanding collection of oil paintings, and to buy!  It is estimated that four hundred friends and art admirers kept the Lake Bluff Train Station waiting room crowded and filled with lively conversations throughout the three-and-one-half hour event.

In speaking with Catherine Liggett of Lake Forest, she informed me that, as an admirer of Diane Rath, she has a grouping of three of Diane’s floral painting in the foyer of her staircase.  Most likely Catherine Liggett has added another one by now.

Wine and appetizers added to the enjoyment of the evening.  Concluding the event was an always popular Silent Auction featuring five items for consideration.  Neil Estrick, of Neil Estrick Gallery in Grayslake, donated a porcelain pot with a lid; Don and Jill Leipprandt, also from Grayslake, donated an oak tray with birch inserts; and three of Diane Rath’s paintings — two small and one large — completed the five Silent Auction items up for bid.

It was the understanding that paintings not sold on January 29th would remain on exhibit (and sale) for several weeks.  In speaking with daughter Annie after the event, Annie informed me that all but four of the 40 to 45 paintings on display were sold, and that the unsold ones were taken back home.  According to Annie, “They all went so quickly.  I didn’t expect them to sell so quickly, and I’ve been to many art shows.”  The money from the event will help cover the costs of Diane’s medical bills.

As a fellow Lake Bluffer, I wish Diane well with her medical treatment.  I am sure there are hundreds of well-wishers just like me, for Diane Rath is a Mother, Teacher, Artist, Mentor and a Friend to many.  Diane is also acknowledged as one of today’s finest painters and visionary teachers.  She taught 10 years at both the American Academy of Art and the Palette & Chisel Academy in Chicago and is represented by four galleries.

Daughter Annie perhaps said it best in describing the sizable turnout for her mom:  “It reflects on the type of person my mom is that this many people came to show their support for her.”

Annie, 22, is pursing a Bachelor’s Degree with a major in Hospitality Administration at Boston University.  I regret that I didn’t meet Annie’s siblings who were also on hand to support their mom.  Lucy, 24, works for the Chicago White Sox, and Tyler, 26, is works at Mesirow Financial in Chicago.

Check Diane Rath’s website at www.DianeRath.com to find paintings that are available for purchase.

Lucy Rath and Whitney Moran has set up the following website to keep her mom’s friends updated about her mom’s condition: www.PeoniesforDianeRath.com .

On the website it is also possible to contribute to Diane Rath, as she fights the battle to win over the cancer which has invaded her body.



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