Igor Babailov, Deemed ‘Living Master,’ Offers Two Oil Portraits For Ball Auction

The Heritage Ball auction opened this particular item online for bids. To learn more about the portrait auction items, bidding process, and how it benefits the Foundation, go to the auction site at www.hfportraitauction.com.

Generations of Williamson County residents have made a tradition of supporting the Heritage Ball, the community’s longest-running black-tie event that benefits the Heritage Foundation. This year the nonprofit’s patrons will have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, thanks to its 2015 silent auction offerings.

World-renowned figurative artist Maestro Igor Babailov, Hon. RAA, is providing two commissioned paintings for the Ball’s auction, one adult portrait (valued at $55,000) and another for a child (valued at $44,000). Babailov is currently completing the official portrait of Pope Francis–the artist’s third papal portrait–from his Brentwood-based studio.

40 - Babailov, Portrait of A  Lemire by Igor BabailovThanks to Babailov’s generosity, a Heritage Foundation supporter could be his next subject!

“Igor is a legend in the global artistic community, and those who benefit from his genius are part of an esteemed legacy that will live forever,” said Mary Pearce, executive director of the Heritage Foundation. “This is a priceless opportunity, and perhaps the most exciting silent auction we’ve ever had.  

“His donation will play a major role in helping the Foundation to preserve historical landmarks that may otherwise be destroyed. We are both thrilled and thankful.”

Deemed Living Master by his contemporaries, the Honorary Academician of the Russian Academy of Arts (est. 1757) is one of the most sought-after portrait artists in the world. He has been selected to paint three living presidents in three countries, two living Prime Ministers, members of the noble families and British Royalty, in addition to a slate of other prominent public figures. To learn more about his work, go to www.babailov.com.

Those who win the Babailov bids can expect a traditional portraiture process: the subject will sit for the artist for a few hours of preliminary graphite studies of likeness, character and personality. The following turnaround time for an oil portrait is three to six months. The individual 40 x 30” figure portraits come with  a personally endorsed copy of Babailov’s new book, “Greatest Portrait Moments.”

To reach a wider audience outside of Middle Tennessee, the Heritage Ball auction opened online this week for bids. To learn more about the portrait auction items, bidding process, and how it benefits the Heritage Foundation, go to the auction site at www.hfportraitauction.com.

Each year, the silent auction provides an impressive selection of items that range from estate jewels and custom clothing to extravagant getaways. Over the past two years silent auction proceeds have raked in more than $100,000 for the Foundation’s mission to protect and preserve the architectural, geographic and cultural heritage of Williamson County.

This year’s monies will specifically benefit the renovation of the ca. 1941 Old, Old Jail–also known as the future Big House for Historic Preservation, a public resource for historic preservation and the first permanent home for the Heritage Foundation.

The 42nd Annual Heritage Ball will be held September 19th at the Eastern Flank Battlefield Park. Tickets are $375 per person, and tables are available. To learn more or reserve a ticket, go to www.historicfranklin.com/events or email Lynne McAlister at lmcalister@historicfranklin.com.

35 - Babailov, Portrait of Leah by Igor Babailov

42ND Annual Heritage Ball Theme Revealed Among Vintage Revelry


More than 250 guests gathered around an impressive vintage car collection at Alexander Automotive on Friday, July 31 for a glamorous evening celebrating the 42nd Annual Heritage Ball–and the reveal of this year’s “Rhapsody in Blue​” theme, inspired by the classic Georgia Gershwin song.

​”​One of the most widely performed versions of the song was the first classical arrangement, often dubbed the 1941 Rhapsody​,” said Lynne McAlister, Heritage Ball coordinator.​ “Since the monies raised at the ​benefit this year will go toward renovating the ca. 1941 Old, Old, Jail​, we felt the theme had a lovely synergy with the mission of the Ball.​”​

Supporters of the Heritage Foundation of Franklin & Williamson County enjoyed a mini silent auction, craft cocktails by GRAY’S on Main, and Premier DJs of Nashville spinning tunes in a magnificent setting complements of Barry and Jackie Alexander’s antique cars. Plus, guests enjoyed farm-to-fork bites created by Homestead Manor that included herbed ​g​oat ​cheese in ​p​hyllo ​c​igars​,​ rye squares with ​s​moked ​b​eets, ​m​icro ​g​reens and ​ca​nnellini ​b​ean​s, sweet potato biscuits with blackberry jam, caramelized onions and beef tenderloin, and more.​

In addition ​​models acted as docents for the evening. Elizabeth Greer, Taylor McGrath and Erica Wagstaff–wearing​ themed designs​ ​provided ​exclusively ​by​ Belk at Cool Springs Galleria–shar​ed ​history about several different cars, ​the 42nd Heritage Ball ​and the Heritage Foundation’s vision for the “Big House for Historic Preservation” (or the Old, Old Jail).

In the past, the reveal party has been a more quiet affair, but thanks to the vision cast by Ball Chair Cathi Aycock, this season’s reveal night became a “party about a party.”

“I wanted to keep all of the wonderful things that make the Heritage Ball so beloved, ​and ​combine that with some ​more modern elements to really thank our volunteers and make this night shine​,” Aycock says. “​I hope to use the same formula​–keep the best and add something fresh–to the Ball itself too. I think if someone hasn’t been to the ​event in a while, they will be amazed at what we have planned. And ​I know the loyal Ball attendees will love the mix of classic and ​fresh ​ideas​​.​”​

The 42nd Annual Heritage Ball will be held September 19 at the Eastern Flank Battlefield Park. To purchase tickets or learn more, go here or ​email Lynne McAlister at lmcalister@historicfranklin.com.

Heritage Ball