Auerbach donates antique chandelier to Women’s Club in memory of light of her life


Rita Argen Auerbach donated the antique chandelier, originally from a Fredonia, N.Y., mansion, in memory of her husband, Richard. Photo by Greg Funka.

Lori Humphreys | Staff Writer

Auerbach and daughter Carrie stand under the chandelier in the Chautauqua Women’s Clubhouse living room

When the winter renovation of the Chautauqua Women’s Clubhouse was completed, the ceiling expanse of the refreshed living and meeting room cried out for a chandelier.

But in keeping with the Women’s Club’s on-time-and-under-budget renovation discipline, president Marilyn Mock said there would be no chandelier until the Women’s Club had the money to pay for it.

Enter member and Chautauqua artist Rita Argen Auerbach. She donated the chandelier in memory of her husband, Richard, who died this winter.

Though the Aug. 3 get-together was festive, champagne for all, it also was an emotional moment for Rita and her daughter Carrie.

“I lost the light of my life, so this was an opportunity to remember, to give this light, and to remember how light has influenced my life and art,” she said.

Then she flipped a switch and the fabulous chandelier, a reworked refugee from a Fredonia, N.Y., mansion, lit the room.

In giving this gift, Auerbach became one of more than 177 donors who have contributed approximately $240,000 to the Clubhouse renovation. There are still a few odds and ends, like a chandelier for the dining room, which Mock said are on the like-to-have list.