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Auctioneers and Appraisers of Objects of Value

Antiques and Fine Art Auctions Blog

Skinner expert appraisers and auctioneers discuss antiques, fine art, and collectibles. Keep up on market trends and get collecting tips from antiques experts. Discover the stories behind the art and antiques Skinner offers at auction.

In Defense of Snow


Isaac Witkin’s Jacob’s Dream, 1986, (figure 1)

I have a confession to make.  When you’re not shoveling it or raking it off your roof, the snow is actually beautiful. You may think I have an acute case of cabin fever, but let me explain before you deem me to be a total nut job.

I grabbed two young friends and my snow shoes and headed to the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum on a snowy Thursday.  Many of the smaller works near the museum’s entrance were buried beneath mountains of the white stuff, but there was still plenty to see, and all of it was transformed.  We started below the museum, near two works by Isaac Witkin:  Maiden’s Dream, 1996 on the left and Jacob’s Dream, 1986 (figure 1).  Given that Witkin grew up in South Africa and trained in London, he probably wasn’t thinking much about snowscapes when he made these two.  Regardless, thanks to the snow, the bottom third of each work is hidden, making their scale more human and less intimidating. These flowing organic forms, which echo the landscape in all seasons, relate to the drifts and eddies of snow both on the ground and falling from the sky. The forms seem like liquid, frozen in an instant.


Jim Dine’s Two Big Black Hearts, 1985, (figure 2)

Just through the trees and down the slope from the Witkins is Jim Dine’s Two Big Black Hearts of 1985 (figure 2). From a distance these huge looming hearts seem cold, and the snowcover on top hardly dispels the feeling.But up close, they are textured with objects that represent fond memories for the artist, including shells, faces, and tools.  Each element relates to his family and friends, and thus the colossal hearts are inspired by warmth and love.  It just takes getting close to them to see this.  Even if the hammers and pliers don’t have the same connections for you as they do for Dine, the hands and faces will.


Dorothy Dehner’s Fortissimo, (figure 3)

Through the woods to the summit behind the museum we approached Dorothy Dehner’s Fortissimo (figure 3). Described by one of my intrepid young trekkers as looking “sorta like a weird Ent,” the composition is derived from her small 1970 bronze titled Fist.  Anyone who has read The Lord of the Rings knows just how powerful an angry Ent can be, though in general they are mild creatures. One could argue that the silent strength of Dehner’s Fortissimo has a power not unlike that of an Ent. The fact that there was no snow massed on any of its horizontal surface made it seem all the more likely that, like an Ent, it was capable of movement.

The final element that always makes snow magical is hot cocoa, and yes they serve it in the café.  So as absurd as it sounds, I urge you to get out into the snow and try to enjoy.  After all, it won’t be gone until July or so.

Skinner is proud to be both a Corporate Sponsor of the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum and a participant in Black and White in the Park.

American Indian & Ethnographic Art Takes Center Stage at Skinner, March 14

Two Historic Lakota German Silver Pendants Owned by Famed Chiefs Red Cloud and Spotted Tail (Lot 190, Estimate $20,000-$30,000)

BOSTON, MA – March 2, 2015 – Skinner, Inc. will host an auction of American Indian & Ethnographic Art on March 14th, featuring a wide range of art from Africa, Polynesia, New Guinea and abroad, as well as American Plains Indian material,pieces from the Northwest Coast, Woodlands and Southwest, and textiles and pottery.

“Both new and seasoned collectors will find a variety of intriguing items to match their tastes and budgets,” said Douglas Deihl, Director of American Indian & Ethnographic Art at Skinner.… Read More

Outstanding Offering of Bordeaux Leads Fine Wines Auction at Skinner

Remy Martin Louis XIII Black Pearl (Lot 279, Estimate $20,000-$24,000)
March Sale also Features Excellent Variety of Spirits and Ales

BOSTON, MA – February 24, 2015 –Skinner presents a curated selection of more than 300 lots of fine wines, spirits and ales during a live auction on March 3 and an online-only auction taking place March 2 through March 11. Marie Keep, Director of Fine Wines at Skinner noted, “Collectors and enthusiasts will find a dynamic medley of wines to savor now or later, at a range of price points.… Read More

March 3 | First Tuesdays in Marlborough

Robin S.R. Starr, Vice President Director of American & European Works of Art
First Tuesdays is Expanding

Tuesday, March 3rd 1:30PM – 4PM

Skinner Marlborough Gallery 274 Cedar Hill Street Marlborough, MA 01752

Meet expert appraisers in fine photographs, paintings, jewelry, decorative arts and silver.

Michelle Lamuniere, Fine Photographs Specialist, Gloria Lieberman, Vice President of Fine Jewelry, Stephanie Opolski, European Furniture, Decorative Arts & Fine Silver Specialist and Robin Starr, Vice President & Director of American & European Works of Art will provide complimentary verbal auction evaluations.… Read More

Americana Gallery Walk | February 27

The Phillips Family Needlework Picture, Sarah Phillips (b. Rowley, Massachusetts, 1656), Boston, Massachusetts, c. 1670 (Lot 30, Estimate $800,000-$1,200,000)
Friday, February 27, 2015

Join us for a tour of auction highlights


Reception: 5:30PM Gallery Walk: 6PM

All are welcome to attend a free event at the Skinner Boston Gallery. Stephen Fletcher, Director of American Furniture & Decorative Arts, Deputy Director, Chris Barber and Associate Deputy Director Christopher Fox, will present highlights from the Americana auction being held on Sunday, March 1st.

This event is free and open to the public.… Read More

The Fascinating World of Presidential Art and Objects

American School, Late 18th Century, After Charles Willson Peale (1741-1827) Portrait Miniature of George Washington as Colonel of the First Virginia Regiment (Lot 4, Estimate $4,000-$6,000)

On Presidents’ Day we remember the accomplishments of the leaders who have shaped the United States. While each President has left an indelible mark on American society, the holiday as implemented by Congress in 1879 was known originally as Washington’s Birthday and was intended to honor the country’s first President.

Few Presidents have inspired more art and commemorative memorabilia than George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, and objects that can be directly linked to either man are highly prized. … Read More

Important and Historic Americana to be Offered at Skinner

Small Paint-decorated Poplar Dome-top Box, attributed to the "Compasswork Decorator," Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, 1800-40 (Lot 100, Estimate $4,000-$6,000)

BOSTON, MA – February 11, 2015 – Skinner, Inc. presents a strong selection of American folk art and furniture during its March 1 auction of American Furniture & Decorative Arts. The sale will feature rare needleworks, paintings, folk art, furniture displaying the cabinet makers’ art spanning the 1730s to the 1830s, and much more.

“We’re pleased to offer a broad selection of important material in this auction that will appeal to a wide range of tastes and collectors,” said Stephen Fletcher, Executive Vice President and Director, American Furniture & Decorative Arts.… Read More

Skinner to Host Asian Art Auctions in February

Silk Embroidery of Xi Wangmu, China (Lot 294, Estimate $200-$400)


MARLBOROUGH, Mass. – February 6, 2015 – Skinner, Inc. will host an Asian Art – Online auction of over 500 objects from China, Japan, Korea, and Southeast Asia beginning on February 17 and running through February 27, 2015. On February 26, Skinner will offer over 400 additional lots in a live auction at our Marlborough Gallery. The auctions feature a diverse group of decorative items ranging from Chinese ceramics and porcelain to cloisonné, paintings, and furniture.… Read More

February 3 | First Tuesdays in Marlborough

Stuart Slavid, Senior Vice President, European Furniture & Decorative Arts
Discover the value of your fine and decorative arts

Tuesday, February 3rd 1:30PM – 4PM

Skinner Marlborough Gallery 274 Cedar Hill Street Marlborough, MA 01752

Meet expert appraisers in fine art and decorative arts.

Appraisers specializing in  ceramics, glass, silver, marble & bronze statuary, clocks, lighting, rugs, textiles,antique furniture, fine paintings, prints, works on paper, photography and sculpture will provide complimentary verbal auction evaluations.… Read More

Skinner to Offer The Barron Collection of Glass During Online-Only Auction this February

Mt. Washington Crown Milano Ewer with Fish (Estimate $1,500-$2,500)

BOSTON, Mass– January 29, 2015 –Skinner, Inc. presents a rare opportunity to own a piece of The Carl and Ruth Barron Collection of American & European Glass, during an online-only auction taking place February 10th through February 18th. Featuring over 200 lots of American and European glass in a variety of styles by important manufacturers such as Gundersen-Pairpoint Glassworks and the Mt. Washington Glass Company, this auction is sure to please glass and design collectors and enthusiasts.… Read More

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