Daniel Ayer, Director of the 20th Century Design Department at Skinner, began his interest in design as an avid collector of objects from the American Arts and Crafts Movement. Gustav Stickley furniture, New England art pottery including Grueby, Paul Revere/Saturday Evening Girls, Marblehead, Chelsea Keramics and Dedham were among his early specializations. Dan expanded his expertise to 20th century art glass, lighting, metalwork, and as well as furniture and fine arts from the Art Nouveau, Art Deco, Modern, and Studio movements. He is especially interested in the Bauhaus Movement and its influence on mid-century furniture and decorative arts from the post-WWII design stables of American makers such as Herman Miller, Knoll International, and Singer & Son; as well as those of Scandinavian makers Johannes Hansen, France & Son, Andreas Tuck, Illums Bolighus and Frederecia.
In 2016, after a 30-year career in state and federal contracting, Dan set out to make his avocation his vocation. Taking Joseph Campbell’s advice to “follow your bliss,” Dan completed concentrated studies in appraisal services, started his own appraisal services practice, and joined the Skinner team in 20th Century Design. In August 2018, Jane Prentiss assumed new responsibilities at Skinner leaving the management of the December 2018 sale to Dan. Sale results exceeded expectations and set a record for a Marblehead Pottery Arts & Crafts vase which sold for $303,000.
Dan holds a BS in Accounting and an MBA with a concentration in Information Technology from the University of Massachusetts. Dan has completed 135 hours of personal property valuation education through the American Society of Appraisers’ (ASA) at Massachusetts College of Art; has passed the ASA Ethics; Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP); Antiques & Decorative Arts; and General & Residential Contents Specialty exams; and is on track to achieve ASA accreditation in 2019. He is an active member and supporter of Arts & Crafts Collector, Stickley Museum at Craftsman Farms, Cape Cod Modern Home Trust, Friends of Modern Architecture Lincoln and the Historic New England/Walter Gropius House.