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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.

Harry Jackson Sculpture and Abstract Expressionism

Who would have thought that a budding Abstract Expressionist in the 1940s would become one of the most famous sculptors of the American West just a decade later?  That is the story of Harry Jackson, whose bronzes are beloved by collectors and enthusiasts of Western art.

Harry Jackson (American, 1924-2011)
Stampede (Lot 278, Estimate: $80,000 – $120,000)

As a young man, Harry Jackson served as a combat artist in the Marine Corps during World War II. He returned from the war seeking an outlet through his art for the intense experiences he had undergone, finding in color a way to express emotional content. When he encountered She Wolf, a 1943 painting by Jackson Pollock, the power of abstraction to express force and tension greatly moved him.  As young painter opening a New York Studio in 1946, Harry Jackson found inspiration in works by Pollock, Robert Motherwell, and the Mexican muralist José Clemente Orozco. He had the opportunity to meet Jackson Pollock, and the two became friends.  Harry Jackson admired the power of Pollock’s paintings, likening the violent motion in his 1943 mural done for Peggy Guggenheim to a rush of stampeding cattle.

Harry Jackson (American, 1924-2011) Washakie II (Lot 294, Estimate: $3,000-5,000)

Fast forward to 1957 and we find Harry Jackson at work on a commission of just that, a cattle stampede.  Jackson had received a commission for two mural sized paintings from his friend Robert Coe, one of a stampede and a related work of a cowboy burial on the range. Jackson by this time had moved from abstraction back to figurative work, realizing his deeper desire to show volumes in space. Yet he still drew upon the strengths he saw in contemporary art, what he described as “the compositional force of Franz Kline, the romantic atmospheres of Rothko, the pungent elegance of De Kooning, the passion of Pollock.”  As he worked on the pair of complex paintings for Coe, he began to sculpt many of the figures in order to understand them better in three dimensions.  His goal was to portray each figure as a separate character, physically and emotionally distinct, contributing to the painting. His fascination with sculptural form led to the Coe commission being expanded to two paintings and two large bronzes on the same subjects.  Jackson was working in Italy at the time, using a foundry in Pietrasanta, and in 1964 he established is own foundry to accommodate his growing endeavors, the Wyoming Foundry Studios. 

Harry Jackson (American, 1924-2011) Two Champs II (Lot 285, Estimate: $15,000-25,000)

By 1960 Jackson knew that sculpture had taken an equal place in his heart alongside painting, and he felt that the two were somehow destined to complement and aid each other in the future. Jackson’s inkling of the combination of sculpture and painting was soon to bear fruit.  By 1963, color had emerged, at first conservatively, as an important aspect of his sculpture beginning with Cowboy’s Meditation.  His dream became to make polychrome bronzes that were, in essence, three-dimensional paintings.  Jackson sometimes found the bronze too formal and sought the realism that color brought to the pieces. His bronze editions began to be released with a traditional patina and also in painted versions. Jackson described the combination as a way to let painting “bust out of its own space” and sculpture to merge with the larger realm of space and color.  He wanted his sculpture to take its natural place in the vivid, color-filled world we all inhabit.


View Works by Harry Jackson


The quotes in this blog are drawn from the book Harry Jackson by Larry Pointer and Conald Goddard, with commentaries by Harry Jackson (New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1981).

Highlights from American & European Works of Art at Skinner on January 25th

BOSTON, MA – January 14, 2019 – On Friday, January 25, Skinner presents an outstanding two-session auction of Prints, Multiples & Photographs and Paintings & Sculpture with over 350 lots spanning Old Masters through contemporary offerings. 

Harry Jackson (American, 1924-2011) Stampede (Lot 278, Estimate: $80,000 – $120,000)

Paintings & Sculpture

An exceptional selection of bronze sculptures is spearheaded by an important group of western bronzes by Harry Jackson, including early works Stampede (Lot 278, Estimate: $80,000-120,000) and Range Burial (Lot 279, Estimate: $50,000-70,000) among others from the collection of Joseph Thomas Alvarez III.… Read More

5 Questions with Modern & Contemporary Art Specialist Kate Leland

Skinner’s specialist in Modern & Contemporary Art, Kate Leland, helps to produce three major auctions annually, appraising and cataloging paintings, sculpture, and works on paper for a wide variety of Skinner clients. Kate joined Skinner in 2016 after serving in curatorial and administrative roles at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach, Florida, and the Museum of Modern Art in New York.… Read More

European Decorative Arts the Focus of Skinner January 12th Auction

BOSTON, MA – Skinner, Inc. will hold an auction on January 12, 2019, of European Furniture & Decorative Arts. With over 500 lots on offer, the auction features fine ceramics and silver as well as European furniture and decorative arts of the 18th through 20th centuries.

Collection of Hungarian Silver from the Estate of Francis M. Bator (Lot 32, Estimate: $3,000-5,000; Lot 34, Estimate: $2,000-3,000; Lot 27, Estimate: $2,000-3,000; Lot 28, Estimate: $2,000-3,000; Lot 26, Estimate: $2,000-3,000)

This sale features a collection of 17th to 19th century Hungarian Silver from the estate of prominent White House economist, writer, and professor Francis M.… Read More

Looking at Sculpture: A Hands-on Evening with Conservator Rika Smith

Harry Jackson (American, 1924-2011)Stampede (Lot 278, Estimate: $80,000-120,000)

January 24, 2019 | Reception 5:30PM, Gallery Walk 6PM

Boston Gallery | 63 Park Plaza, Boston, MA 02116

Rika Smith, art conservation expert in cast bronze sculpture, will join us for an evening of conversation about all things bronze.

Using artworks presented for the Fine Arts & Painting auction on January 25, 2019 by Isidore Bonheur, Harry Jackson, and Mimmo Paladino, we will examine the sculptures to identify casting methods, finishing techniques, and types of patination.… Read More

Gorham Silver: Designing Brilliance 1850-1970


Gorham Sterling Silver and Mixed Metal Bowl, Providence, last quarter 19th century.

Friday, January 11 | Reception: 5:30PM, Talk: 6:00PM 

Boston Gallery  |  63 Park Plaza, Boston 02116 

Elizabeth A. Williams, the David and Peggy Rockefeller Curator of Decorative Arts and Design, will speak about Gorham silver and the upcoming RISD Museum exhibition, Designing Innovation: The Gorham Manufacturing Company, American Silver 1850-1970, opening May 2019. This talk is held in conjunction with the January 12 European Furniture & Decorative Arts auction, featuring Gorham silver.

Read More

Rare Annie E. Aldrich and Sarah Tutt Marblehead Pottery Vase

Rare Annie E. Aldrich and Sarah Tutt Marblehead Pottery Vase, Marblehead, Massachusetts, c. 1909, sold for $303,000 on December 14, 2018.

Dr. Herbert Hall started the Marblehead Pottery in 1904, as therapy for patients at his Devereux Sanitarium. His therapeutic workshop evolved into a business, and in 1915, Arthur Baggs took over the production operation and continued to produce the pottery until 1936. 

In 1909, this vase was designed by Annie E.… Read More

Jared Bowen’s Top Picks from the Gentleman’s Auction

This edition of The Gentleman’s Auction features a generous contribution from WGBH’s Executive Arts Editor Jared Bowen. Jared adds a personal touch to the auction by curating a section of objects related to his “likes.” Here are his top picks: 

World War I ‘Public Warning’ Poster

Public Warning poster

History is fascinating to me, but never more so than when you have access to tangible materials like this sobering Public Warning poster from World War II.… Read More

Skinner Rings in the Holidays with Jewelry Auctions Exceeding $2.6M

BOSTON, MA – December 10, 2018 – December Important and Fine Jewelry auctions were led by exceptional colored stones, large diamonds, and a strong collection of antique and period jewelry featuring the Edith Weber Jewelry collection.

The top lots in the auction were a rare Colombian emerald with no treatment that brought an impressive price of $177,000, a remarkable $38,000 per carat. Closely following was an Art Deco Burma Ruby Ring that reached $159,000 after spirited bidding between buyers worldwide.… Read More

The Gentleman’s Auction with WGBH’s Jared Bowen

Jared Bowen, Executive Arts Editor at WGBH

Throughout the past year, the team that runs The Gentleman’s Auction here at Skinner has invited collaboration with local Gentlemen of note. This time around, in a sale timed to coincide with the holidays, we are pleased to welcome Jared Bowen into the fold. Jared is Executive Arts Editor at WGBH and is the Emmy award-winning host of Open Studio with Jared Bowen, a weekly program covering all aspects of the arts.… Read More

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