Author Archives: Karen Keane

Selling Silver: Before You Sell Your Family’s Antique Silver for Scrap, Consider Consignment

A woman came into Skinner with a collection of family silver that she no longer wanted. She’d already been to a smelter, who offered her $800 to melt the silver down for scrap. It was tempting to take the money, but she felt bad about the decision and decided to come to Skinner auction house first to sell silver. Clearly, she was uncomfortable with the idea of scrapping something with family history and artistic value.

With its plain form and prominent monogram, this small Tiffany & Co.

Read More

Welcome to Coral Gables! Our Grand Opening Party

Known as “The City Beautiful,” Coral Gables “stands out as a rare pearl in South Florida.” Founded in 1899 by George Merrick, a Massachusetts native, Coral Gables exhibits the design aesthetics of enlightened urban planning from the turn of the last century.  Wide, palm-lined avenues, beautiful public green spaces, and monumental buildings combine with the Mediterranean Revival style inspired by cities like Seville and Cartagena. The result is a simply beautiful setting in the sun, urban and urbane, with a grand, yet human, sense of scale.… Read More

A Celebration of Russian Culture

This autumn season is turning out to be about all things Russian. In September, Skinner auctioned The Robert Bunting Dance Collection, which included period artifacts from the golden age of the Ballet Russes. A costume design by Léon Bakst for the marchioness in The Sleeping Beauty sold for $66,000 and Pavel Tchelitchew’s Group of Dancers in a Scene from L’Errante brought $26,400.

As Russian culture was being celebrated at Skinner, I was honored when Kent dur Russell, director of the Museum of Russian Icons in Clinton, invited me to attend the Salomé Ball in Boston on November 16, 2013.… Read More

Looking Back on Four Centuries of Antique Furniture from Massachusetts

As a student of American furniture, I was taught early on about the distinct regional styles that developed during our country’s history. Objects made in Boston, Philadelphia, and New York each spoke from their own individual locales. Having lived in Massachusetts for my entire adult life and raised a family here, the unique material culture of this region appeals to me personally. The grace, femininity, and economy of movement in Massachusetts furniture evoke traditional Yankee thrift as well as the modern notion that less is more.… Read More

African-American Art at Peabody Essex Museum and at Auction

At a recent opening at the Peabody Essex Museum for the exhibit, In Conversation: Modern African American Art, I was struck by the fact that many of the artists’ works were familiar: Skinner has brought many works by these artists to auction.

The collection of 100 paintings, photographs, and sculptures by 43 different artists comes from the Smithsonian American Art Museum. The exhibit, which will remain on view through September 2, 2013, tells the story of a period of immense social change that many of us remember vividly.… Read More

A Time for Remembrance and Healing

Downtown Boston is our home, and the events of the past week touched us deeply. The Skinner Boston gallery is just a block away from the Boston Marathon finish line, and the Skinner Marlborough gallery is ten miles away from Hopkinton, where the race begins. Much like the Marathon, Skinner is a place where we welcome both native Bostonians and visitors from virtually every corner of the world to participate in auctions in heart of downtown Boston.… Read More

Is Folk Art Different from Any Other Art?
Fine Art Auction Highlights | Folk Art Portrait

When you look at modern and contemporary art, it’s clear that there is a thin line separating the questions, “what is Art?” and “what is Folk Art?” Many academically trained artists have looked to folk art for inspiration.

Hats: Fashion with a Creative Flair at Peabody Essex Museum

Have you ever heard the old saying: “in Boston, we don’t buy our hats, we have them”?

The hundreds of people who attended the reception of a new exhibit at the Peabody Essex Museum certainly had hats in abundance. They came decked out to celebrate the opening of “Hats: An Anothology by Stephen Jones,” a show from the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

Stephen Jones was on hand to lend his creative flair to three audience members as he suggested hats which best suited their style.… Read More

Make it Beautiful and Make it Good, Part III

Aesthetics matter. Beauty drives demand and demand drives value. Value drives business, and business drives a brand-new pickup truck full of German power tools.

In addition to making something beautiful, you must also “make it good”. You have learned practical techniques. You will now have the opportunity to put your technique into practice in the real world.

Famous names like Wallace Nutting and George Nakashima are famous for a reason. In order for objects to hold their value over time, they have to still exist, and be in relatively good, original condition. They’re still here because they exhibit superior craftsmanship.

1 2 3