Why does beauty matter? We enjoy surrounding ourselves with objects of beauty. At the most banal level, people will pay good money to feel the way beautiful things make them feel. In your future jobs as artists, designers, business owners, and craftspeople, you will need to cultivate a sense of beauty in order to succeed.
Author Archives: Karen Keane
I was truly honored to be asked to speak at the North Bennet Street School Commencement on June 1, 2012. As I thought through what I might speak about, I concluded I actually have a lot in common with the graduates from this school that educates men and women in traditional trades and craftsmanship. These graduates are makers of objects today that appraisers like me will evaluate in the future.
Here are the words I shared with the graduates.
Vanilla. Its essence is delightful in a holiday cookie, but not so much in a holiday gift. We’ve all given them; we’ve all gotten them: gifts that are so unremarkable, so unmemorable, so “plain vanilla”, that they leave both the giver and the receiver feeling rather “Ho-Ho-Hum.”
The truth is, we all want to give and receive unique, thoughtful, and personal holiday gifts. But this seemingly simple task becomes daunting when all that is offered in stores and online is a homogenous array of “stuff.” Not only is it boring and uninspired, much of it is ill-designed, poorly-made, mass-marketed, and overpriced. So what’s a well-meaning gift-giver to do?
This odd riff on a teacup caught my eye while on a house call. It was engaging, distorted; a contemporary artist’s take on a boring, mid-20th century “antique.”
“But look” I pointed out, “It’s chipped!”
A chip is the kiss of death for a piece of porcelain.
The collector was shocked. He told me “It can’t be. I’ve never had it out of the box. Let me do some research.” I took the piece back to Skinner for consignment, figuring that even a chipped work of contemporary art was interesting.… Read More
I’ve been an appraiser for over 30 years. I’ve also been behind the scenes and in front of the camera on Antiques Roadshow, the original and, in my opinion, best antiques reality TV show. Over time, I’ve noticed that many shows perpetuate certain myths about the antiques world. To get the most out of your viewing experience, keep the following truths in mind when tuning in…Truth #1: Antiques Appraisals Happen Every Day
In the world of art, antiques, and auctions, the reality show that started it all was of course, Antiques Roadshow. But in recent years, a slew of reality TV shows have shed light on the business of art, antiques, and auctions. A few worth checking out include Pawn Stars, Storage Wars, American Pickers, Auction Kings, History Detectives, Cracking Antiques, and the genre’s latest entry, It’s Worth What? This last one is NBC’s new primetime game show where contestants compete, guessing the value of rare, quirky and beautiful art, antiques and collectibles. It features Skinner’s own Stuart Whitehurst as the show’s resident appraiser.
Downsizing a home can be an arduous process, both physically and emotionally. Once you’ve sorted through a lifetime of possessions and have decided what to keep, you still face the question of what to do with the material you don’t wish to retain. Whatever your reasons for downsizing: moving to a smaller home, simplifying your lifestyle, or raising some cash, here are three reasons to consider selling at auction.
This blog post completes my series on Consigning at Auction. We’ll cover auction fees, as this is often an area where many people have questions. Auction buyer fees and seller fees are the industry standard. The fees pay for the work the auction house puts in to make sure your property reaches the best possible buying audience.
When should you contact an auction house to arrange to sell your property? You don’t have to wait until an upcoming auction is announced. Auction schedules for most major houses are planned six months to nearly a year in advance, so scheduling your property to sell in an upcoming auction is rarely a problem.
If you’d prefer to bring your item to an auction house’s gallery, don’t just drop by. Call first to make an appointment, to be sure the right specialist will be on hand to view your property. Bring all supporting documentation with you and tell the appraiser all you know about an an object — how long it has been in your family, where it came from, when it was purchased, who owned it, and how it came into your possession.