Author Archives: Robin Starr

Video Blog: An Explanation of our Glossary of Terms

Understand the terms used throughout catalog descriptions for Fine Art at Skinner. Robin S.R. Starr, Vice President and Director of American & European Works of Art, explains and illustrates how, where, and why these terms are used at Skinner in the accompanying video.

Glossary of Terminology:

Attributed toThe work may be by the artist’s hand, but leaves some question or doubt as to actual authorship.

School ofA work of an unknown follower executed in the style of the artist and contemporary in period.… Read More

The Color of Wolf Kahn

The art of Wolf Kahn is challenging to categorize. His loose, gestural brushstrokes take their cue from the Abstract Expressionists. Kahn studied and worked with Hans Hofmann in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Likewise, his palette is intense and expressive. Unlike some of his contemporaries, Kahn’s subject matter is very much representational. He is best remembered for his energetically colored landscapes.

Hans Hofmann (American, 1880-1966) Image in Blue, oil on canvas, 30 x 24 in.

Read More

Early States & Trial Proofs: A Window into the Mind of the Artist

Every artist works differently and is inspired by different things, but print-making gives us the unique opportunity to view the creative process at work. When an artist makes a print, they create the matrix from which prints can be pulled. This might be a copper plate that has been etched or a lithographic stone that the artist has drawn on with crayon, but the process has an inherent flaw. The finished artwork is an impression from that matrix rather than the matrix itself, so the artist needs to pull an impression in order to know how their art actually looks.… Read More

How to Recognize a Photo-reproduction

Are you looking at a work of art, but can’t decide whether you’re looking at an original painting or a reproduction? Don’t panic. To bust the vast majority of repros all you need to do is look closely.

Ask yourself if there a reason the work looks suspicious? Maybe the colors look a little off, like an old Kodachrome slide or that faded poster that used to hang in your dorm room? Maybe the texture of the surface seems wrong; it looks like the paint is applied with heavy impasto (meaning thick, loose, brushstrokes) but the surface is flat as a pancake?… Read More

Varieties in the Printmaking of Joan Miró

Joan Miró is best known as a painter of Surrealistic figures that dance across flat surfaces like alien cartoon creatures searching for a party. Wise collectors know that he was also a skilled and prolific printmaker, working in lithography and intaglio techniques for much of his career. He began experimenting with printmaking in the 1920s, but it wasn’t until later in life that he pursued it vigorously.

Like many artists, Miró had particular themes and subjects which reoccurred throughout his career.… Read More

Modern American Life: The Lithographs of George Bellows

One of the youngest of the Ashcan School artists, George Wesley Bellows began making prints in 1916. Like his paintings, his lithographs incorporated a wide breadth of subject matter, depicted in realistic, often gritty, detail that signified American city life in the early 20th century in all of its vast varieties. Skinner is lucky enough to have eight works in the January 2018 Fine Prints & Multiples auction, spanning his career and interests.… Read More

A Master of Many Mediums: Pablo Picasso’s Work in Ceramics

Pablo Picasso was a dynamic, creative force. He was intrigued by and experimented with countless media throughout the course of his long and illustrious career. Picasso’s Cubist oil paintings – some incorporating collage – of the 1910s changed the world of Western Art forever.  He worked in crayon, pencil, and pastel and was a prolific printmaker as well. He created sculptural works from a broad range of materials including bronze, glass, and wood.… Read More

Who Can Come to an Auction?

I get asked this question more than any other.  The short answer:  Everyone.

A single word isn’t much of a blog post, so let me give you the longer version. Skinner auctions are public auctions.  Absolutely anybody who loves art or antiques is welcome to attend. The previews are a time for potential bidders to come into the gallery and view lots first-hand; to examine the condition of a Wayne Thiebaud woodcut, or the construction of a card table or to feel the heft of a piece of Wedgwood.… Read More

Reflections on Photorealism

Photorealism arose in the 1960’s in part as a counterpoint to the Abstract Expressionist movement. The rejection of all representation by Abstract Expressionist artists of the 1940’s was meant to allow the viewer to focus purely on emotion and expression without the need for a deep cultural knowledge. It was intended to remove elitism from art. Ironically, the very lack of subject matter, rather than being democratizing, confounded many viewers.… Read More

From Obscure to Iconic: The Flowers of Andy Warhol

This article is featured in the Journal of the Print World, January 2016 issue.

“Andy Warhol is best known for his iconic subject matter: Marilyn Monroe, Jackie Kennedy, and Elvis Presley. His paintings marry these motifs with screenprinting to express the commercial nature of his work; its manufacture over its customized production. His printed work encapsulates this same idea, and further heightens a sense of mass-production.… Read More

1 2 3 4