Beginning in the 19th century, as the popularity and accessibility of international travel increased substantially, countries began hosting international fairs and exhibitions to drive both commerce and tourism. Luxury goods makers like Tiffany & Co. used these fairs not only as a way to market their pieces to a wide audience, but also showcase their skills in hopes of attracting international press and prestige.… Read More
Author Archives: Stephanie Opolski
Founded in 1858, Louis Vuitton, the then four-year-old Parisian luxury goods maker introduced its first trunk in the gray-toned “Trianon” canvas. To further distinguish themselves against their imitators and competition, the firm subsequently released the striped “Rayée” canvas and checkered “Damier” canvas before finally releasing the iconic “Monogram” canvas in 1892.
In the age of railway and steamship travel, Louis Vuitton trunks were the epitome of luxury and function.… Read More
Skinner is proud to offer a diverse group of silver and decorative objects in our April 7 European Furniture & Decorative Arts auction from the collection of Carol Ferranti, a passionate collector, and our long-time friend and colleague. From her early days as an artist and colorist for fabric companies supplying designs for women’s wear, her keen eye and talents followed her throughout her life and touched everything she did.… Read More
From the monumental Tiffany centerpiece to the towering Polish tureen on stand and striking Russian Kovsh, the January 12 Fine Silver auction features some of the most imposing pieces I have worked with. While I have too many favorites to list, one such piece that caught my eye was the German sleigh-form centerpiece (Lot 206). Though my interest may stem from daydreams of this piece in the center of a holiday table setting, this impressive sleigh highlights some interesting aspects of the Hanau region of silver production as a whole.… Read More
James Horton Whitehouse was one of Tiffany & Co.’s earliest and most well-respected designers, producing many of the firm’s most important pieces during his 44-year career. Born in Staffordshire, England in 1833, Whitehouse was trained in metalworking in Birmingham, England, home of leading silver manufacturer Elkington & Co. Elkington was well-respected not only for the innovative electroplating technique, but for the exception design and quality of both their silver and electro-plated wares.… Read More
In preparation for Season 6 of the HBO hit fantasy drama Game of Thrones, I recently began re-watching some earlier seasons (Who can remember everything otherwise?). Low and behold, I noticed something I never had previously in the first episode of Season 5, “The Wars to Come”. Being the art history nerd that I am, it was not another subtle plot point I missed the first go around, but a gold cup.
Tyrion Lannister, having just arrived in Pentos, is shown drinking from a small gold cup with a distinct handle and repoussé scenes of bulls.… Read More
Before the Indianapolis 500 and the Daytona 500, some of the earliest automobile inventors, owners, and enthusiasts went to race in Ormond Beach, Florida. Races there began in 1902, but by the 1903 and 1904 races, world records were being broken and Ormond Beach was nicknamed the “Birthplace of Speed.” Motorcycle and automobile owners and racers brought vehicles that used gasoline, steam, and electricity from across the United States as well as France, Germany, and England.… Read More
Chess sets depicting actual historical figures and their campaigns have dominated the chess world for centuries, but we have not found anything like the French .800 Silver and Parcel-gilt Chess Set (Lot 60, $8000-12,000), with the mark of the famed Art Nouveau jeweler Guillemin Frères on each piece. In this set, an entire court of players squares off against the other, one with a clear Western aesthetic, the other parcel-gilded and bronzed are in a more “Eastern” attire.… Read More
At the turn of the 19th century, the art of table decoration transformed as dining patterns changed. The once popular dining à la française in which all of the courses were laid out for the guests at the start of the meal began fading out of popularity as a new fashion of eating was ushered in: dining à la russe. Similar to modern restaurant service, food was prepared in the kitchen and brought out to the guests in courses, leaving room on the table for decoration.… Read More
From sturdy grandfather clocks to delicate pocket watches, clocks reflect a vast range of artistic styles and a wealth of artistic achievement. In our upcoming European Furniture & Decorative Arts auction on July 19th, we have the pleasure of offering a unique collection of Viennese table clocks. Produced during the late 19th century, these clocks epitomize the vibrancy of decorative art production at this time. The elaborate details of each clock, from figural finials to hairy lion paw feet, make the viewer imagine that the clocks are quite sizable, when in fact most are less than 8 inches tall.… Read More