Category Archives: Blog

Summer is for Entertaining!

Phillip Thomas, Bonhams Skinner’s Designer in Residence, and Founder of Phillip Thomas Inc., speaks on summer entertaining with pieces from our upcoming European Décor and Design online auction.

“Summer is for entertaining!

I love any reason to throw a get together whether it is cozy fall cocktails, a festive holiday dinner in the winter, or a spring brunch when everyone is relieved to see the earth waking up and the flowers burst open to bring us color again but SUMMER, summer is my favorite!… Read More

Pueblo Storytellers in Historical Figurative Pottery

Helen Cordero, born in 1915 at Cochiti Pueblo, New Mexico, is credited with the reinvention of the Cochiti figurative pottery tradition that started a revolution in contemporary Pueblo ceramics. Pueblo people in the Southwest have been making clay figures since ancestral times, but these forms were not widely practiced throughout the sixteenth to nineteenth centuries. But in the late 1950s, Cordero began making pottery figures modeled after long-established figurine forms of the Singing Mother, or a seated female figure holding a child.… Read More

Niho Palaoa and Pre-Contact Hawai’ian Arts
David Howard Hitchcock (American, 1861-1943), Big Island of Hawaii.Sold for $30,750

Whaling was extremely important to the development of many countries in the early nineteenth century because of the fat that lit lamps and greased machines, leading to the Industrial Revolution. Prior to the arrival of whaling crews in 1820, Hawai’i had a much different relationship with the whale. When overfishing became an issue in the Atlantic, many whalers turned to the Pacific and started docking in Hawai’i.… Read More

Art in Your Home

Phillip Thomas, Bonhams Skinner’s Designer in Residence, and Founder of Phillip Thomas Inc., speaks on art in your home with pieces from our June 29, 2022 Modern & Contemporary Art auction.

“There is nothing that brings a space ALIVE like a fabulous piece of art whether that be a painting, sculpture, or even a collection. You can have the most beautiful architecture or furniture but until you layer in meaningful pieces, items that are special to you, it is not complete.… Read More

June Auctions Feature Impressive Lots from Old Masters to Pop Art

MARLBOROUGH, MA — Bonhams Skinner will host a live auction of Modern & Contemporary Art on June 29, 2022, starting at 10 a.m. in the Marlborough gallery. The sale will include paintings, sculpture and works of art on paper from the 20th and 21st centuries. Highlights include incredible works from Yayoi Kusama, Robert Rauschenberg, Tom Wesselmann and more. Coinciding with the Modern and Contemporary Auction will be a timed online auction of European Fine Art running from June 20-30, 2022, featuring around 50 paintings and drawings from the Old Masters to the 20th century.… Read More

The Resurgence of Relief Printing in Early 20th Century America: Woodcuts

Relief prints use the raised relief of a printing matrix, such as a block of wood, to carry the ink to make prints.  A rubber stamp is essentially a relief print.  If you made prints as a kindergartener by carving a potato with a plastic knife, you have made a relief print.  Woodcut is the oldest printmaking technique and was popular in both Asia and in Europe.  It predates the year 1,000 AD. 

In Western art, as early as the 16th century printmakers like Albrecht Dürer saw the short comings of the technique, compared to the slightly newer technique of engraving and intaglio printing.… Read More

What’s New – Again

Sustainability. Renewable resources. Environmental consciousness. Recycling. These words and phrases are essential guidelines for a healthy future. It’s not just unfashionable to use things for a short while and then send them to the landfill. It’s plain self-destructive.

Until mass production evolved in the late 19th century, making possible a huge variety of inexpensive goods, almost everyone lived by the old adage “Use it up; wear it out; make it do, or do without.” The concept of disposability, the idea of one-time-use-only—these are very recent developments, and largely limited even today to well-off people in first-world countries.… Read More

Salute to Yonkers

“My dad said we’re going to Yonkers.”

“Big deal. What are Yonkers, anyway?”

This puerile exchange has been circulating for years. It’s time to give a bad joke a good answer.

Yonkers—named for Adrian Van der Donck, an early Dutch settler and a “jonkeer” (Dutch for young gentleman) — is the fourth largest city in New York state. It has a rich and interesting history, from its 17th century beginnings as an agricultural frontier settlement of the Dutch colony of Nieuw Amsterdam, later known as New York, to its 21st century renaissance as a diverse and gentrifying near-in suburb of Manhattan.… Read More

Going, Going, Gone

The time comes for all of us to think about the future of a lifetime’s accumulation of possessions. Hopefully the senior members of your family have made (and written down) their decisions about important heirloom items to be passed on to specific individuals: great-grandfather’s gold watch, the wedding present Tiffany lamp, and so on.

There may also be items of value and interest, and even sizable specialized collections, that relatives can’t integrate into their own homes.… Read More

Recent Auction Finds in Maine

Stanford University professors Paul Milgrom and Robert Wilson, winners of the Nobel Prize in economics (2020), were recognized “for improvements to auction theory and inventions of new auction formats.” “Auctions are everywhere and affect our everyday lives,” the prize committee said in a statement. Milgrom and Wilson’s work “benefit[s] sellers, buyers and taxpayers around the world.”

Auctions have been around for almost 2,500 years, and if you haven’t participated in one, now may be the time.… Read More

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