Skinner’s specialist in Modern & Contemporary Art, Kate Leland, helps to produce three major auctions annually, appraising and cataloging paintings, sculpture, and works on paper for a wide variety of Skinner clients. Kate joined Skinner in 2016 after serving in curatorial and administrative roles at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach, Florida, and the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
If you could attend any museum exhibit in 2019. What would it be?
The one show I am desperate to see actually opened in 2018 at Columbia University’s Wallach Art Gallery—Posing Modernity: The Black Model from Manet and Matisse to Today. If I don’t make it to New York before it closes there in February, I hope I can see it at its next venue, the Musée d’Orsay, sometime this spring!
What is something you wish prospective bidders would ask more often?
Our bidders, whether seasoned buyers at auction or new collectors, tend to ask all the right things – details about condition and provenance, as well as more general questions about the auction process. My favorite questions to answer require me to get right in front of an artwork and describe things like color, brushstroke, and very specific nuances of condition. Sometimes those questions come from very thoughtful collectors, other times from experienced and knowledgeable dealers.
What book(s) are you reading?
I just started Bough Down by Karen Green, a beautifully composed hybrid of poetry and visual art. I have a long commute to Marlborough, so I whip through audiobooks and podcasts – I recently finished The Power by Naomi Alderman, and I’m now engrossed in the podcast Last Seen in which WBUR and Boston Globe reporters re-examine in detail the Gardner Museum heist and why it hasn’t been solved.
You’re new to auctions. How did you get your start?
I actually did a stint in the Palm Beach office of a New York auction house early in my career, before moving to Boston. My job there involved working with consignors of a wide variety of material; however, fine art and jewelry were my favorites! Much of my job experience has been in the museum world, working on exhibitions at MoMA and the MFA.