Skinner Inc.

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Category Archives: Blog

Perfect pitch: Skinner’s Fine Musical Instruments Auctions hit the high notes, from classic violins to groovy guitars.

Skinner Inc.’s Department of Fine Musical Instruments will offer two auctions this month. Parts of the J. Geils collection, from the estate of the Grammy-nominated rock musician, will be included in both.

Auction 3051B, Fine Musical Instruments, will be held in the Boston gallery, 63 Park Plaza, at 12 PM on Sunday, November 19. It will feature classical and vintage instruments and related music material. Included will be highlights from the estate of J.… Read More

NASA Photographs and the Meaning of Vintage

The first photograph from space taken by man: the Sun illuminating the Earth, Mercury-Atlas 6, 20 February 1962 (Estimate $800-1,200)

The Beauty of Space is the first auction in the United States to focus solely on vintage photographs produced from 1961 to 1972 by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The 446 lot single-owner collection showcases both iconic and rare gelatin silver and chromogenic prints presenting an extraordinary and comprehensive photographic journey to the Moon and back as seen through the eyes of the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo astronauts.… Read More

Collector Spotlight: The Joel and Sharon Schwartz Collection

Pair of Marbled Polychrome Pottery Jardinieres, France, 20th century (Lot 1804, Estimate $50-100)

Joel and Sharon Schwartz began collecting together just prior to their marriage. Having purchased a Georgian brick home in Newton, MA, they felt the need to fill it with wonderful objects that were both fun and consistent with the character of the house. A wicker cart with “more panache than utility” as Joel puts it, was their very first purchase.… Read More

Aubusson Tapestries: Weaving a Story at Skinner’s October European Furniture & Decorative Arts Auction

Aubusson Tapestry of The Fisherman’s Surprise (Lot 663, Estimate $3,000-4,000)

There was a time when courtly life unfolded ceremoniously in rooms adorned with vibrant, grand and lavish tapestries, displayed as large woven murals often depicting scenes conjured from dramatic paintings, particularly mythological and battle scenes. Such tapestries served both as a function to help insulate a room, but most importantly, provided a very powerful political statement of the noble classes.… Read More

Martha’s Vineyard Memories

Thomas Hart Benton (American, 1889-1975) Menemsha Pond (Lot 306, Estimate $12,000-18,000)

Two works in Skinner’s September 27 Fine Paintings & Sculpture auction will surely please lovers of Martha’s Vineyard: a view of Menemsha Pond by Thomas Hart Benton (Lot 306) and Dinghies at a Shallow Mooring by Loïs Mailou Jones (Lot 321). Both artists had enduring ties with the island and were influenced by the island’s landscape and culture, even though their reputations were largely built elsewhere.… Read More

Ancient Treasures for a Modern World

Roman Gold Bracelet, c. 2nd century AD (Lot 23, Estimate $5,000-7,000)

It’s pretty unusual to see a piece of ancient jewelry come up in one of our Fine Jewelry auctions, so when we do it’s always exciting.  Lot 23 in our September 19 auction is a 2nd-century Roman bracelet, and I love everything about it. It’s almost 2,000 years old and is still so wearable and stylish today. Dare I even say that it is reminiscent of Alexander Calder’s jewelry? … Read More

The Duality of Robert Mapplethorpe

Robert Mapplethorpe (American, 1946-1989) Flowers, 1984 (Lot 128, Estimate $15,000-25,000)

Among the highlights in Skinner’s September 27 Fine Prints & Photographs auction are three flower studies by Robert Mapplethorpe whose extensive and provocative body of work has established him as one of the most important artists of the 20th-century. Mapplethorpe was born in 1946 in Floral Park, Queens. He studied drawing, painting, and sculpture at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn and began using a Polaroid camera in 1970 to produce photographs that could be incorporated into mixed-media collages and assemblage constructions including magazine imagery and found objects.… Read More

The Last Currency of The Republic of Texas

Prior to its annexation as the 28th state by the United States, The Republic of Texas was its own sovereign nation. Having fought for and gaining their independence from Mexico by 1836, the young republic found itself with significant financial/economic and political issues, leading to their eventual annexation in 1845. These nine tumultuous years in-between originated some of Texas’s rarest and most sought after currency.

The Panic of 1837 halted commerce to a standstill, sending Texas’s land prices and the value of its paper currency on a downward spiral.… Read More

The Tom and Adelle Hersh Collection of Mennonite Quilts of Waterloo County, Ontario

Mennonite ‘Steeplechase’ Quilt, St. Jacob’s, Waterloo Counter, Ontario, c. 1910 (Lot 544, Estimate $400-600)

Skinner is pleased to offer selections from the Tom and Adelle Hersh Collection of Mennonite Quilts from Waterloo County, Ontario. It is a collection that Canadian quilt historian, Carol Telfer, describes as “an important piece of western Ontario textile history.”  Most of the collection was assembled in the 1980’s, an era when many families were moving from the country to the city.… Read More

Exceptional Carrara Marble Stations of the Cross Plaques

[DETAIL] Set of Fourteen Carrara Marble Stations of the Cross Plaques, probably Joseph Sibbel Studios (Lot 589, Estimate $20,000-40,000)

At over four feet in height each, the Fourteen Carrara Marble Stations of the Cross Plaques (Lot 589) to be auctioned in Skinner’s European Furniture & Decorative Arts Auction on July 14th, make a commanding statement as an ensemble. Heavily carved, the marbles are realistically modeled in high relief, depicting the series of events on the day of Jesus Christ’s crucifixion, each inscribed with station number to the projecting base.… Read More

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