Category Archives: Blog

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

First Tuesday | April 5 | Marlborough & Online

Join Us in Marlborough or online for First Tuesday!

TUESDAY, APRIL 5 | 1:30-4PM

We invite you to join us in person in Marlborough or online for our First Tuesday on April 5. For a virtual appraisal, submit your items anytime by the 5th and Skinner specialists from all departments will be on hand on Tuesday to evaluate items and respond by email.

For those attending in person in Marlborough, please SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT. There is a 3 item maximum per person.… Read More

Walker Evans: Insights into Photojournalism
Author’s Note: The term “Negro” was used historically to describe people of Black (sub-Saharan) African heritage, but it’s offensive use is unacceptable in contemporary practice. The term is repeated here in the context of historical exhibition and publication titles that are under discussion.

Walker Evans (1903-1975), an American photographer and photojournalist, arguably had the greatest influence on the evolution of photography in the 20th century.… Read More

The Poetic Charm of Korean Blue and White Porcelain

Korea began to decorate its white porcelain in blue by the early 15th century; a century later than China and two centuries earlier than Japan. During that early Joseon period, Korea had about four hundred kilns in operation to produce quality white porcelain, which the Chinese court often requested as diplomatic tribute and trade. With the infrastructure and quality, the Joseon dynasty could have emerged as one of the world’s two pioneering blue and white porcelain manufacturers along with China.… Read More

No Place Like Home

The pandemic lockdown has taught us how important home is to our sense of well-being, our comfort, and our whole outlook on life. Now is the ideal time for re-decorating, re-purposing, re-modeling, and building anew. With these changes comes the need for different furniture. But where to begin? There are so many possibilities, so many choices.

A great place to start is with fine American furniture, with its four-hundred year tradition of excellence.… Read More

Early Processes
Sixth Plate Daguerreotype of a Sailor Holding a Daguerreotype of His Wife.Sold for $2,726

Daguerreotypes, ambrotypes, and tintypes were some of the earliest photographic processes to gain widespread popularity. Beginning in the mid-19th century, each successive technique improved upon the others in terms of availability, affordability, and processing speed. Photography as we know it today is a reproductive medium, however each of these processes produced single, unique objects.  

Experimenting in close collaboration with Nicéphore Niépce, the first to create a permanent photographic image, Louis Daguerre worked to perfect a commercially viable photographic process.… Read More

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