Alexander Calder was an artistic “jack of all trades.” He worked in metal, from jewelry to large-scale public works; he made paintings, as a theatrical set designer; and he was also a successful lithographer. What makes Calder so compelling in any medium is his wit and energy.
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An icon of the Art Deco era, Clarice Cliff was a 13-year-old apprentice pottery enameller who grew to become a one-woman tour-de-force in British ceramics. Employed by A.J. Wilkinson and later, Newport Pottery, Cliff seemingly single-handedly brought the industry into the modern age with her bold pottery designs that featured bright colors, free-flow landscapes, abstract and geometric patterns, and oddly modern shapes. These elements made her wares extremely popular during the 1920s and 30s, and collectors still find them appealing now.
It’s not unusual for me to visit a home for the purposes of appraising one item, and then suddenly discover a hidden gem worth far more. This is the stuff that antiques lore is made of and it’s why people tune into television appraisal programs – they too want to witness the moment of sweet discovery.
Both his temperament and his compositions are indicative of Whistler’s passionate and energetic approach to art. These same qualities are visible in his numerous etchings.Whistler was drawn to etching by his brother-in-law, the great British etcher Sir Francis Seymour Haden. Whistler’s skill with an etching needle seems to have come to him instantaneously. Even in his earliest attempts, his use of line is expressive and emotive, and shows a fluidity generally reserved for artists who have had lengthy practice with a medium.
My dad, a Korean War vet, uses the very father-like expression “freedom isn’t free.” It often gets boiled down to a sound bite, but it’s absolutely true. The freedoms we enjoy every day in this country all came with a price—turmoil, sweat, tears, and blood.
On Friday, July 8th, 2011, Skinner will host a lecture by Frans Leidelmeijer, an internationally recognized expert in Dutch decorative arts from 1880 to the early 1900s. Titled “Gouda Pottery & Dutch Decorative Arts,” this lecture will cover a fascinating period in the history of Dutch Decorative Arts.
Throughout the gathering phase of assembling wine for sale at auction, much needs to be accomplished in order to prepare the catalogue. My days are spent shaping consigned collections into desirable lots, taking a multitude of condition reports on individual bottles, documenting dates and places, and annotating catalogue descriptions with critics’ notes. Only as the cataloguing process nears completion can I begin what is perhaps the most creative and fun phase of the auction preparation process: the photography.
I was seeing triple – or at least that was what it seemed like. Three versions of the exact same Rubens portrait hung on the wall. This was quite unusual for the Skinner Paintings department; to have three copies of the same painting at the same time. All three were based on a self-portrait by Sir Peter Paul Rubens (Flemish, 1577-1640). The original painting remains part of the Royal Collection at Windsor Castle. It is signed and dated 1623, commissioned by Henry Danvers, Earl of Danby, as a gift to the Price of Wales, later King Charles I.
If you follow Skinner’s twitter account, @skinnerinc, you know that we love to know what’s going on in the world of antiques and fine art. We follow museums, collectors, dealers, appraisers, and auction houses to make sure we don’t miss anything.
Downsizing a home can be an arduous process, both physically and emotionally. Once you’ve sorted through a lifetime of possessions and have decided what to keep, you still face the question of what to do with the material you don’t wish to retain. Whatever your reasons for downsizing: moving to a smaller home, simplifying your lifestyle, or raising some cash, here are three reasons to consider selling at auction.