When you look for a new acquisition for your collection, do you seek out dusty and dirty objects with original surface or interesting patina? If you do, you’re not alone. The phrase “Grunge School,” describes this learned or acquired taste. There’s a sense of discovery and wonder when you come across a piece of antique furniture, a mirror, a painting, or almost anything that has been forgotten for a long time. Original condition and original surface mean an elevated value for most American antiques.
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In 1886, Stefano Scarampella arrived in Mantua from nearby Brescia and established himself as a full-time maker two years later. His father had been an amateur builder, and his brother Giuseppe was trained in Nice and Florence. When Giuseppe died in 1902, Stefano inherited his tools and plunged himself a period of artistic isolation and intense creativity.
My grandmother was a New Englander but moved to New Jersey later in her life. One time she brought several of her friends on a trip up to New England. She loved American antiques and old houses, and she told her friends, “You have to see the Wayside Inn.” She really talked it up and they were all very excited to visit.
The American antiques market has recently seen a strong comeback from previous seasons. While collecting trends come and go, some objects always find favor with bidders and consistently hold their value. It’s good to know what’s hot at auction right now; it’s better to know what remains popular year after year. That’s your best bet for selling auction-ready property and netting the highest price possible, no matter what the collecting climate.
Earth day lands on April 22nd this year, and I’ve already started to think about being green, and our responsibility to the world around us. In Americans’ quest for the new, hot, ‘thing’ it’s easy to overlook the treasures of the past, but the mid-century furniture, art glass, and other beautifully designed pieces I work with every day still have a place in our lives.
At the March Fine Jewelry auction in Boston, we noticed an interesting trend. Off color diamonds of size achieved very strong prices. These were diamonds in the K-L-M range, that draw definite color when viewed face up. People used to turn their noses up at these pale yellow rocks, but now the stones are being fought over and selling at a premium.
The newest exhibit at the Winterthur Museum in Delaware opened this week on April 2nd: Paint, Pattern and People: Furniture of Southeastern Pennsylvania, 1725–1850. Skinner spoke with Wendy A. Cooper, the Lois F. and Henry S. McNeil Senior Curator of Furniture, and Lisa Minardi, Assistant Curator of Furniture for the Southeastern Pennsylvania Furniture Project, about the exhibition.… Read More
By the early 17th century, Mantua had become a strong cultural center in post-Renaissance Italy, and its new wealth and freer attitude towards secular music attracted musical talent like composer Claudio Monteverdi away from the more parochial Cremona, barely 30 miles to the west.
It’s almost April, and I’m sure I’m not the only one getting ready to do some spring cleaning. Now is the time to organize and cut down on possessions, but be careful not to just throw out things that don’t have a place in your life anymore.
Karen Keane, CEO of Skinner, and I had the opportunity to attend a gala opening of this remarkable exhibit on Thursday night. Everyone who walked in said, “This makes you feel so good,” and I agree. I’ve never seen anything like it in my life. The exhibit is only open for a few days: from Friday, March 25th through Wednesday, March 30th, and it’s free to the public, so get down to New York and see it if you can.