Stories for March '18

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Downer and Stinson of Tremont Auctions Dissolve Partnership
by Frances McQueeney-Jones Mascolo

Brett Downer and Doug Stinson, the two principals of Tremont Auctions of Newton, Massachusetts, have agreed to a parting of the ways. The partnership was dissolved on January 15, as the two longtime antiques dealers and auctioneers are going in different directions. Brett Downer (left) and Doug Stinson during a June ... (Read More)

(Issue Story)

Robert Cheney’s Dream Job
by Bob Frishman

When Robert Cheney was six years old, he made his first visit to the rural homestead in Grafton, Massachusetts, where members of the famed Willard family first began making clocks. Privately owned and seriously run down, the home and workshop were endangered. Robert’s father, clockmaker Bradford W. Cheney, was hoping ... (Read More)

(Issue Story)

Norman and Mary Gronning, Shaftsbury, Vermont
by Frank Donegan

In the Trade For more than half a century, Norman and Mary Gronning have been selling period American antiques. They’ve developed an inventory that is both broad and deep. They sell formal, high country, and painted furniture from the 17th through the early 19th centuries, along with paintings, folk art, metalwork, ... (Read More)

(Issue Story)

Massachusetts Attorney General and Berkshire Museum Agree on Plan
by Julie Schlenger Adell

After eight long months of outcries from residents and a few Norman Rockwell descendants, protest marches, injunctions, and copious numbers of documents, the Massachusetts attorney general’s office and the Berkshire Museum, Pittsfield, Massachusetts, have agreed on a plan for the sale of up to 40 artworks to address the financial ... (Read More)

(Issue Story)

Using Collectibles as Ad Props: A Good Sign?
by Jeanne Schinto

It’s encouraging to see the props that were chosen for this TD Ameritrade ad: a small collection of early telephones, along with a Big Ben alarm clock that could be vintage. There are also some old books, a couple of them set up as they might be for a trompe ... (Read More)

(Issue Story)

Expert Opinion
by Hollie Davis and Andrew Richmond

The Young Collector When you are a librarian, everyone wants you to be on their team for Trivial Pursuit. “You know all the answers,” they say. “No,” a fellow librarian once said, “I know how to find all the answers.” That conversation is the intersection of our understanding of the difference between ... (Read More)

(Issue Story)

The Philadelphia Antiques and Art Show
by Lita Solis-Cohen

The 56th Philadelphia Antiques and Art Show has new support. The Philadelphia Museum of Art (PMA) and Penn Medicine have become joint beneficiaries of the show, and the PMA will gradually assume full responsibility for the show’s organization and management in the following years and apparently become its sole beneficiary. The ... (Read More)

(Issue Story)

Boston’s Ayer Mansion Seeks Its Missing Tiffany Vase
by Jeanne Schinto

Photos courtesy Ayer Mansion A preservation organization that is renovating a historic house in Boston’s Back Bay is asking collectors, dealers, curators, and others to be on the lookout for a vase by Louis Comfort Tiffany that has gone missing. It was one of three that Tiffany designed for Frederick Ayer ... (Read More)

(Issue Story)

Internet Browsers
by John Reid,

Computer Column #350 Many of us spend part of every day staring at a web browser on a computer, perhaps buying, selling, or researching antiques or maybe just checking the news and gossip. We all have our favorite browsers, yet browsers are still evolving. New features are worth taking a look ... (Read More)

(Issue Story)

Letter from London, March 2018
by Ian McKay,

The longest piece in this month’s selection focusses on the always fascinating and sometimes unexpectedly costly world of antiquities, but room is also found for the return of Lord Nelson, for a couple of remarkable celestial globes, and a really old master discovery. Tsar Nicholas I’s passion for military uniforms provides ... (Read More)

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Wedgewood Society of Boston
by M.A.D. staff

Wedgewood Society of Boston For more than 50 years, the Wedgwood Society of Boston has brought together New England collectors, ceramics enthusiasts, and lovers of the decorative arts and history to share new findings, build greater understanding, and enjoy the fellowship of lively and engaging fellow members and guests. We welcome ... (Read More)

(Issue Story)

Klansmen Made of Lead: Antiques and Evil
by Adam Irish

Opinion One of the finest equestrian statues in the nation stands in a park in Memphis, Tennessee.* Designed by an accomplished sculptor working in the Neoclassical manner and cast in bronze in Paris, the century-old monument is a historic landmark and an important feature in the city’s history. I’d like to take ... (Read More)

(Issue Story)

Exhibitions, March 2018
by M.A.D. staff

William Kidd (b. 1961), Crusty Vase, 2003, earthenware. Promised gift of Sidney Swidler. —Through March 31—Flint, Michigan Flint Institute of Arts (FIA) presents The Art of Containment: Vessels from the Sidney Swidler Collection. Swidler’s fascination with ceramics collecting was influenced by his work as an architect and designer. Swidler has amassed more ... (Read More)

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Fake Civil War Masterpiece: A Tale of Two Photographs
by Clayton Pennington

It’s one of the best folk art fakes of all time. It fooled them all: dealers, curators, vetters, journalists, and more. Had it not been for one grainy 72 dpi digital photograph, the dogged persistence of a concerned group of antiquarians, and a dealer who eschewed embarrassment and confronted the ... (Read More)

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Classical Furniture at Academy Mansion during Master Drawings New York
by Julie Schlenger Adell

In light of the successful sale of Classical furniture from the Patricia M. Sax collection at Sotheby’s during Americana Week, M.A.D. wanted to see what New York City dealer Carswell Rush Berlin had brought to the Academy Mansion on East 63rd Street during Master Drawings New York the following week, ... (Read More)

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Chinese Bowl, Estimated at $1000/2000, Brings $200,000
by M.A.D. staff

A Chinese green-glazed footed porcelain bowl, estimated at $1000/2000, brought $200,000 (includes buyer’s premium) at Nye & Company Auctioneers on January 31 in Bloomfield, New Jersey. “I would have to judge this sale a huge success, with strong bidding across all categories, led by the Chinese porcelain bowl, the true ... (Read More)

(Auction)

Americana at Sotheby’s
by Lita Solis-Cohen

Sotheby’s, New York City Photos courtesy Sotheby’s Americana filled seven floors of Sotheby’s on York Avenue in New York City in mid-January, daring collectors, curators, and dealers to explore a vast array of America’s past. Erik Gronning, head of Americana at the international auction house, gets one chance a year to prove ... (Read More)

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The 2018 Wallace Hall Art, Design & Antiques Show
by Julie Schlenger Adell

New York City Filling a void in the New York City show landscape, The Art, Design & Antiques Show at Wallace Hall offered dealers and collectors a place to exhibit and buy during Americana Week. The show has grown in stature and significance. The 33 dealers who set up shop January 19-21 ... (Read More)

(Issue Story)

Eldred’s Offers Affordable Antique Jewelry and More in January Sale
by Mary Ann Brown

Antique Jewelry & Gemology Photos courtesy Eldred’s Eldred’s Auctioneers of East Dennis, on Cape Cod in Massachusetts, held its antiques and accessories sale on January 19 and 20, offering 152 lots of jewelry that achieved good results and had “a very low pass rate,” according to Leah Kingman, the specialist who cataloged ... (Read More)

(Auction)

Washington and Wady Top Christie’s Americana Auction
by Lita Solis-Cohen

Christie’s, New York City Photos courtesy Christie’s Americana sales in January have been called the barometer of the market for at least five decades. “As goes January, so goes the market” is the mantra. Collectors and dealers who make this market buy what speaks to them and ignore what they deem over-restored, ... (Read More)

(Auction)

Outsider Art at Christie’s
by Lita Solis-Cohen

Christie’s, New York City Photos courtesy Christie’s When a double-sided Henry Darger watercolor and collage sells for $60,000 more than the highest-priced piece of furniture during Americana Week in New York City, people take notice. This double-sided work by Henry Darger (1892-1973), 93 At Jennie Richee, are chaced for long distance by Glandelinians with blood hounds. / 95 ... (Read More)

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The 46th Annual Hudson Antique Show: Snow Was a Blow or Maybe Not
by Susan Emerson Nutter

Richfield, Ohio   Strong snowstorms offset with 50-degree days equal winter 2018 in Ohio to date. A week before the highly anticipated 46th annual Hudson Antique Show, which is held the second Saturday and Sunday in January (this year January 13 and 14) saw a big storm, offset with a huge melt. And ... (Read More)

(Auction)

Tears Mix with Triumph at Mebane
by Pete Prunkl

Mebane Antique Auction Gallery, Mebane, North Carolina Photos courtesy Mebane Antique Auction Gallery Instead of relying entirely on pickers and family consignments for his annual Americana sale on December 8, 2017, auctioneer Jon Lambert looked to his own considerable collection for a few lots. He chose seven pieces of redware—four jugs and ... (Read More)

(Auction)

Saved by the Dolls
by Alice Kaufman

Bonhams, San Francisco, California Photos courtesy Bonhams Department director Ingmars Lindbergs described the Bonhams December 4, 2017, San Francisco auction of Native American art as “on a smaller scale but much more successful than the June 2017 sale.” Lindbergs said, “Overall, I was happy” with sales that totaled close to $885,000 (including ... (Read More)

(Auction)

Days of Clocks and Watches
by Bob Frishman

Bonhams, Christie’s, Sotheby’s, and Swann Galleries, New York City  I could have stayed home in Massachusetts. Like many, if not most, auction previewers and buyers these days, I could have looked and watched online. I would have saved eight hours of driving, 15 miles of walking, money spent on a hotel, ... (Read More)

(Auction)

Freeman’s American Paintings
by Lita Solis-Cohen

Freeman’s, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Photos courtesy Freeman’s More than 100 people filled the seats in the salesroom and stood at the back for Freeman’s sale of American art on December 3, 2017. Thirty-one of them were successful, and they went home with paintings by Pennsylvania Impressionists, an Andrew Wyeth letter with a watercolor ... (Read More)

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The Greenwich Winter Antiques Show
by Julie Schlenger Adell

Greenwich, Connecticut The Greenwich Winter Antiques Show is one event under the aegis of Antiquarius, a suite of events held every December to benefit the Greenwich Historical Society. Its tag line is “Celebrate the Holidays in High Style,” and a house tour, the antiques show, and a holiday boutique are traditions ... (Read More)

(Auction)

Lizard Man Sells for $43,050
by Frances McQueeney-Jones Mascolo

Skinner, Inc. Boston, Massachusetts Photos courtesy Skinner, Inc. American Indian and ethnographic art attracted bidders on December 2, 2017, to Skinner’s Boston gallery, where bidders came and went according to the kind of objects on the block. The highlight was a 19th-century anthropomorphic figure of a lizard man that brought $43,050 (includes ... (Read More)

(Auction)

McInnis Unearths Warhol Trove
by Frances McQueeney-Jones Mascolo

John McInnis Auctioneers, Amesbury, Massachusetts Photos courtesy John McInnis Auctioneers An unexpected trove of Andy Warhol material took an unexpected turn at John McInnis Auctioneers’ December 1 and 2, 2017, sale in its Amesbury, Massachusetts, gallery. After lifelong Amesbury resident Harriett Woodsom Gould died at age 94 in November 2016, her family ... (Read More)

(Auction)

Bid Now: Leland Little’s Winter Quarterly Auction
by Pete Prunkl

Leland Little Auctions, Hillsborough, North Carolina Photos courtesy Leland Little Auctions Two and a half weeks before the December 2, 2017, catalog sale, Leland Little’s online catalog arrived in 20,000 electronic mailboxes. The curious scrolled down the opening page and found a large green button urging them to “Bid Now.” Six days ... (Read More)

(Auction)

Lamps, Glass, and Jewelry Auction
by Mark Sisco

James D. Julia, Inc., Fairfield, Maine Not surprisingly, the name Louis Comfort Tiffany dominated the James D. Julia lamp, glass, and jewelry auction on December 1, 2017, in Fairfield, Maine. About 60 Tiffany lamps and chandeliers came up, led by a trio of lamps that topped the sale at $84,700 apiece ... (Read More)

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Holiday Antiques Show Offers Some Show-Stoppers
by Walter C. Newman

Williamsburg, VirginiaThe 36th annual Holiday Antiques Show was held the weekend of November 24-26, 2017, at the Doubletree by Hilton, Williamsburg, Virginia. The event has become a mainstay for Black Friday shoppers who wish to avoid the hassle of outlet malls and standstill traffic. This copybook is dated 1853 and is ... (Read More)

(Auction)

57th Annual Thanksgiving Americana Auction
by Don Johnson

Garth’s Auctions, Delaware, Ohio Photos courtesy Garth’s Auctions Having an obscure subject matter on top of a bizarre medium, a painting that sold halfway through the 57th Thanksgiving Americana auction held by Garth’s Auctions in Delaware, Ohio, on November 24 offered an interesting analogy of the day itself. Pennsylvania painting of a man ... (Read More)

(Auction)

American Art November 2017
by Julie Schlenger Adell

Christie’s, New York City Photos courtesy Christie’s More than 60 people gathered in the salesroom for Christie’s American art auction that took place on November 21, 2017, two days before Thanksgiving. While New York City was inundated with tourists hoping to attend the parade, view holiday windows, and shop, the auction house ... (Read More)

(Auction)

American Art at Bonhams
by Julie Schlenger Adell

Bonhams, New York City Photos courtesy Bonhams Bonhams held its American art sale on November 20, 2017, the Monday of Thanksgiving week, and a small crowd gathered on the second floor of the Madison Avenue auction house to bid on the 71 lots that were offered. The sale totaled $1,294,750, and the ... (Read More)

(Auction)

A Morning’s Work Leads Sporting Art Auction’s $2.5 Million Sale
by Susan Emerson Nutter

Cross Gate Gallery/Keeneland, Lexington, Kentucky Photos courtesy Cross Gate Gallery It’s a natural collaboration for Keeneland—where everyone who is anyone goes to buy the finest Thoroughbreds—and Cross Gate Gallery—where everyone who is anyone goes to purchase the finest sporting art. These Lexington, Kentucky-based businesses first teamed up in 2013 to bring to ... (Read More)

(Auction)

Art and Antiques at Tremont Auctions
by Frances McQueeney-Jones Mascolo

Tremont Auctions, Newton, Massachusetts Antiques from the estate of Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, show promoter, collector, and dealer Sonia Paine, who died last summer at 95, provided several bright spots in the Tremont Auctions November 19, 2017, sale in the Newton, Massachusetts, gallery. Paine, who opened an antiques shop in 1968, was ... (Read More)

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Heartland Antique Show
by Don Johnson

Richmond, Indiana For anyone driving rural back roads to the Heartland Antique Show in Richmond, Indiana, on the morning of November 18, 2017, something quickly became apparent. It was the opening day of deer season, as evidenced by an abundance of pickup trucks and SUVs edged off country roads near adjacent ... (Read More)

(Auction)

Fine Art and Carved Chinese Plaques Set the Pace at Potomack
by Walter C. Newman

The Potomack Company, Alexandria, Virginia Photos courtesy The Potomack Company The November 18, 2017, cataloged auction at The Potomack Company was held at the firm’s galleries in Alexandria, Virginia. The sale presented a mix of offerings from a broad group of categories, with a concentration of lots from an equally broad selection ... (Read More)

(Auction)

Comic and Disney Characters Star at Milestone Auctions
by Susan Emerson Nutter

Milestone Auctions, Willoughby, Ohio Photos courtesy Milestone Auctions Vintage comic characters are a perennial favorite. When “the Mouse” is involved, it’s a given that interest will follow. Milestone Auctions saw this phenomenon firsthand during its “Hectic Eclectic” vintage comic character event held on November 18, 2017. Selling were more than 500 lots of ... (Read More)

(Auction)

Collectors Propel Fall Signature Toy Sale to $2.6
by Dick Friz

Bertoia Auctions, Vineland, New Jersey Photos courtesy Bertoia Auctions Bertoia Auctions signed off on its November 11 and 12, 2017, Signature sale with the company’s highest-grossing sales figures since the glory days of the sale of Donald Kaufman’s collection (five auctions held from 2009 to 2011). The 1470-lot barrage of toys, banks, ... (Read More)

(Auction)

A Most Unusual Sale
by Marty Steiner

Slotin Folk Art, Buford, Georgia Photos courtesy Slotin Folk Art The November 11 and 12, 2017, Slotin Folk Art Auction was particularly strong, with heavy emphasis on African American and slave-related material, much from the Acacia Collection in Savannah and the Old Slave Mart Museum in Charleston, South Carolina. These lots appeared ... (Read More)

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The 2017 American Art Fair
by Julie Schlenger Adell

New York City The tenth American Art Fair opened its doors to an enthusiastic crowd on Saturday evening, November 11, 2017, ushering in American Art Week in New York City with a private invitation-only preview. The show ran through November 15. Seventeen dealers of 19th- and 20th-century American art covered the walls ... (Read More)

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Mr. “Nice Guy” Manager of Milford Antiques Shows
by Fran Kramer

Milford, New Hampshire At 7 a.m. on November 5, 2017, I was entering the back door of the Hampshire Hills Athletic Club, not to play tennis but to visit one of Jack Donigian’s antiques shows during his 42nd consecutive year of running them in the area, a few miles west of ... (Read More)

(Issue Story)

“Horology in Art”
by Frances McQueeney-Jones Mascolo

The Ward Francillon Time Symposium, Boston, Massachusetts Since 1980 the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors (NAWCC) has sponsored the Ward Francillon Time Symposium at sites around the country where members meet to compare clocks, view examples of interesting and historic clocks, share new discoveries, and renew friendships. National and ... (Read More)

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Publications of Arthur and Sybil Kern
by Leslie and Peter Warwick

                                           Publications of Arthur and Sybil Kern                                              As compiled by Leslie and Peter Warwick  1. Arthur B. and Sybil Kern, “Who was Benjamin Greenleaf?” Antiques World, September 1981, vol. III, no. 9, pp. ... (Read More)
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