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Auction Previews & News

23 Results
  • Auction Industry, Opinion
    Has Instagram Changed Art Buying?

    Brett Gorvy, Christie’s former global head of contemporary art, posted a picture of a Jean-Michel Basquiat painting on his personal Instagram page in 2017. Within hours, he received messages from collectors around the world who were interested in buying the piece. The painting was sold for $24 million two days later. Speaking with the New York Times, Gorvy stated, “From the buyer’s point of view, this was a total Instagram sale.”  Instagram boasts over a billion users monthly, and current estimates suggest that over 50 billion photos have been shared to date. Artists, galleries, and auction houses are increasingly using social media platforms like Instagram to share, market, and sell art. Auction houses see viral hashtags and eye-catching photos as an opportunity to draw bidders toward their upcoming sales. Sotheby’s, for example, celebrated one million Instagram followers in 2019. The auction house even compiles a list of its best Instagram posts at the end of each year.  Posted on Sotheby’s Instagram page to promote the upcoming “Made in Britain” auction on March 17, 2020. Image by Sotheby’s. Buying and selling art is adapting to the digital space. Beyond the increasing growth of online auction sales (rising over 11% yearly since 2013), initiatives such as See You Next Thursday (SYNT) have changed the accessibility of art buying. The SYNT account posts images of at least one piece of art on Thursday evenings, allowing interested buyers to bid simply by leaving Instagram comments. Founder Calli Moore shared her vision for the account with Artsy last year: “[SYNT is] very geared toward artists who have a very large outreach, but are not represented [in galleries].” An example of Ashley Longshore’s work, which gathered more than 10,000 likes on Instagram. Image by Ashley Longshore. Independent artists are also using Instagram for self-promotion. Ashley Longshore is one artist who harnesses the power of social media to market her work. She reported to Vogue: “Technology is the platform of my business: All I need is my iPad, my Instagram, and a delivery truck.” Nearly 300,000 users follow Longshore, receiving regular updates about new work and merchandise…

  • Art Industry
    Estate Sales 101: Etiquette, Rules, and Tips for Beginners

    Photo by on Unsplash. The sale of late Zsa Zsa Gabor’s furniture, jewelry, artwork, and other belongings from her grand “American nouveau-Versaille” in 2018 made headlines across the art world. More recently, nearly every lot in the Lee Radziwill Christie’s estate sale sold for a total of $1.2 million in October of 2019. One of the items auctioned for $50,000 was a valuable keepsake: a scrapbook of her 1962 trip to India with her sister Jacqueline Kennedy Onasis. While there have been a number of notable auctions of celebrity estates over the years, estate sales aren’t only reserved for Hollywood stars. So what is an estate sale, and when do people have them? Let’s dive in. What is an Estate Sale?  An estate refers to the money and property (including homes, artwork, furnishings and more) that can be attributed to one’s name. Estate sales, often held on-site, are public sales of the personal property contained within a household. Photo by Matthew Daniels on Unsplash. The Three D’s: Death, Debt and Divorce Families or individuals, wherever they might own property, may hold estate sales after major life events. Some of the most common catalysts for estate sales include death, divorce, downsizing or moving, or filing for bankruptcy. Other major life events may also call for an estate sale, but the primary driver for estate sales (and unfortunate) reason estate sales take place is the death of an individual. When someone dies, oftentimes their wills will strictly state that their possessions should be liquidated and — in an effort to avoid family arguments — that equal cash amounts should be distributed to their kin. In all cases for estate sales, it may also be the case that family members or heirs have no interest in keeping the household items, or simply have no space for them. How Do Estate Sales Work? Estate sales are held to clear out large amounts of items kept in a home in a short period of time, typically between two to three days. Profits can go to banks, family members, heirs, and charities. Estate sales are also convenient…

  • Art Fairs, Art Industry
    5 Shocking Art Thefts in Modern History

    Empty frames at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Photo by the Federal Bureau of Investigation via Wikimedia Commons. If you’ve set foot in any art museum, you’ve noticed security guards surrounding the building and galleries. They’re not just there to make sure visitors don’t get handsy with the artwork; they’re also there to make sure the valued works of art remain inside the museum. Though it may sound like something out of a blockbuster movie, art thefts are, sadly, not all that uncommon. Even more unfortunate is that only five to ten percent of works stolen are ever recovered, leaving the legacy of historically significant works of art to reproductions printed in books. Part of what brings so much media attention to the theft of famous works of art isn’t just the potential value of the stolen property, but the motivation behind it. While the most obvious reason is the potential fortune made from black market resale, other reasons include political motivations and art fanatics who simply want the work for themselves. Still, there are some who steal for the sheer thrill of it, not unlike the eponymous character in the popular 1999 film The Thomas Crown Affair. Below discover five of the most shocking, damaging, or culturally devastating art thefts in modern history. 1. Maurizio Cattelan’s ‘America’ (2019) Blenheim Palace. Photo via Wikimedia Commons. The 2019 art theft at Blenheim Palace in England caused a stir not only due to the value of the work stolen, but also because of the type of work that was stolen. While some art thefts involve centuries-old paintings, this particular heist involved a sculptural work depicting a toilet. More specifically, it was Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan’s America, a fully-functional toilet made of pure, eighteen-karat gold.  The night after America went on view to the public at Blenheim Palace in the United Kingdom, a group of thieves broke in and removed the heavyweight sculpture from its display. While some believed that the theft was a hoax by Cattelan himself, who is known for pranks, the artist soon confirmed that the burglary was real. Since its disappearance, several men and women have been arrested for questioning…

  • Fine Art
    Islamic Art Patterns and Their Symbolic Meaning

    Detail of Mosaic tiles from Isfahan Mosque, Iran. From the Taj Mahal to the greatest examples of silk Persian rugs, the history of Islamic art spans over a thousand years, crosses borders, and takes on a wide range of genres and forms. Today, the category of Islamic art itself encompasses all types of art that was created in areas where Islam was the main religion. These include the countries of Iran, Egypt, India, Morocco, Spain, Syria, and Turkey, among others. Islamic art does not only refer to religious art; it defines all art forms made in the Islamic world. Unlike what we often see in Christian or Jewish art, Islamic artists tend to abide by the concept of aniconism; that is, the belief that the creation of living beings, like humans, is a job for God and should therefore be left out of artwork. Islamic aniconism is partly influenced by the prohibition of idolatry, or the worshiping of an idol or image in place of God. In lieu of human or animal figures in traditional Islamic art (apart from secular Islamic art), we therefore find common Islamic art patterns, designs and motifs. Intricate and colorful works of Islamic ceramics, Islamic wall art and Islamic canvas art often depict repeated examples of calligraphy, geometric and abstract shapes, and representations of flora or vegetation. A Safavid Panel of Twelve Cuerda Seca Tiles Painted with a Garden Scene, Isfahan, 17th-18th Century. Sold for €13000 via Artcurial (March 2014). While it’s impossible to adequately cover the entire scope of Islamic art — which dates back to the 7th century — in a single article, we’ll explore some of the most important Islamic art characteristics, their influences, and provide a general overview of specific pieces that are sought after by collectors and their value in the market today. Islamic Art Characteristics Across Islamic visual art, three key characteristics include floral motifs, geometric designs and calligraphy. Often overlapping across various art forms and genres, these elements are influenced by principles in the Qu’ran.  Floral Designs and the “Arabesque” Because of the belief in Islamic aniconism, flower designs were used by artists in the place of human…

  • Auction House
    The Guide to Vintage Barbie Dolls

    Blonde #1 Boxed Barbie. Sold for $6,600 via Morphy Auctions (April 2013). Estimated Reading Time: 12 minutes • Last updated: 12.11.19 The Barbie doll is of the most popular and recognizable dolls ever created, and not just among young girls. This doll is highly sought after by collectors, especially well-preserved, vintage Barbie dolls. Since the first Barbie, named Barbie Millicent Roberts, was introduced to the world in 1959, new editions have been unveiled with each subsequent decade, wrought with added accessories and changes that reflected the times in which the dolls were produced. Before her late-1950s debut, America hadn’t seen anything quite like the Barbie doll. Prior, only infant doll designs were available on the toy market, but Barbie brought something new and different. The dolls were designed to allow young girls to dream about their futures as career-driven, posturing women. They quickly became some of the best-selling dolls of all time, with over a billion sold to-date. Vintage Barbie dolls on the market from 1959 to the late 1960s are especially prized among collectors. Often, these Barbies had bendable legs or red hair, and they are considered some of the most rare and valuable. Today, the price of a mint condition Barbie from this era can run close to $25,000. Barbie has continued to evolve since its inception, and undoubtedly changed the modern toy industry forever. A Brief History of Barbie Dolls Mattel 850 dark blonde swirl ponytail barbie in original box. Sold for $190 via Toys, Trains, and Other Old Stuff (April 2017). Barbie dolls were invented by Ruth Handler, co-founder of Mattel, Inc., an American toy manufacturing company founded in 1945. After observing her daughter play with paper dolls, Handler was inspired to create a three-dimensional version of a career-minded, adult doll. She even bought the rights to the German-made doll Bild Lilli, and modeled her version after the figure. By 1959, the first Barbie doll made its official debut at the New York Toy Fair. Barbie Millicent Roberts was named after Handler’s daughter. The doll was said to be from Willows, Wisconsin and held a prominent career as a teenage fashion model. She…

  • Auction Industry
    A Collector’s Guide to Diecast Cars

    A group of repainted Dinky Toys Bedford and Guy Vans . Sold for £50 via Vectis Auctions Ltd (August 2019).Estimated Reading Time: 7 minutes • Last updated: 12.04.19 Diecast cars are built from zinc alloy — and offer a healthy dose of nostalgia. In the peak of their production, these small-scale cars — typically no larger than the palm of a hand — were carefully modeled after real-life designs produced by automobile manufacturers. For collectors in the market today, diecast cars perfectly marry two popular collecting categories: vintage toys and classic cars. Car enthusiasts may find they can fit a few more 1:43 scale diecast cars in their garage than full-scale Ford Pontiacs, for example, and toy collectors may find joy in the careful details offered by each of the four major manufacturers of diecast toys. And, just about everyone can find joy in rolling diecast cars down imaginary roads. What is a Diecast Car? A diecast toy (sometimes written as die cast or die-cast) is any toy produced through the die casting method of metal casting, and is typically made of a zinc alloy (or, in some cases, lead). Die casting is a process in which a molten metal alloy is forced under high pressure into a mold creating a product similar to injection mold plastic but made of metal. This relatively simple method was perfect for mass-producing toys of all kinds in the era before inexpensive plastics were developed. In addition to diecast model cars other vehicles such as planes, trains, motorcycles and even spaceships have also been produced. Japanese toy manufacturer Bandai first developed the ‘Chogokin’ (the Japanese word for “super alloy”) line of diecast giant robot toys that have been in production since the 1970s. The painstaking process for creating these toys is the same as in the production of classic car lines. A Dinky Supertoys Guy Warrior ‘Heinz’ Van (920). Sold for £1100 via Wallis & Wallis (November 2017). One major appeal of diecast cars is how brands have been able to authentically recreate full-size cars at a much smaller scale. This has been the case since the early days of die casting. One of the first diecast…

  • Press Release
    Gorham Silver: Prices, Marks and History

    An American Silver Four-Piece Tea and Coffee Service. Sold for $938 via Hindman (September 2019). From silverware to tea services, antique silver has become a timeless staple of an entertainer’s toolkit. Over the years, silver manufacturers around the world have introduced a variety of innovative techniques and motifs that have rendered their name in a class of its own. Among the most turned-to American makers is Gorham silver, a name made famous by landmark commissions for Presidential families, major awards, and other prominent projects. But beyond the company’s special commissions, Gorham’s prolific production of tea sets, serving trays, candelabra, napkin rings, silverware and more remain one of the most popular searches among Invaluable collectors. Here, we explore how the maker rose to prominence in the 19th century, the most popular patterns available, and the prices they fetch at auction today. The History of Gorham Silver The U.S.-based Gorham Manufacturing Company first opened its doors in 1831 in Providence, Rhode Island, under the management of co-founders Jabez Gorham and Henry Webster. The intrepid duo had hoped to build a business creating smaller wares such as buttons and combs. In the late-1840s, however, when Jabez handed control of the company over to his son, John, Gorham’s production began to focus on larger silver sets. American silver tea and coffee service, Gorham. Sold for $1,500 via Charlton Hall (September 2019). Part of the motivation for this production move stemmed from new taxes that made the import of major European silver makers’ works into the United States much more costly. Having enjoyed the opportunity to tour European silver studios during past travels, Gorham worked to recreate those drop presses and silversmithing techniques in his Rhode Island workshop. He even went so far as to hire European craftsmen, such as George Wilkinson (1819–1894), to better incorporate Old World style into Gorham designs. The Rise and Fall of Gorham Manufacturing The result was the exponential growth of Gorham’s popularity, spurred by First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln’s commission of a silver set for the White House in 1859. Also contributing to Gorham’s growth was the introduction of both plated silver and holloware pieces by the late…

  • Auction Industry
    The First (and Last) Lines of Iconic Books, and What They Reveal

    Estimated Reading Time: 8 minutes • Last updated: 09.03.19 “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” or so the adage goes, but is the same true for the book’s opening line? Opening lines set the tone for a work of literature, serving as an invitation for a reader; it’s up to the author to extend one that cannot be turned down. Author Stephen King recently revealed that he spends months, even years, writing opening sentences, attributing the success of the entire book to these first few words. “And yet a really good first line can do so much to establish that crucial sense of voice—it’s the first thing that acquaints you, that makes you eager, that starts to enlist you for the long haul. So there’s incredible power in it, when you say, come in here. You want to know about this. And someone begins to listen.” – Stephen King The importance of an extraordinary first line is undeniable, but equally as important is the closing sentence. This is what truly brings the story full circle and leaves readers with an indelible impression of the book. Final lines have the ability to anchor in a reader’s mind long after the book is finished, so it’s a remarkable achievement when authors can create a last line equally as impressive as their first. Here, we uncover iconic books that have equally powerful first and last lines, and what we can draw from the authors who crafted these compelling lines. Pride and Prejudice (1813) First Line “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.” Jane Austen’s famous novel begins with a statement of principle, and the story that follows affirms this 19th-century notion, leading readers to the answers they seek. Austen forces the readers to recognize the satire, which she sees as “universally acknowledged.” This has been done in contemporary novels as well, evidenced by Jane Hamilton’s The Book of Ruth in which the first line states, “What it begins with, I know finally, is the kernel of meanness in people’s hearts…” Last Line “…and they were both ever sensible…

  • Auction Preview
    Summer Estates Auction

    The upcoming, Summer Estates Auction offered by Auction Gallery of Palm Beaches draws attention of enthusiastic buyers with the curation of 293 lots featuring captivating fine arts, series of high-quality porcelains, decorative furniture and more. The thoughtfulness in selection is seen in a soothing acrylic on canvas depicting women sitting in a café by Itzchak Tarkay. Tarkay was well known for portraying dream-like images of elegant and stylish women, placing viewers into an imaginary world.   Chinese items that fascinate includes a pair of Chinese octagonal porcelain vases from the early 20th century. These vases are decorated allover with scenes of a military campaign alternating with birds amidst blossoming branches, the rim and more. The list includes Chinese spinach jade panel with its lovely portrayal of Quanyin (The god of mercy), seated on a rock amidst bamboo in a mountainous landscape. Those who would love to bid for these qualitative items ranging from $75 - $15,000 please visit Invaluable

  • Auction Preview
    June Anderson Barbies & More

    Explore the Barbie land with Barbie, her friends, and relatives in the June Anderson Barbies Auction by Tom Harris auctions. Presented in the auction is an assorted collection of Barbies, toys, comics and more. Mattel Barbie is a popular choice among Barbie collectors. And the live-action PJ dolls ‘Charlie and Ken’ accompanied by a rotating stage. These dolls, dressed in a variety of POP costumes, were a revolution in the Barbie world with moving features.   Various Beatles dolls are the most sought-after items, as the Beatles are one of the most popular musical groups in the world. Like the featured collectible, a set of 1964 Bobbin Head car mascots of the Beatles. Hasbro is a well-known name when it comes to action figures. The set of two G.I. Joe action figures of a sailor and a marine are the highlights among Hasbro toys. The auction will host comic books, newsletters, reference books, accessories, Hallmark Barbie related items, magazine doll cut-outs, dollhouse furniture and more. Explore the full listings and register to bid online on invaluable.

  • Auction Preview
    Americana and Fine Arts

    Limitless imagination, attention to details and precision can transform a regular work into a great a piece of work. Introducing such antiques is Duane Merrill & Co at Americana and Fine Arts auction, this August. Highlighted lot in the auction is an item made prominent with the hard work of the maker, Harris Boston. It is a leaping stag weathervane, originally bought at a barn in the 1950s with a full-bodied copper. Similarly, the 18th-century bracket clock signed by Le Faucheur represents the past well with its marvelous design, and the present with its stunning functionality. Noteworthy items, amongst the categories of fine art, are a pair of portraits by Alonzo Slafter and the view of Burlington Bay by Charles Heyde at $6,000 and $12,000 respectively. To bid for the intriguing lots presented in the auction please visit Invaluable.

  • Auction Preview
    Altermann Galleries Online Only Auction

    It is not every day that one can come across a spectrum of arts, as diverse as an art auction could get. Vibrant collection in the Altermann Galleries Online Only Auction presents works that stretch from 19th century till date. Beside emotive portraits, most paintings in the curation embrace landscapes as their main subjects. Gathered lots inspire a fresh perspective on the world from behind the easel. With art depicting Tang dynasty dancers by Zhiwei Tu, the items showcased in the collection are an ensemble of emotions through colors and brush strokes. A painting entitled ‘One Evening at Ranchos’ by Kim Douglas Wiggins transports real-life sceneries into the canvas. Amidst the items, Alfred de Breanski’s works are also something to look forward to. He incorporates wilderness in his paintings, creating a distinctive mix of romanticism and realism. The onlookers will find many artworks by artists such as John Banovich, William Scott Jennings and Tom S. Macaione. Find more of the items on Invaluables.

  • Auction Preview
    Massive Rock, Mineral, Gemstone and Specimen Auction

    The earth creates remarkable beauty. When certain compounds meet the right temperature and pressure, beautiful minerals and crystals form. Nest Egg Auctions is offerings a massive collection of rocks, minerals, gemstones and specimens in their August 24 auction. The natural beauty of rock formations lies in each stone’s unique features.  Each collector will find a stone that fits her unique style and color preference. For instance, a red beryl stone from the Wah Wah Mountains in Utah displays a matte purple and white, while a Bolivian vivianite sample contains hints of emerald green within its charcoal-colored layers. Geodes present a variety of colorful crystals encased in an unassuming rock shell and the several collections of polished malachite emit an ethereal green aura. Each of the 200 available specimens is a testament to the beautiful wonders of the earth. View the entire collection and register to bid on Invaluable today. 

  • Auction Preview
    2 Days Japanese Art

    This two-day Japanese Art auction, presented by Eldred’s, offers a glimpse into Japanese culture and history.  Japanese art covers a broad spectrum that includes ancient pottery, sculpture, calligraphy, ink painting, and ukiyo-e paintings and woodblock prints, to name a few.  The first day of the auction features an ivory kiseru(smoking pipe) carrying case known as a kiseru-zutsu. This unique piece of ivory has a picture depicting a samurai outside of a gate reading a scroll.   The second day of the auction highlights a rare 1935 Paul Jocoulet (1896-1960) woodblock print titled “A Corean Girl.”  This print is of a Japanese woman in a plain blue dress and white kimono holding a colorful fan. Also included in the auction are netsuke pieces, beautiful scrolls, and rare dishes and pottery. Visit Invaluable to view all 752 lots today.

  • Auction Preview
    Oriental Rugs from American Estates

    The Oriental Rugs from American Estates auction, offered by Material Culture, is a collection of textile works made up almost entirely of rugs. Though, there are a few other unusual textile items of note in the sale. Among the most valuable pieces up for bid is an antique silk dragon rug from China. The stylized mythological figures in this colorful showpiece appear to be at odds, breathing fire at one another in a close battle. Another stunning work is an Antique Isfahan pictorial rug. Isfahan is a city in Iran located 252 miles south of Tehran. The rug itself depicts both humans and animals, and perhaps most notably an illustration of a woman being carried away by a bird.  One of the more unusual items is a Persian nomadic tend band, which is embroidered with many figures and shapes. This band would have been used to reinforce and decorate the interior vertical sidewalls of a tent or “yurt.” The ends of the band are further adorned with tassels. The tent-decorating traditions of the nomadic tribes are thought to have originated in Uzbek tradition. View any of these lots and register to bid at Invaluable.