On Tuesday, January 18, 2011, Keno Auctions will hold its American and European Paintings, Folk Art, Furniture, and Decorative Arts auction. The auction will feature such important items as a Winslow Homer watercolor, an extremely rare Andrew Wyeth sketchbook, early American antique furniture, and important Folk Art. (see gallery below). Winslow Homer's watercolor is seen above with Keno Auctions' president, Leigh Keno, who is one of the foremost experts in the world of art and decorative arts as well as a regular contributor, along with his twin brother, Leslie, to the popular PBS television program Antiques Roadshow.
"We are very excited about the sale," Leigh Keno told Luxist. "It's a mixture of American, English and British furniture and paintings. There are some Chinese and other Asian things too. There is real variety---even a Minoan bronze bowl that dates back to 1200 to 1600 BC that was found in Crete. The great thing about the auction is that we have the Internet---including Live Auctioneers and ArtFact---as well as our own telephone bidding system, which makes it possible for anyone around the world to bid."
Keno has devoted much of his time of late amassing the large collection of important items that are featured in this auction. Important furniture items include a William and Mary veneered high chest of drawers (estimate: $60,000 to $120,000). "This is the most important example of American cabinetmaking in the baroque style in early 18th century Boston," says Keno. "There are only two others with veneered walnut moldings. But this high chest has the distinction of not only having the veneer on the sides, but also having the original surface on the legs and feet. The fact that the base is completely original is of great importance."
The first auction from the Leigh Keno's new Keno Auctions house has brought some big results including the sale of one very expensive Chippendale chest. The auction was held last weekend in Stamford, Connecticut and had two sessions. The first part, the collection of H. Robert Leese of Pennsylvania, consisted of 178 lots, all of which sold without reserve. During the second session the James Beekman Chippendale carved mahogany chest of drawers from the shop of Thomas Brookman with carving attributed to Henry Hardcastle came up for bid. Antiques and the Arts reports that this New York chest, circa 1752 was estimated at $200/600,000 but sold for $1.428 million, setting a record for a New York piece of furniture.
The third session on Sunday brought the second highest price in the sale, when the portrait of Anna Brodhead Oliver circa 1743 was sold without reserve to David Schorsch of Woodbury, Connecticut, for $1,118,600. The estimate was just $40/80,000 and the portrait was the property of a descendant of the sitter. Leigh Keno said that the auction brought in a total of $5,818,460 including the buyer's premium but that four major postsale offers pending will boost the total to $6.014 million.
The blond twin Keno brothers are experts in American furniture and have often appeared on "Antiques Roadshow." Both Leigh and Leslie Keno have been interested in rare Americana since they were kids and have been involved in the antiques business since their teenage years and Leslie Keno was in the audience for this auction. The pair recently announced their own furniture line.
Filed under: Decor
John Swahn (pictured in the Philadelphia Inquirer's "Fresh, Affordable Home Ideas"), owner and master craftsman at Pennsylvania's Niki Francis Antique Restorations, shares his expertise on Chippendale furniture. He tells me there is some confusion stemming from Thomas Chippendale's 1754 book, "The Gentleman and Cabinet-Maker's Director". This volume was the first of its kind on furniture manufacturing ever to be published. The book was purchased and widely used by furniture makers all over the world. Complete with drawings and designs, it became a guide to furniture building. Furniture makers were now able to reproduce Chippendale's furniture. The book greatly affected the years 1750 to 1790 and created what is known as the Chippendale period for furniture styles.
John believes that the best way to recognize the Chippendale style is simply to look at the man's work. The Chippendale Society, founded in England in 1963, displays pictures online of various Chippendale designs and pieces from their collection. Thomas Chippendale's taste for Chinese and Gothic as well as Louis XV rock and shell work show in his drawings and in pieces he has crafted. Although the Chippendale form is more masculine, the style shares the sweeping lines found in Queen Anne furniture. This is most recognized in the cabriole legs which are curved and usually end in a distinctive foot such as the lion's paw or the ball and claw. Chippendale employed straight leg designs as well.
Prince Charles has helped save one of Scotland's most historic estates, the Dumfries House. The Dumfries House in East Ayrshire was designed in the 1750s by John, Robert and James Adam and was known not just for the home itself but for the treasure trove of Chippendale furniture specially made for the home. The home was facing an auction through Christie's on July 12-13 to break up the 2,000-acre estate and the antiques inside. The owner John Bute was selling his family home to concentrate on another estate that he owns on the Isle of Bute. Prince Charles spearheaded the plan to raise £45 million pounds. The organizations involved include The Prince's Charities Foundation, the Scottish government, The Art Fund, the Garfield Weston Foundation, The Monument Trust, the National Heritage Memorial Fund and SAVE Britain's Heritage. The home may be open to the public as soon as next year and will be managed through an independent trust. The Prince's Charities Foundation borrowed a large part of the £45m and there will be continued fundraising to help repay the loan.