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We enjoyed seeing everyone at this year’s FAE Educational Seminar held at Quinn’s Auction Galleries in Falls Church, Virginia on September 7-8, 2018. Appraisers, scholars, students, and collectors enjoyed a diverse group of presentations by experts and professionals.
2018 Seminar Speakers & Topics
Pitfalls and Possibilities in Appraising: A First-Hand Account – John Buxton and Joe Bothwell
John Buxton has been in the antiques and appraisal business for more than 35 years. A graduate of Tulane University, he has traveled extensively throughout Africa, India, Pakistan, Iran, and the Middle East. In 1974 he established The Bahraini Chest, an import shop in Dallas, Texas. Two years later he opened Shango Galleries, dealing in African, pre-Columbian, South Pacific, and American Indian Art. In 1990, he created a computer database, AuctionTrak, for the appraisal, research, evaluation, and authentication of tribal art sold at auction in the United States and Europe. A year later, he founded and incorporated ArtTrak, Inc., an art services computer network. In 1996, he started Buxton Appraisal, Authentication and Consulting Service.
After over thirty years appraising art and cultural property for the Internal Revenue Service, Joe Bothwell offers services involving art consulting, art sales and appraisals to the general public. He has considerable experience in appraising and will provide appraisals for different types of value -insurance, charitable contribution, estate planning and taxes, and gifts- that are supported by market data and clear analysis.
The Anatomy of an Appraisal – Leila Dunbar
Leila “Lee” Dunbar, former head of Sotheby’s Collectibles Department and 22-year veteran “Antiques Roadshow” appraiser, is the president of Leila Dunbar Appraisals And Consulting LLC, which offers pop culture memorabilia and wine appraisals, consulting, auctioneering and media services to private clients, auction houses, corporations, media and institutions. Major areas of expertise include sports and entertainment memorabilia, antique toys and banks, advertising ephemera, transportation memorabilia, comics, comic art, Disney memorabilia, records, posters, vehicles, archives, wine and spirits, etc, with more than $550 million valued.
Today Leila is on the road approximately 40% of the time, appraising sports, entertainment and pop culture memorabilia, plus wine; auctioneering for Augusta Auctions, Goldin and Julien’s Auctions as well as numerous benefit auctions; speaking to organizations such as SABR, AAA, ISA, Golf Collectors’ Society and Women’s Leadership Circle; and discussing the market in her blog and for press outlets such as ESPN and the New York Times.
Detecting Furniture Fakes – Dr. Oscar Fitzgerald
Dr. Fitzgerald is the author of the recently published American Furniture: 1650 to the Present, the standard reference work for American antiques. His other publications include Studio Furniture of the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum and New Masters of the Wooden Box. He teaches all the furniture history and connoisseurship classes in the Smithsonian/George Washington University Masters Program in the History of Decorative Arts and Design. In addition to writing and teaching, he is in demand as a decorative arts consultant. His clients have included the Frederick Douglass House, Clara Barton Historic Site, and the Custis Lee Mansion.
Did you ever wonder how the Keno Brothers on the Antiques Roadshow can immediately spot a fake or recognize a masterpiece of American antique furniture? They have mastered the fine art of connoisseurship. In his lecture, Dr. Oscar Fitzgerald will share the principles that appraisers, antique dealers, and collectors use to distinguish the fake from the genuine and the masterpiece from the mistake. The lecture will focus on the growing problem of fakes and reveal an 8-point checklist to authenticate antique furniture. The challenge is to distinguish revivals from period pieces and spot alterations such as major repairs, embellishments or marriages where parts from separate pieces of furniture have been combined.
An Affair with Beauty: The Mystique of Howard Chandler Christy – James Philip Head, ESQ
Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, Jim Head moved to the Washington, D.C. area with his family at the age of six. In college, he unwittingly discovered some “Gibson Girl” drawings in the college library which set him on a course to learn more about the “Illustrators of Beauty.” Eventually, he would encounter the story of Charles Dana Gibson’s friend and colleague, the legendary American illustrator and portraitist Howard Chandler Christy, and would be compelled to write the first biography about him. Jim has spent over ten years researching the lives of Christy, his second wife, Nancy, a former Cosmopolitan model, and the famous people the artist knew and painted. He has also interviewed several of Christy’s beautiful models of which only one is now living. Head is a lawyer in Tysons Corner, Virginia where he concentrates in estate planning and trust and estate litigation. He lives in Chantilly, Virginia with his wife, Rita, and daughter, Christianna.
Fame, fortune, and beautiful models—Howard Chandler Christy had them all. Christy was the most famous American painter of the Jazz Age, a time when an elite brotherhood of New York artists dominated the publishing world. Christy had eclipsed all of them with his “Christy Girl,” an idealized woman who redefined beauty, influenced fashion, and inspired generations of women. The Magic of Youth is the first book in An Affair with Beauty – The Mystique of Howard Chandler Christy, a biographical trilogy of the artist’s epic life as told primarily through the eyes of his second wife, Nancy, a former Cosmopolitan model once considered to be one of the most beautiful women in America. As she reflects on her life, Nancy tells of first meeting Christy in 1912 and becoming his top model. She is captivated by his irresistible charm and the glamour of his enchanting world but discovers that things are not always what they seem and even the great Christy has scandalous secrets.
Provenance and Challenges in the Chinese Middle Markets – Molly Huang
Molly Huang, ISA, is the Asian Art Specialist and Appraiser at Quinn’s Auction Galleries in Northern Virginia. Molly holds a BA in Museum Studies and Asian Arts from the Fudan University, a Masters in Architectural History (Co-program with Art History) and a Certificate of Historic Preservation from the University of Virginia; she was also one of the FAE Scholarship Recipients in 2017. Molly worked for the Fudan University Museum and the Gibbs Museum of Art before she joined Quinn’s in 2014. She has both extensive hands-on arts handling and research experience in Asian arts, specifically Chinese and Japanese fine & decorative arts.
The Chinese art market is undoubtedly one of the hottest markets in the art industry. Besides the qualities, conditions, and ages of art objects, provenance has become increasingly important as a supportive tool in the process of evaluation. Good provenance research will help you identify the piece, determine its authenticity and assess the value more accurately. The presentation will talk about how provenance affects the value of a collection; what types of provenance appraisers want to look for; and how to use provenance as a powerful tool to help us appraise Chinese arts. Tips for finding interesting hidden “provenances” will also be discussed.
Chinese Snuff Bottles: A Guide for Appraisers – Susan Lahey
Susan Lahey, MA, ISA AM, is an appraiser of personal property with a specialty in Asian art, specifically focusing on Chinese decorative and fine art. Ms. Lahey holds an Honours BA in Chinese Studies from the University of Toronto, an MA in Classical Chinese Literature from the University of British Columbia, and a Post-Graduate Diploma with Distinction in Asian Art from the School of Oriental & African Studies (University of London) and Sotheby’s Educational Studies. She is President of Eastern Art Consultants Inc., providing independent appraisal, research, advisory and collection management services since 2010. Previously she worked at the Royal Ontario Museum in various capacities, as well as leading the Asian art department of a local Toronto auction house for six years. She is a frequent speaker at conferences/symposia, presents webinars, and her articles are published in journals, trade magazines and newspapers. Susan regularly teaches specialty courses for the University of Toronto, School of Continuing Studies, and the International Society of Appraisers.
The most important factors in appraising snuff bottles from the Qing dynasty (1644-1911) will be examined, including which types are collectible and valuable in the current market; how to identify fakes; and tips on dating bottles and spoons. In addition to studying specific snuff bottles of different media including porcelain, glass, and precious stones such as jades and agates, as well as other natural materials, famous collections will be referred to, and resources for further research on this topic listed will be shared. Examples of snuff bottles will be available at Quinn’s auction house for a hands-on session.
Demonstration of Gold and Ornamental Application on Frames – Charles Rhodes
Rhodes was established in 2001 and is owned by Charles Rhodes. Charles is a gilder trained in England utilizing traditional techniques. He has over three decades of experience in conservation, restoration, and gilding of fine artifacts and architectural sites. In fine artifacts, Charles’ particular specialties include fine art frames and furniture. Mr. Rhodes’ work has included a wide variety of projects.
Neglected Art: Self Taught, Outsider and Contemporary Folk Art – Marcia Weber
Marcia Weber has enjoyed a close relationship with many artists in this field while actively preserving, documenting and collecting their art for more than forty years. Forty-two years ago Marcia collected her first piece of self-taught art and didn’t stop. For 25 years Marcia has directed her gallery, Marcia Weber Art Objects, Inc. in Montgomery, Alabama. Filled with a vast collection of masterpieces by self-taught artists, the gallery has a special focus on outsider art and contemporary folk art. Marcia has enjoyed a lifelong interest in the visual arts. She taught art in public schools, directed several galleries and painted professionally after getting her Degree in Studio Painting from Birmingham-Southern College.
Marcia has had close personal relationships with many of the artists featured in her gallery for a number of years. She has spent more than 30 years in the self-taught field actively documenting these artists’ lives, environments and their works of art. Featured on All Things Considered and other National Public Radio segments, she has lectured at museums coast to coast including the American Folk Art Museum in New York as well as the High Museum in Atlanta. Marcia’s knowledge of this field coupled with her close proximity to many of the best-known Southern self-taught artists through their most productive years gives her a unique perspective in this field. She clearly enjoys the challenge of selecting masterpieces from artist’s studios and seasoned collections and placing them throughout the world.
Museum Panel Discussion on Donations
Karen Avery joined PBS as Senior Director of Institutional Giving of the PBS Foundation, in January 2011. In this role, she is responsible for increasing support from the foundation and corporate sectors for PBS priorities and programs. Before PBS, she spent seven years as Director of Foundation Relations at the Smithsonian Institution, and served as Chairperson of the Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center Board of Directors for three of those years.
Prior to joining the Smithsonian, Avery was Assistant Dean of Harvard College, and also worked for many years as a Senior Admissions Officer at Harvard. Avery received her M.Ed. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education with a concentration in administration, planning and social policy, and her A.B. from Harvard in psychology and social relations. She is a contributing author to Real Women, Real Leaders, Publisher John Wiley & Sons, © 2015. She currently serves on the Wolf Trap Associates Board of Directors and she resides in Alexandria, VA with a husband, two kids (17 and 14), and one crazy dog.
– Karen Wawrzaszek, Rockefeller Capital Management
– James Philip Head, Esq., Williams Mullen
Additional Panelists to be Announced
A Dialogue on Cultural Property Challenges – Panelists to be Announced
– Impact of the Trump Tax Plan on Charitable Contributions, Daniel Ruttenberg Esq., CPA, – SmolenPlevy
Schedule is subject to change and may include additional speakers.
Hillwood & Fabergé Tour
The FAE had the privilege to tour the Estate, Gardens, and Mansion of Marjorie Merriweather Post. Holdings in the estate include an exquisite 20th Century collection. Some objects to expect are Russian Sacred Arts; 18th Century French furniture, Beauvais tapestries and Sevres porcelain; Dutch paintings; Aubusson carpet, mosaic dining table, and the list goes on and on. The morning also included a guided tour of Hillwood’s exclusively curated exhibition: Faberge Rediscovered on view June 9, 2018 – January 13, 2019.