Archive Page 2

23
Jan
17

How the Artisans of Today Get their Inspiration from California Auctions

Artists, artisans, and creators are on a constant lookout for sources of inspiration. They’re searching for the next big idea that will drive them, as well as the spark that will ignite the flame of their ingenuity and creativity. In this vein, they often discover and channel inspiration from the past, from masters who paved the way in many different mediums. One of the most inspiring periods for many artisans is the 17th century.

Inspirational pieces from this period include everything from paintings and drawings, to sculpture and needlework, to clothing and architecture, to textile design, furniture design, and even book design. There are many examples of all of these items on the Internet and in books, but there are places artists can go where they can see these historic objects up close and in person. These places include art and antiques auctions in California.

MARY DeNEALE MORGAN

MARY DeNEALE MORGAN (Californian 1868-1948) “California Coastal Dunes” Watercolor on board

 

 

Inspiration-Gathering at California Auctions: Suggestions

Gathering inspiration is always a personal process, but there are tried-and-true ways to do it that have worked consistently for many artists and artisans. The number one rule that applies to inspiration-gathering, however, is that there are no rules. There is no limit to where an idea may come from because inspiration is everywhere.

The Value of In-Person Viewing

At auction houses, items up for sale may be displayed in a main gallery or showroom up to the point of sale. This gives people a chance to view and inspect them before bidding, but it also affords artisans and creatives a unique opportunity to interact with rare, historic, or valuable pieces from the past in person. Viewing something in real life is far different from looking at a picture of it on the web or in a book, and a whole new cache of ideas may spring from seeing an art piece or historic item in 3D.

 

Spanish Baroque Style Trestle Table with Iron Stretchers

Spanish Baroque Style Trestle Table with Iron Stretchers

Questions to Ask to Generate New Ideas

With these things in mind, collecting inspiration depends on what intrigues a particular person, not to mention what stands out to them about an object, situation, person, place, or idea. However, some people need a push to get them thinking in a way that generates new concepts. Here are some thoughts that may be helpful when pursuing the muse at auction houses:

What story does the piece depict? Are there multiple possible stories?

Look at the evidence of wear on the item, if any. Note its condition. What does this say about the usefulness of the piece? Try to imagine what kind of people would have used it, and in what ways.

Think about the value of the piece. If it is a painting or art object, why is it valuable? If it is a furniture piece or other “useful” item, why is it so treasured today?

Note the colors in or on the piece. How are they related — are they primary or secondary colors, for instance? Do they evoke nature? Think about why the artist or artisan chose them.

Is there a recurring pattern or motif on the object? What is it?

These questions are relevant when viewing any item or art piece for inspiration, not just 17th century or antique pieces. With the right mindset, inspiration can be drawn from any decade.

Save

Save

 
18
Jan
17

How the Designs of the Past Influence Trends of the Future

Trends come in cycles. It’s apparent in everything from fashion to interior design to art and lifestyle movements. They do come about as reactions to past trends and ways of living, but many trends are simply recycled versions of what came before. Seasoned designers understand this cycle and use it to their advantage. This is why art auctions are so valuable in the design world.

Ostervig Rosewood Dining Set

Ostervig Rosewood Dining Set

What’s Old Becomes New Again

Many trends hearken back to past decades for inspiration. Interior designers know how these trends come about and in many cases can even predict them. They additionally understand the fundamental aspects of classic trends that repeat themselves over the years. These aspects include functionality, simplicity, and balance. When pieces from history resurface at auction with some combination of these attributes, they will look good well into the future in addition to right now. Seasoned interior designers can spot these hallmarks of classic design from a mile away.

Art Auctions Offer the Best of Old Trends Making a Comeback

Classic furniture and decor will never go out of style. These are crafted from sturdy, fine materials like wood, stone, and metal, and have simple lines. If they do have details, they are elegant and not over-the-top. Auctions are a treasure chest for finding items like these, ones that will look good in any home. One of the reasons for this is that people tend to keep what’s timeless, and so an item is handed from person to person and lives a long life before eventually making its way onto an auction block.

However, trendy pieces are also hallmarks at an auction. Consider the mid-century modern trend, which finds its roots in the 1950s and 60s. New pieces are being manufactured and sold in modern stores that exactly mirror pieces from 60 years ago. Go to an auction, however, and one can find original mid-century modern furniture made in the era that birthed it.

Pair of Knoll Mies Van der Rohe Brown Leather Upholstered Barcelona Chairs

Pair of Knoll Mies Van der Rohe Brown Leather Upholstered Barcelona Chairs

Good Designers Respect the Past

No décor was created in a vacuum. All design springs from inspiration from other sources. Good interior designers are well aware of this fact and use it to their advantage. They have respect for original pieces from past eras that are in style again, and they understand how past trends can morph into something new.

Art Auctions are one of the best places to find where trends start, or where inspiration for new trends is born in the first place. This format specializes in the sale of the unique, the historic, the valuable, and the special. At auction, what is old and has potentially lost its value for one person transforms into something new and full of value for someone else. In this vein, good interior designers are able to see the potential in objects, art, furniture, and the like that perhaps have not made it back onto the trend radar. In these instances, a new trend might be in the wings.

 
13
Dec
16

Reasons Why Buying Antiques from Estate Liquidators is a Good Investment

Antiques, whether this includes furniture, art, paintings, or objects that once served a practical use but are now decorative, are a good investment. This is true for many reasons. Those who purchase antiques from auctions and estate liquidators will soon find out just how well they spent their money. These reasons have everything to do with history, longevity, quality, style, and stories.

Italian Neoclassical Marquetry Walnut Commode

Italian Neoclassical Marquetry Walnut Commode

The Value of Antiques for Modern Life

They Each Have a Story

Antiques have had a whole life before buyers swoop in to give them new ones. They probably had multiple owners; sat, hung, or were placed in multiple locations, homes, and rooms; and maybe even had multiple purposes beyond their intended uses. An antique chair could have been someone’s favorite reading spot 100 years ago, or where the head of a family sat for dinner every evening, 150 years ago. Sometimes the stories are known, and sometimes they aren’t, but in the latter cases, it’s satisfying to imagine what they are.

They Have History

Besides stories, antiques have a history. They were made in a different time, a different place, and a different era with manners, customs, etiquette, and ideas that are quite possibly long gone. Their history reveals what was important, worth noticing and remembering, to the people who made them and cherished them.

They’re Well-Made

Antiques have lasted throughout the years, sometimes hundreds of years, for a reason. They were probably crafted by hand with care and attention. This craftsmanship is a very good sign that they will last for a few hundred more years.

Granted, antiques require care. However, the fact that an object has stood the test of time in the first place is a good marker of its continued lasting quality. Better yet, even if an antique acquires a few scratches, marks, scuffs, or dings along the way during its long life, most antique enthusiasts will tell you that these are simply marks of character.

They’re Timeless

Some trends never go out of style. There’s a reason antiques look classic in any room and any situation. Their construction, lines, and design are timeless. They defy trends. These are wonderful pieces to add to a home’s décor for this reason. The investment is returned through the years of use the antique will provide, not to mention the enduring beauty it will afford. Some antiques, like wooden furniture, even get better with age as they acquire a patina.

Watson Art Nouveau Sterling Silver Three Piece Epergne

Watson Art Nouveau Sterling Silver Three Piece Epergne

Antiques from Estate Liquidators Have Enduring Value

While purchasing an antique piece is an investment, it is one that usually pays off. Antiques have the advantage of being well-made, which has helped them to last through multiple ownerships and all kinds of different uses. They also have a history as well as stories attached to them, which perhaps makes them more special than the run-of-the-mill items one might find at a big box store or furniture outlet. When one purchases an antique, they are truly buying quality as well as a piece of that history for themselves.

Save

 
07
Dec
16

5 Unique Items That Only Could Have Been Sold at Auction

Auctions regularly sell items that are unique, mysterious, intriguing, or just plain weird. The selling platform is perfect for these kinds of objects, as usually they were once part of someone’s collection or an eccentric’s estate. There is no other place in the world where items of both enduring value and unique provenance are bought and sold. Some examples of one-of-a-kind items sold at auction illustrate exactly why art auctioneers are the perfect place to find a gem with a story behind it.

Thirty Nine Bushnell Foto Co. Glass Negative Plates From The 1906 San Francisco Earthquake

Thirty Nine Bushnell Foto Co. Glass Negative Plates From The 1906 San Francisco Earthquake

One-of-a-Kind Items Sold by Art Auctioneers

Winston Churchill’s Set of False Teeth

He was the British prime minister during World War II, and Winston Churchill remains revered for his leadership during that time. He is perhaps the most famous prime minister ever to hold office in Britain, as he led his country to contribute to an Allied victory. Unsurprisingly, his dentures went for a steep price tag when they were sold at auction in 2010. According to the Daily Mail, the set of upper false teeth sold for 15,200 pounds.

The Violin That Serenaded the Sinking Titanic

A famous piece of the legend of the sinking Titanic involves a violinist leading his fellow band members in a rendition of “Nearer My God to Thee” in order to calm the panicked passengers. That man’s name was Wallace Hartley, who eventually died when the ship sank. His violin went up for auction in 2013. According to BBC News, it sold in just 10 minutes for a grand total of 900,000 pounds.

A Stuffed Ostrich from 1785

Representative of the opulence of the famous courts of the 18th century, a giant taxidermy ostrich from Italy’s “Little Versailles,” circa 1785, sold at a Christie’s “Out of the Ordinary” auction in London for $33,150. According to Christie’s, the bird measured 82.5 inches high — equivalent to almost seven feet tall – and was enclosed in an elegant walnut case.

This sale, in particular, is a prime example of some of the weird and wonderful items that can be found when one purchases from art auctioneers. Some of the other items included in the sale were a Victorian Gothic coffin stand, a bronze death mask of Napoleon, and a taxidermy peacock.

An Andy Warhol Line Graph

Pop artist Andy Warhol is famous for his Campbell’s Soup cans and his Marilyn Monroe screen prints, but one of his lesser-known works is a line graph drawing that depicts the U.S. unemployment rate from 1980 to 1984. Whether or not it was meant to be art is a mystery, but it sold at auction nevertheless for $32,500.

A Partially-Fossilized Elephant Bird Egg

Now extinct, the elephant bird of Madagascar was the largest bird of all time. The species could reach heights of 10 feet and weigh as much as 880 pounds, according to ZME Science. The elephant bird died out in the 17th century due to excessive hunting. One of these bird’s massive eggs, measuring roughly 9 inches in diameter and over a foot long, was sold at auction in 2013.

Save

 
30
Nov
16

Using Art Auction Houses as a Source for Interior Decorating

Auctions aren’t just for collectors. They aren’t even just for those with a lot of money. Surprisingly, more and more interior decorators are using art auction houses as a source for finding unique furniture and décor for their design clients. The right unique piece can add the perfect element of surprise and interest to any room, and savvy interior designers know this very well. Auction houses are treasure troves for art, antique pieces, items of historical value, and more — any of which can be used as décor.

Sevres Style New Haven Clock Co. Gilt Metal Porcelain Mounted Clock Garniture

Sevres Style New Haven Clock Co. Gilt Metal Porcelain Mounted Clock Garniture

Reasons to Use Art Auction Houses as Sources for Interior Decorating

Most People Love the Idea of Owning Something One-of-a-Kind

Owning something no one else has, or something that is very rare, makes most people feel important and special. It’s something they can boast about, and it signifies their cultured status. The idea of the piece is just as important as the piece itself.

A Big Design Trend Has People Looking Backward

A design trend that is not going away anytime soon is vintage decorating. Large swathes of people enjoy combing flea markets and antique malls in search of unique items for their homes, ones they won’t find in modern stores. However, often a trip to a thrift store or flea market amounts to little more than sifting through piles of junk. In contrast, auction houses provide the best of both worlds: uniqueness and value. If something is not very desirable, it will not sell for much money. Truly valuable pieces go for higher amounts. Time is not wasted on items that belong at the garbage dump. Most of the items have historical value if not monetary value.

Auction Pieces Add Character to an Otherwise Bland Interior

Modern homes often suffer from a certain amount of sterility. They usually lack the architectural detail of homes built earlier in the 20th century, and can all appear alike. Interior decorators who wisely insert unique pieces from auctions into their designs bring life and character to these otherwise bland spaces. The resulting look is warmer and more inviting than could be achieved with modern furniture and décor alone.

French Walnut Standing Cheval Mirror

French Walnut Standing Cheval Mirror

Mixing Style is an Effortless Design Trick

Designers who boldly mix styles of art, décor, and furniture create an effortlessly stylish look for their clients. For example, mixing 19th century antique chairs with a modern table, or using a vintage trunk as a coffee table or end table with a modern couch. This juxtaposition creates interest, not to mention serves as a conversation starter. This design technique therefore proves to be anything but boring.

The art of using unique pieces to accent interior design is an old designer’s trick. However, sourcing these pieces can often prove difficult. In these cases, auctions can be an indispensable source for purchasing the perfect one-of-a-kind find, artwork, antique, or collectible item that sets off a room’s style and acts as the finishing touch.

Save

Save

 
23
May
16

Charles in Charge

Loft looking a little bare?  Furnishings by world-renowned dealer Charles & Charles will now be sold exclusively at Michaan’s Auctions.  Michaan’s has been selected as the only venue to handle the liquidation of Charles & Charles remaining inventory, as the firm is closing their showroom doors after 40 years. This auction collection will offer many excellent buying opportunities, as estimates will be mere fractions of Charles & Charles original retail prices.

Cal King walnut veneer and brass hardware bed.

Cal King walnut veneer and brass hardware bed.

 

English country sheesham dining refectory table.

English country sheesham dining refectory table.

 

Upholstered armchair.

Upholstered armchair.

 

Brushed chrome adjustable desk lamp.

Brushed chrome adjustable desk lamp.

 

Ostrich print.

Ostrich print.

 

Solid walnut and cast iron planter.

Solid walnut and cast iron planter.

 

For more information on this exciting auction series, Charles & Charles inventory to be offered, as well as assistance with placing a bid, please call (510) 740-0220 ext. 0, e-mail info@michaans.com or visit us on the web at www.michaans.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 
12
May
16

Michaan’s June 2016 Fine Sales: Don’t Box Me In

From historic ties…

Pocket watch of captain Myles Standish with provenance package (June 13, $50,000-100,000).

Pocket watch from the family of captain Myles Standish with provenance package (June 13, $5,000-7,000).

 

…to gems at half bloom.

Tremblant diamond, enamel and 18 karat yellow gold articulated flower brooch (June 13, lot 2040, $4,000-6,000).

Tremblant diamond, enamel and 18 karat yellow gold articulated flower brooch (June 13, lot 2040, $4,000-6,000).

 

Fine artists of the Philippines…

Vicente Manansala oil painting Preparing Dinner (June 13, $80,000-120,000).

Vicente Manansala oil painting Preparing Dinner (June 13, $80,000-120,000).

Fernando Cueto Amorsolo oil painting Portrait of a Woman (June 13, $20,000-30,000).

Fernando Cueto Amorsolo oil painting Portrait of a Woman (June 13, $20,000-30,000).

 

…to a rare light at the table…

Pair of Tiffany Studios Jeweled candlesticks (June 13, $37,500-42,500).

Pair of Tiffany Studios Jeweled candlesticks (June 13, $37,500-42,500).

 

…and into the spirit world.

Yup’ik shaman spirit mask accompanied by two artworks (June 13, $15,000-20,000).

Yup’ik shaman spirit mask accompanied by two artworks (June 13, $15,000-20,000).

 

An impressive work by a modern master…

Pang Jiun oil painting Wild Chrysanthemums (June 20, lot 9236, $40,000-60,000).

Pang Jiun oil painting Wild Chrysanthemums (June 20, lot 9236, $40,000-60,000).

 

…as well as the beauty of traditional Asian art.

Chen Baochang enameled porcelain plaques (June 20, lot 9196, $4,000-6,000).

Chen Baochang enameled porcelain plaques (June 20, lot 9196, $4,000-6,000).

 

Please join us on June 13th for the fine jewelry, art, furnishings and decorative arts auction and on June 20th for the Fine Asian Works of Art auction!

 
18
Mar
16

Pritikin’s Pets: Trio of Bufano Animal Sculptures Debut at Michaan’s

The Pritikin Museum, a private, not-for-profit institution located on Chenery Street, is one of the largest private estates in the city of San Francisco. The Pritikin Museum at Chenery House’s art collection was recently estimated to be valued at over $50 million, accounting for a mishmash of different periods, styles and curiosities. Michaan’s Inspiring Interiors auction of April 8, 2016 highlights three excellent Beniamino Bufano sculptures from the Pritikin consignment, kicking off offerings stemming from the institution’s collection. The animal depictions, streamlined, stylized and elegant, include the stone Mole (lot 2300, $10,000-15,000), the carved marble Owl (lot 2298, $10,000-15,000) and bronze Partridge (lot 2299, $8,000-12,000).

Mole (lot 2300, $10,000-15,000)

Mole (lot 2300, $10,000-15,000)

 

Owl (lot 2298, $10,000-15,000)

Owl (lot 2298, $10,000-15,000)

 

Partridge (lot 2299, $8,000-12,000)

Partridge (lot 2299, $8,000-12,000)

Select Asian works of art, collectibles and fine art from the Pritikin consignment will also be made available in Michaan’s estate auction of April the 9th, one day after the Inspiring Interiors sale. Additional Pritikin lots will also be sold in Michaan’s May estate auction, with a William Trego oil painting titled Fort Haskell 1865 ($20,000-25,000) debuting in the June fine sale as well. The illustrated auction catalogs will be posted online at www.michaans.com when they become available. Previews for the Inspiring Interiors auction will be held on April the 2nd, 3rd and the 8th, the day of sale. Previews for the April estate auction will be held on the 2nd, 3rd, 8th and 9th, the day of sale. For general information please call (510) 740-0220 ext. 0 or e-mail info@michaans.com. Michaan’s Auctions is located at 2751 Todd Street, Alameda, CA 94501.

 
08
Mar
16

California Auctions are Really Exciting

Let’s face it; if you are a collector of the most beautiful and rare stuff, whether it is exquisite antiques or masterful artwork, you will need to participate in the auctions to obtain the rarest items.

The really rare and wonderful things in the world are almost always sold by auction.

The auction process is not for the faint of heart, because you will be going up against others that are well- funded and maybe even more well- funded than you are when the richest of the rich want something, they will pay whatever it is necessary to get it.

The billionaires use brokers to make bids for them so they can, for the most part, remain anonymous. Every once in a while the story leaks out about who the actual bidder was that won the rare item at an extraordinary high auction price.

One example of this, is when Bill Gates, through a broker paid US $30.8 million for a set of hand written notes, called the “Codex Leicester,” made by Leonardo Da Vinci. Gates bought this notebook in 1994. He was a billionaire at the time, but still paid over thirty million for such ancient hand scribbled notes. This does seem slightly eccentric.

Auctions of the Most Rare Stuff Make History

Buying something at an auction for a price that seems outlandish is a bit about getting bragging rights and beating the other bidders. When a Van Gough painting sold for over $82.5 million at an auction in 1990, this news made world headlines. Please note that the only painting Van Gough ever sold while he was alive was one bought by his brother Theo for just the equivalent of a few dollars. Van Gough died as an insane, poor person, that never for any recognition whatsoever for his creativity while he was alive.

Sticker Shock

If the price of the Van Gough paining impresses, just look at what happened since then:

10. EDVARD MUNCH “The Scream”, painted in 1895, sold in 1992 for $119.9 million
9. GUSTAV KLIMT “Adele Bloch- bauer I”, painted in 1907, sold in 2006 for $135 million
8. ILLEM DE KOONING “Woman III”, painted in 1952-53, sold in 2006 for $137.5 million
7. JACKSON POLLOCK “Number 5, 1948”, painted in 1948, sold in 2006 for $140 million
6. Francis Bacon “Three Studies of Lucian Freud” Painted in 1969, sold in 2013 for $145 million
5. PABLO PICASSO “La Réve (The Dream)”, painted in 1932, sold in 2013 for $157.5 million
4. AMEDEO MODIGLIANI “Nu couché (reclining Nude)”, Painted in 1917-18 , sold in    2015 for $170.4 million
3. PABLO PICASSO “Les Femmes d’Alger (Version “O”)”, painted in 1955, sold in 2015 for $179.4 million
2. PAUL CÉZANNE “The Card Players”, painted in 1892/1893, sold in 2011 for $250 million

And the highest price paid so far for a single painting is….

1. PAUL GAUGUIN “Nafea faa ipoipo? (When will you marry?)”, painted in 1892, sold in 2015 for $300 million.

All we can say is WOW!

 
04
Mar
16

Buying Art at Auction Instead of a Gallery

Auctions are typically a wonderful way to access artworks from private and institutional collections that have a known provenance. However, not all auctions and art auctioneers are created equal, and there are many factors that make purchasing art at auction different from buying out of a commercial gallery.

The Ability to Plan

With commercial galleries and even at art fairs, buyers may not know in advance what the dealer has available or what additional inventory he or she may have. An auction, on the other hand, allows purchasers to plan and research potential pieces of interest in advance. Art auctioneers publish catalogs of upcoming sales and the items included, so that potential buyers will be able to make a plan before attending the sale.

The Buyer’s Premium

Depending on the auction platform, buyers will likely be responsible for paying an additional fee—or buyer’s premium—that will be a percentage of the final hammer price. Sometimes these amounts are set percentages while other houses may cap premiums at a certain amount, particularly when handling high value sales.

A Central Marketplace

Particularly in art, auctions can serve as a transparent marketplace for purchasers. While commercial galleries may never release sales figures, auction houses will typically post the information publicly following a sale.

At the same time, it can be impossible to figure out what budgets a gallery caters to without knowing each artist’s individual market, so an auction may allow purchasers of all budgets access to a range of works across different styles.

Research Resources

Since art auctioneers publish catalogs before sales, potential buyers have the opportunity to do in-depth research on the artists or work they are interested in. This may mean accessing an online database to see past sales history, or talking with professionals in the art field about the specifics of a piece.

Furthermore, works at auction will typically come with appraisals and provenance details for each work. This allows purchasers both before and after a sale to know how long the work has been available, where it has been shown, and any prominent collections or institutions it has been part of.

 



Switch to our mobile site