After the basic human needs of food, clothing, and shelter are met we seek to adorn in our homes and most intimately our bodies. The impulse for decoration and adornment has existed since time immemorial. Surely part of the display is to enhance the status of the person, but there is a deeper more significant need for adornment that is psychological- an expression of ourselves and personality – an expression of the way we see the world and our engagement with it. Our hunger for beauty is ultimately  a search for harmony – whether through tattoo, clothing, or jewelry, our bodies are the canvas for our most intimate of expressions.

At Neue you are encouraged to follow your passions and given helpful advice from our knowledgeable staff along the way to help you develop your eye. One of my personal passions is jewelry. I like to fantasize that I may have been a Maharaja in a former life – one can dream:) While the price of precious stones (diamond, ruby, emerald, sapphire) may leave some with sticker shock the beginning collector may find pleasure and affordability in equally beautiful semi precious stones.  Their virtue is not only in their apparent market value as an investment but practical as it can be worn.  Many stones also have metaphysical properties which benefit the wearer. For example, citrine draws  wealth and jade is a stone of strength and virtue and is gifted as a token of one’s esteem. So investigate the properties you aspire to or virtues you are trying to cultivate and follow your bliss and buy the best you can afford!

 

The 2019 Neue Gallery Presents season began with me speaking on the topic of Collecting 101. We had a lively crowd who enjoyed light bites and wine before we gathered around the front of the gallery. I was prepared to talk about facets of collecting that would be of interest to beginners, but after spending time with our guests, I discovered that most were seasoned collectors, so I quickly switched gears. In fact, June Greenwald was in the audience, how was I supposed to speak to this iconic woman who sat at the helm of her family antiques business for decades? What happened naturally was wonderful: we all began sharing stories about great auction buys, estates sales and stories from the old White Elephant Sale that was held every year in Cleveland. It was a reunion and a “best of” conversation for collectors!

I started with a story of a gorgeous antique Caucasian carpet that was part of the display at the White Elephant sale. It wasn’t the focus of the display; it was beneath items on display. I first walked, no, ran past it as I entered the sale. I made a hard stop after processing what I had seen and asked a volunteer to help me dismantle the lovely display so I could quickly roll it up and claim it. At this event you couldn’t make a pile of goodies and continue shopping unless someone you knew well worked there would watch your new found treasure. It was best to look out of yourself here and I carried my intended purchases around until check-out. I remember paying $600 for the carpet and that was a lot in 1995. I sold that carpet a few months later for $6000 to a prominent carpet dealer in Cincinnati. I didn’t become a carpet collector from the experience, but the extra cash certainly encouraged me to keep learning.

The next Neue Gallery Presents event will be presented by Bridget McWilliams and she’ll be talking about great collectors and how to live like one. Please join us  4/17 at 6:30 for an educational and fun evening with the Neue Auctions team.

We are thrilled to include this stunning work of art in our Spring auction. Sir Anthony Caro is one of Britains’ most distinguished artists. Known for his metal-smithed abstracted sculptures, Caro veered from his well known style to rediscover drawing and clay modeling in the summer of 1983, which resulted in a surprising collection of figurative works in the middle of his six decade career. This bronze, titled “Figure in Thought” created in 1987, is Concetta Branson, a professional model whom Caro sketched in the evenings at Triangle Workshop. He enjoyed this exercise so much that he sculpted her in clay the very next year. Drawing and modeling from life was a process Caro hadn’t enjoyed since his early academic career at the Royal Academy. Caro cast a series of seven life-size bronzes of Branson, each pose slightly different than the next. The poses were somewhat by chance because Caro focused on the process of creating art rather than the finished piece. Thus, he would drop handfuls of soft clay from a height and let them fall where they may on a platform. The rough and pitted surface invites us to consider the small crevices and shadows that make up the overall form. “Figure in Thought” is centered length-wise, facing forward with hips turned to the side, with a blue-green over black patina. It is listed in the Blume 10 volume Caro catalog raisonne, volume 8, #A-190. Though we known the name of the model, this faceless figure represents any woman and every woman in a relaxed moment lacking self awareness.

While buying art at auction isn’t the only way to purchase art, antiques and other unusual items, it is a fun and exciting way to begin your collection or to add to what you already have. While there can be a bit of learning curve, once you feel the adrenaline rush of competitive bidding you may become hooked. Here are 7 reasons why you should buy at auction

1. Constant Learning: Every auction brings together a diverse grouping of articles, often from random sources. This happenstance gives the auction goer an opportunity to see, inspect and buy items they may have been unfamiliar with, expanding your knowledge. Auction catalog descriptions are a great source of information.

2. First hand inspection : When you visit a museum you are not able to touch, inspect and handle works of art, but at an auction preview, you are! This up close, first hand inspection increases your understanding of the way an artist or artisan made something. Each time you inspect something by holding it your hands you add to your store of knowledge.

3. Unexpected Finds: Perhaps you wouldn’t have known that you were cuckoo for Paris Street scenes or Majolica Oyster Plates if you didn’t run across them at an auction preview. This can send you on a whole new collecting journey.

4. Support of Auction House Specialists: You are not alone. The specialists at the auction house are knowledgeable about the items being offered and are happy to answer questions about condition, authenticity, value, provenance and anything else you might wonder about. They are happy to advise.

5. Variety of Price Ranges: While you may hear about world record auction prices for a Basquiat or Matisse, auctions are a great source of affordable prices and bargains too. Why buy mass manufactured furnishings online when you can have a handmade piece with unique style for much less?!

6. Reuse/Recycle: Not much explanation needed here, when you buy at auction you help save the planet.

7. The Hunt, the Chase and the Possible Win: Sometimes the search is half the fun, but once you’ve found that wished for object or piece, you get to participate in competitive bidding, which always gets the heart pounding. The best way to win your lot is to bid live online as the lot sells. That way if you need to go beyond your limit a bid or two to achieve success you can assure yourself of a win.

Say YES! to the Auction!

Everyone wants recognition in some form or another; a kind word, flowers, a gift and often times a trophy if the circumstance affords it. Trophies are a reminder of an event for a special achievement. I love big old trophies from long ago for sporting events that nowadays, not many people still participate, such as Badminton and Croquet although we always played a hearty game of “wickets” when Uncle John and Aunt Wanda would visit.

To my delight, my business partner and friend Ron brought into the gallery a wonderful variety of vintage trophies for auction. Now, many are plated silver and some sterling silver, but that doesnʼt matter to me or to any collector of these handled chalices. For me itʼs the when, where and sometimes the why. I prefer antiques trophies or vintage ones from somewhere fancy like a well known private club that Iʼll never have membership, or even better, from Cleveland. It doesnʼt matter that much what the event was that the winner dominated, but the more obscure the better.

For the upcoming Spring auction, we have paired up a few of these lovelies to bid on and the winner definitely gets a trophy, or two. Many of these are more than 100 years old and are from the Cleveland Athletic Club, one from a competition at Luna Park and another from The Plain Dealer. Many are for relays and track, another for skating. I really love the three handled loving cup awarded by the Irish Society. Each one is beautifully engraved and dated.

Besides putting a little bit of history on display from places now long gone in your own cabinet, you can use a trophy as a vase for flowers or as an ice bucket. Iʼm trying to bring back the age-old etiquette of hostess gifting; a little something to give your host and hostess for the lovely evening youʼll undoubtedly have. I know many of my Cleveland friends would be grateful to receive one of these beauties with flowers.

The first Neue Gallery Presents focused on the art and science behind Indian miniature paintings was a hit. Special thanks to our generous expert, William R. Anderson from Carnegie Capital Management.

Guest Judi Engel summed it up best: “It was a wonderful mini-immersion experience. It was so nice to be surrounded by works about one specific topic, and be able to ask questions of an expert in a casual atmosphere, rather than trying to absorb and remember information on several subjects at once. It was such a treat to be up-close-and-personal with the works in such a welcoming space.”

Thank you Judi (and daughter Greta) and everyone who joined us for our first event.