Skinner taps Leah Kingman to direct 20th Century Design department

Skinner Auctioneers has appointed Leah Kingman as director of the 20th Century Design Department. Image courtesy of Skinner

Skinner Auctioneers has appointed Leah Kingman director of the 20th Century Design Department. Courtesy of Skinner

MARLBOROUGH, Mass. — Skinner Auctioneers announces the appointment of Leah Kingman as director of the 20th Century Design Department.

Kingman is an art historian, licensed auctioneer and specialist in 20th and 21st century design, where her areas of particular interest include hand-wrought silver and the Arts and Crafts movement in New England. Kingman previously worked as a specialist in Skinner’s European Furniture & Decorative Arts Department and the auction house is thrilled to welcome her back to the team.

“We know Leah, her skills and her energy. We’re familiar with the passion and expertise she brings to the field. It is with great excitement we welcome her return to Skinner in this important role,” said Karen Keane, the CEO of Skinner.

As Kingman returns to Skinner, she is excited to build upon her experience and apply her extensive expertise. Well versed in the Arts and Craft movement, Kingman’s command ranges from classical to modernist periods and styles. Setting her ambitions high, Kingman has identified growing department sales — both lots per year and the level of lots sold — as a major goal in the early period of her role.

Hitting the ground running, Kingman oversaw the online auction of Lighting & Design, running from Jan. 19-31. Featuring more than 336 lots, including items from designers such as Tiffany Studios and Stevens and Williams, the auction brought in slightly more than $665,000, and most of the lots matched or exceeded their estimates. For example, a Tiffany Studios Dragonfly Table Lamp more than doubled its $40,000 estimate, bringing in $87,500.

“It’s always exciting to see well-curated collections come up for sale like we did with this auction,” Kingman said, reflecting on its results. “The lighting section was particularly extensive. This was really an opportunity to see an impressive array of American lamps side by side. The strong results highlight continued interest in design movements from the turn of the century through Art Deco.”

Previously the Head of European Decorative Art at Eldred’s, another Massachusetts auction house, Kingman oversaw sales of European decorative arts and furniture, silver, jewelry and 20th century design. Silverware, in particular, became one of Kingman’s strengths, and in the course of nearly eight years at the auction house, she steadily grew sales in its silver auctions. Investing deeper in the auction experience, Kingman pursued auctioneering during that period, ultimately earning her auctioneer license. Among other professional highlights, Kingman oversaw the sale of a Patek Philippe watch for $260,000 during her tenure with Eldred’s.

Kingman holds an M.A. in art history from the University of Texas at Austin, with a focus on 18th- and 19th-century English art. As an undergraduate at Bates College she majored in art and visual culture, with a thesis on English textiles from 1851-1896.