Robert Rauschenberg (American, 1925-2008), a master of Abstract Expressionism and pop art. Photo courtesy of Morris Museum of Art.

Morris Museum of Art to reinstall Rauschenberg’s August Allegory (Anagrams)

Robert Rauschenberg (American, 1925-2008), a master of Abstract Expressionism and pop art. Photo courtesy of Morris Museum of Art.

Robert Rauschenberg (American, 1925-2008), a master of Abstract Expressionism and pop art. Photo courtesy of Morris Museum of Art.

AUGUSTA, Ga. – On Sept. 21, in celebration of Augusta’s inaugural Westobou Festival, the Morris Museum of Art will unveil Robert Rauschenberg’s August Allegory (Anagrams) in its new location in the auditorium lobby on the museum’s first floor.

“Rauschenberg was undeniably one of the great figures in American art,” said Louise Keith Claussen, Director of Fine Arts at Morris Communications Co. and former director of the Morris Museum of Art, “and we are very fortunate to have some of his works in the collection of the Morris Museum, particularly fortunate to have a major work that is specific to Augusta, Georgia.”

Commissioned in 1996 and completed in 1997, Rauschenberg’s August Allegory is an extremely large – roughly 5 by 12 feet – work on paper, a montage, printed in vegetable dyes, created from the artist’s original photographs. Rauschenberg, working in collaboration with his partner Darryl Pottorf and assisted by the Morris’s former deputy director Rick Gruber, conducted the original shoot during a three-day visit to Augusta. Details of the work-in-progress appeared in the September 1996 issue of Vogue magazine in an article on the artist and his career.

Claussen, director of the museum when the Rauschenberg was commissioned, wrote recently that “the work reflects his response to both the details and spirit of Augusta as he saw it, and elements include several church steeples, Springfield Church, Sacred Heart Cultural Center, a 19th-century textile mill, the Confederate monument, a railroad bridge, an antebellum home, Augusta bricks, the ‘haunted pillar,’ and the feet of the bronze sculpture of Arnold Palmer.”

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Eva Zeisel designed these porcelain vases with iridescent glaze for Zsolnay. They were produced in 1999. Image courtesy of Erie Art Museum.

Eva Zeisel exhibition dates announced

Eva Zeisel designed these porcelain vases with iridescent glaze for Zsolnay. They were produced in 1999. Image courtesy of Erie Art Museum.

Eva Zeisel designed these porcelain vases with iridescent glaze for Zsolnay. They were produced in 1999. Image courtesy of Erie Art Museum.

Eva Zeisel revolutionized ceramic design by bringing her own vision of modernism into American middle-class homes with dinnerware created for Hallcraft, Sears and Red Wing. The prolific designer is the subject of an exhibition by the Erie Museum of Art that will begin a three-stop national tour in September.

The Shape of Life by Eva Zeisel will be at the Tyler Museum of Art, Tyler, Texas, from Sept. 12 through Dec. 9, 2008; the Asheville Art Museum, Asheville, N.C., Jan. 30 through May 17, 2009; and the Hoyt Institute of Fine Arts, New Castle, Pa., October through December, 2009.

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Sweeping changes ahead as eBay pushes fixed-price selling

SAN JOSE, Calif. (ACNI) – For some time, now, rumors have been circulating quietly within the auction community that eBay was planning to make a gradual shift from – if not completely eliminate – its traditional timed-auction format in favor of a fixed-price platform. While the online giant’s top brass insist that there are no plans to abandon timed auctions, an Aug. 20 statement from Lorrie Norrington, president of eBay Marketplace, confirms that a decided move toward the Buy It Now™ method is firmly on the company’s radar.


In the aforementioned statement, Norrington announces “some bold changes” designed to lower up-front costs and help eBayers to sell more efficiently. If successful, those changes – to be implemented on Sept. 16 – may spirit defectors back to eBay, which has been losing market share to Internet shopping sites. Increasingly, buyers preferring instant gratification, i.e., not having to wait up to 10 days for an eBay auction to end and a selling price to be established, have been turning to other mega-retailers, such as eBay nemesis amazon.com.

Norrington said the plan to be rolled out includes reducing the up-front cost to list an item on eBay, with the bulk of fees shifting to the auction’s close. That way, Norrington said, fees “align with (the seller’s) success.” From Sept. 16, the listing fee for all items entered on eBay via the fixed-price format will be reduced to 35 cents, with even lower fees applying to books, video games and other articles that fall under the Media category. The final value fee is where eBay will make its money.

In addition to the price change, Buy It Now™ listings will now appear on the eBay site for up to 30 days, an increase from the previous seven days. According to Norrington, the combination of lowered up-front fees and longer exposure time on eBay equates to a 70 percent reduction in listing fees on fixed-price items. There will be no changes, however, to auction-style listings. “We believe this format is already a good deal, especially when you list with a low start price,” Norrington said. She also offered the assurance that “auctions will always have a place on eBay – they are a proven way for sellers to get the best value for their unique items, and they continue to receive significant exposure…”

Other features to be introduced this fall include free shipping incentives in all categories, free subtitle listings and a faster, more reliable electronic checkout process that will put an end to payment by check or money order. Those two forms of payment will no longer be accepted on eBay because, Norrington said, history has shown that these methods are “80 percent more likely to result in an item not [being] received” than if paid for with a credit card of PayPal. An exception will be made, at the seller’s discretion, for items that are picked up locally by the purchaser.

As of Nov. 1, sellers will also have to meet a new minimum DSR [Detailed Seller Rating], another protocol intended to reduce the possibility of fraudulent activity in eBay transactions. “Today, only a small fraction of sellers fall below the threshold that will be required of sellers under the new rule, said Norrington, “yet they are responsible for a high percentage of customer complaints…”

EBay hosted a series of Webinars on Aug. 20 and 21 to explain the fine points of upcoming changes. A final Webinar, which is open to the public through eBay’s Web site, will be held on Thursday, Aug. 26 at 1 p.m. Pacific Time, 4 p.m. Eastern Time.

Click here to read additional information at the Community News section of www.ebay.com.

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Yo-yo vase in Coral Firs pattern

Major Clarice Cliff pottery collection heisted in UK

Yo-yo vase in Coral Firs pattern

Yo-yo vase in Coral Firs pattern

BATLEY, ENGLAND – Police in West Yorkshire, England are investigating a major theft of Clarice Cliff Art Deco pottery from an upscale retail establishment in the town of Batley. According to Detective Constable Sophie Lawrence of Dewsbury CID, the apparently premeditated theft of approximately 55 articles – mostly Clarice Cliff pottery, with the addition of three Lalique bowls, bronzes and an Etling bowl – occurred either late on the night of July 25 or in the early morning hours of July 26.

The items were taken from Muir Hewitt Art Deco Originals, a shop located on the top floor of Redbrick Mill, a stylishly refurbished four-story shopping complex at 218 Bradford Road in Batley. The stolen goods are valued at approximately $150,000.

Police say that, in what has become an all-too-familiar pattern, the thieves probably hid somewhere in the Redbrick Mill after the shops had closed for the night, made their entry into Muir Hewitt’s shop, then exited through a fire escape with the stolen articles.

Muir Hewitt’s Clarice Cliff collection was built over a 25-year period and contains several extremely rare and distinctive examples. One of the most valuable items stolen, a yo-yo vase in the Coral Firs pattern, is pictured here, along with other key pieces.

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Later dates chosen for Britain’s 2008 LAPADA show

LONDON – Now in its fifth year, the Autumn Antiques and Fine Art Fair, held in association with LAPADA (London & Provincial Antiques Dealers Assn.) has become an annual showcase for 60 professional dealers of fine art and antiques. This year the show’s management advises the event will take place a month later than usual, and will be held Thursday, Nov. 27 through Sunday, Nov. 30 at The Centaur, Cheltenham Racecourse in Cheltenham, England.

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Orioles Commemorative Pin. Image By Catherine Saunders-Watson

Orioles-Yankees fans receive surprise collectible at Aug. 23 game in Baltimore

Orioles Commemorative Pin. Image By Catherine Saunders-Watson

Orioles Commemorative Pin. Image By Catherine Saunders-Watson

BALTIMORE (ACNI) – Fans passing through the entry gates at Oriole Park on Saturday, Aug. 23, received an unexpected and very collectible surprise: a handsome enameled pin commemorating the Baltimore Orioles’ 100 millionth home game fan. Based on pre-season sales, the legendary baseball team’s management knew exactly which ticket from which game marked the milestone, and based on that knowledge, arranged for special shield-form pins to be created for each fan in attendance on Saturday evening.

The orange, black and silvery white pins say “Memorial Stadium – Oriole Park” and “100 Millionth Fan.” Each pin was affixed to a glossy, light cardboard backing that says, in part, “This pin commemorates the game in 2008 that the 100 millionth fan attended…” It also states: “From 1954 through 1991, Memorial Stadium hosted nearly 50 million fans, and earlier this season, Oriole Park at Camden Yards passed the 50 million mark in just its 17th season.”

Who was the lucky 100 millionth fan? Velma Greene, a middle school teacher from Fairfax County, Va., who wore team colors to the on-field ceremony in which she was presented with a gift – a $100,000 check, courtesy of the Orioles and the Maryland Lottery. An ecstatic Greene also received season tickets to Orioles home games for five years plus an immediate VIP upgrade for that night’s game.

While Orioles supporters may have gone home disappointed over their team’s 5-3 loss to the Yankees, at least each of them had a nifty pinback to serve as a consolation prize. Limited-edition mementos are something fans would expect in Baltimore, since the Orioles’ minority owner, Stephen A. Geppi, is a collectibles-minded guy. Geppi heads an empire that includes auction companies, licensed merchandise production, and comic book and price guide publishing.

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Scrimshaw artist William A. Gilpin depicted a Jack Tar sailor standing atop a whale on one side of a sperm whale tooth. Image courtesy of Sotheby’s New York.

Whale’s tooth pinpoints identity of scrimshaw artist William A. Gilpin

Scrimshaw artist William A. Gilpin depicted a Jack Tar sailor standing atop a whale on one side of a sperm whale tooth. Image courtesy of Sotheby’s New York.

Scrimshaw artist William A. Gilpin depicted a Jack Tar sailor standing atop a whale on one side of a sperm whale tooth. Image courtesy of Sotheby’s New York.

NEW YORK – “Thar she blows!”

This fabled cry of 19th-century whalers will be heard Sept. 26 when Sotheby’s New York will offer one of the most important works of scrimshaw to be discovered in the last decade. The rare piece of American folk art is a scrimshaw sperm whale’s tooth engraved by William A. Gilpin on board the ship Ceres, sailing out of Wilmington, Del.

Engraved by Gilpin in 1835 while at sea, the scrimshaw tooth has been proclaimed as a key to unlocking the mysteries of a historic and highly regarded series of scrimshaw sperm whales’ teeth.

The exquisite work is estimated to bring $40,000-$60,000 and will be on exhibition in Sotheby’s New York galleries beginning Sept. 20.

The current owner received the tooth as a holiday gift from an elderly friend. As an American history enthusiast he was struck by its beauty and obvious age, but had no knowledge of its true significance. After having displayed the tooth for more than 25 years in his home, he took the advice of a collector friend and had it appraised by experts.

Dr. Stuart M. Frank, senior curator of the New Bedford Whaling Museum, said, “Every now and then a watershed piece shows up that is not only an aesthetic tour-de-force but has unique and enduring historical and iconographical significance that, in addition to being a thing of beauty, enlightens the genre and informs research. The so-called Ceres Tooth by William Gilpin is just such an outstanding piece.”

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Dr. Scott D. Gillogly displayed his ultimate Matchbox collection in built-in showcases.

Unmatched: Atlanta doctor to sell multi-million dollar Matchbox collection

Dr. Scott D. Gillogly displayed his ultimate Matchbox collection in built-in showcases.

Dr. Scott D. Gillogly displayed his ultimate Matchbox collection in built-in showcases.

Dr. Scott D. Gillogly is a prominent orthopedic surgeon in Atlanta. He is the head team physician for the Atlanta Thrashers NHL hockey team and the Atlanta Falcons NFL football team. Dr. Gillogly has specialized in sports medicine since completing a distinguished military career in the Army Medical Corps with the rank of lieutenant colonel. He received meritorious service commendations as chief of orthopedics at an evacuation hospital during Operations Desert Shield/Storm. As a cadet at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, Gillogly was captain and quarterback of the Army football team.

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Tenth edition of Morphy’s York Antique Toy, Doll, Holiday & Advertising Show slated for Aug. 23

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YORK, Pa. – On Saturday, Aug. 23, Dan Morphy will host the tenth edition of his Antique Toy, Doll, Holiday & Advertising Show at the Memorial Hall, York Fairgrounds, in York, Pa. The semiannual show has developed into a powerhouse event of 350 tables, with approximately 175 topnotch dealers from North America and Europe participating.


“This time it should be a good mix of our regular dealers, who are some of the best names in the business, and new dealers who’ve heard about the show’s reputation for being a fast, friendly selling event with a great selection of merchandise,” said Morphy. “It’s a highlight on the calendars of many dealers and collectors.”

Starting with the August edition, the York Toy Show returns to the Memorial Hall of the York Fairgrounds, the venue where it launched in 2002. Wide aisles, excellent food service and ample, close-in parking are features show attendees can look forward to at the Memorial Hall, Morphy said.

This stunning coffee table with free-edge buckeye burl top with natural occlusions and walnut base was made in 1981 and retained a copy of Nakashima’s original drawing. It brought a record $288,000 at a Sollo Rago sale on April 21, 2007. Image courtesy Sollo Rago Auctions.

Into the Woods: Nakashima Furniture

This stunning coffee table with free-edge buckeye burl top with natural occlusions and walnut base was made in 1981 and retained a copy of Nakashima’s original drawing. It brought a record $288,000 at a Sollo Rago sale on April 21, 2007. Image courtesy Sollo Rago Auctions.

This stunning coffee table with free-edge buckeye burl top with natural occlusions and walnut base was made in 1981 and retained a copy of Nakashima’s original drawing. It brought a record $288,000 at a Sollo Rago sale on April 21, 2007. Image courtesy Sollo Rago Auctions.

George Nakashima was an interpreter of trees, listening to the voice of nature and translating wood and bark into timeless furniture.

That’s part of the allure of Nakashima (1905-1990), the iconic artisan whose sinuous, realistic studies attract a growing crop of admirers.

“One of the enduring qualities of his work is his ability to communicate his love of wood to other people,” says Robert Aibel, who sells Nakashima furniture at Moderne Gallery in Philadelphia. “He made furniture that people live with – the dining room table where you eat, the rocker where you nurse your baby.” Nakashima was the most prolific and best-known figure of the American Studio Furniture Movement (1940-1990), an artistic renaissance born in the City of Brotherly Love that promoted craft as an antidote to mass-produced modern furniture. Nakashima’s workshop in nearby New Hope, Pa., produced 25,000 pieces ranging from two-legged Conoid chairs to the massive Peace Table at the Cathedral of John the Divine in Manhattan. Matt Freeman, who grew up a few miles from the studio, was raised with Nakashima furniture his parents used and enjoyed every day. He remembers the list of pieces getting taller as he did, eventually including a dining room table and chairs, end tables, cabinets and shelves.

“My parents weren’t overly protective about the furniture, but all the pieces are in pristine shape today, 40 years later,” he said. “Even as kids we had this quiet respect for the way they were made … They’d just sort of sit there quietly glowing. We’d set down our soda glasses and sticky lollipops somewhere else, not on the Nakashima.”

Like children, each tree has its own personality. Nakashima was the first to embrace the knotholes, fissures and splits in wood as wondrous expressions of nature rather than imperfections. While most furniture makers discard the thin, irregular ends of slabs, Nakashima integrated them into his designs. Known as “free edges,” those elements are factors in determining the value of a piece. Basically, the more free edges, the greater the value.

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