Skinner Inc. announces move of headquarters to Marlborough, Mass.

BOSTON (ACNI) – Skinner Inc. will move from its longtime Bolton, Mass., headquarters to a spacious facility in nearby Marlborough, Mass., early next year. The newly purchased site will house the company’s corporate offices, suburban auction gallery and warehouse. The company’s city gallery, at 63 Park Plaza in Boston’s Back Bay, will continue to serve as a venue for sales of fine art, American and European furniture and decorative arts, and other categories for which Skinner has become well known.

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Fernand Leger's 1921 oil on canvas titled Woman and Child, missing from the Wellesley College Collection. A reward of $100,000 has been offered for its return. Copyright Wellesley College. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Wellesley museum loses prized 1921 Cubist painting by Fernand Leger

Fernand Leger's 1921 oil on canvas titled Woman and Child, missing from the Wellesley College Collection. A reward of $100,000 has been offered for its return. Copyright Wellesley College. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Fernand Leger’s 1921 oil on canvas titled Woman and Child, missing from the Wellesley College Collection. A reward of $100,000 has been offered for its return. Copyright Wellesley College. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

WELLESLEY, Mass. (AP) – Wellesley College has lost a 1921 painting by French cubist Fernand Leger that was likely worth millions of dollars, officials said.

Woman and Child had been in the collection of the college’s Davis Museum and Cultural Center since 1954. It vanished last year after it was one of 32 works borrowed for an exhibit at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art, The Boston Globe reported on Aug. 27.

“We’ve all wondered about it,” Jacqueline Marie Musacchio, associate professor of art at Wellesley, told the newspaper. “It’s a tremendous loss for the college, but, beyond that, we just don’t have a lot of information.”

Police were told, and the museum’s insurer, Travelers Insurance, has paid a claim. Last year, Leger’s paintings sold for an average of $2.8 million, and the newspaper quoted an unidentified Travelers official as saying the payout was “in that area.”

Travelers is offering a $100,000 reward for the painting, the Globe said.

The painting was a 1954 gift to Wellesley from Professor and Mrs. John McAndrew, given in honor of Alfred H. Barr Jr.  Professor McAndrew was not only a faculty member but also director of Wellesley College’s museum.

Along with 31 other works from Wellesley’s collection, Woman and Child was lent to the Oklahoma City Museum of Art for exhibition and returned in April 2007.

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Image courtesy LiveAuctioneers / Fame Bureau Limited

British museum buys Rolling Stones’ lips artwork at auction

Image courtesy LiveAuctioneers / Fame Bureau Limited

LONDON (AP) – Mick Jagger’s pout is officially fit for a museum.

London’s Victoria and Albert Museum announced Tuesday that it bought the original artwork for The Rolling Stones’ famous “lips” logo, inspired by the singer’s mouth. The museum said it bought the work at an auction in the United States for $92,500.

The lips-and-tongue logo was designed by London art student John Pasche in 1970, and first used on the band’s Sticky Fingers album the next year.

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Google unveils its new Chrome superbrowser, aiming at 100+ countries

Google

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. – Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) today launched Google ChromeTM, a new open source browser intended to create a better Web experience for users around the world. Available in beta in more than 40 languages, Google Chrome is a new approach to the browser that’s based on the simplicity and power that users have come to expect from Google products.

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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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