Author Archives: Lucy Toomey

  1. Toomey+ Online Marketplace

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    Frank Lloyd Wright, dining table with Taliesin design

    Frank Lloyd Wright, dining table with Taliesin design

    Toomey & Co. Auctioneers is proud to offer Toomey+, an online marketplace featuring the finest collection of Frank Lloyd Wright and Prairie School design available today as well as Arts & Crafts, Modern Design, Fine Art, Decorative Arts, Silver, Jewelry, and more. In contrast to auction lots, these pieces may be purchased directly without bidding.

    Take a moment to explore our selectively curated inventory. Unless noted, all items are unique and no longer available once sold.

    Visit Toomey+

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  2. Join Toomey & Co. at the Grove Park Inn

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    33 Years at the Grove Park Inn

    After exhibiting at the National Arts & Crafts Conference at the Omni Grove Park Inn for the first 30 years, Toomey & Co.’s President John Toomey has been strictly an attendee for two of the last three years along with CEO Lucy Toomey and Vice President & Senior Specialist John Walcher. Our team is looking forward to making the trip once again to beautiful Asheville, North Carolina for the conference during the weekend of February 21-23, 2020.

    Catching up in Asheville

    We would love to catch up with you while we are in Asheville! Look for the Toomey & Co. trio at the antique and contemporary shows, listening to various lectures, or having a drink in the Great Hall (or on the terrace if the weather cooperates). We are eager to talk shop, discuss current industry trends and events, and just say hello.

    National Arts & Crafts Conference

    If you have not attended the conference in the past, it is a ‘must’ for any Arts & Crafts enthusiast. With lectures, small group discussions, workshops and, of course, the antiques and contemporary shows, the conference has something for everyone. If you are arriving early, be sure to support The Stickley Museum at Craftsman Farms by attending their annual, kick-off Craftsman Reception on Thursday, February 20 from 6 to 8 PM in the Grove Park Inn’s Skyline Room.

    The Roycrofters, rare bookcase, similar to #83

    Art & Design on Sunday, March 8, 2020
    LOT 102: The Roycrofters, rare bookcase, similar to #83 (estimate $10,000-20,000)

    Contact Us

    If you would like to reach out to any of the Toomey & Co. staff members heading to Asheville before, during, or after the conference, we would definitely appreciate hearing from you.

    John Toomey
    President
    (708) 383-5234 [ext. 15]
    john@toomeyco.com

    Lucy Toomey
    CEO
    (708) 383-5234 [ext. 13]
    lucy@toomeyco.com

    John Walcher
    Vice President & Senior Specialist
    (708) 383-5234 [ext. 14]
    johnw@toomeyco.com

    Art & Design on March 8, 2020

    Among the Arts & Crafts highlights in our Art & Design auction on Sunday, March 8, 2020 will be several items by The Roycrofters. Of particular note, we will offer a rare bookcase, similar to #83, with a $10,000-20,000 estimate as well as two lots featuring furniture created for the Grove Park Inn: a nightstand and a pair of beds.

    The Roycrofters for the Grove Park Inn, nightstand and beds, pair

    Art & Design on Sunday, March 8, 2020
    LOTS 103 & 105: The Roycrofters for the Grove Park Inn, nightstand (estimate $2,000-3,000) and beds, pair (estimate $600-800)

  3. Overview: Buying and Selling at Auction

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    Auction houses worldwide make up a multi-billion-dollar industry that sellers use as a means of divesting anything from single items to entire collections. The Q&A below provides an overview of the ins and outs of buying and selling at auction and what makes auction one of the best ways to both disperse and acquire material.

    What is an auction and how is it different than other means of selling?

    When a collector decides to deaccession material, there are many options, including passing works down through the family, donating to a museum or non-profit, selling through a dealer, selling privately, and selling at auction. Technically speaking, an auction is a public sale in which items are sold to the highest bidder through competitive bidding and the bidding process is certainly the issue that distinguishes an auction. An auction estimate has been determined by a specialist and bidders from around the world are allowed to bid competitively until only one bidder remains. When the auctioneer has determined that all of the other bidders are through bidding, the lot will be awarded to the winning bidder at the final price that was bid.

    Why sell at auction?

    Auctions have been a way to divest collections for millennia. Auctions were held in antiquity and the business model of an auctioneer selling to the highest bidder has changed little in the last two thousand years. It is a tried-and-true method that awards the highest bidder in a fair market and the prices achieved are public knowledge, which makes selling at auction completely transparent. Based on the competitive bidding, auctions can often help create the highest potential price for a particular work of art. It is the job of the auction house to provide expertise on the value of each auction lot, but it is also the responsibility of the house to identify potential buyers for each piece. The frenzy of an auction has created bidding wars countless times throughout history and this has led to some of the greatest prices realized for any objects ever sold. In addition to the historical business model and expertise that an auction house provides, it is also a very straightforward consignment process with competitive commission structures. Our standard commission for items that sell over $1,000 is 15%, which is a reasonable fee when compared with some of the other options that collectors have.

    Why buy at auction?

    I feel that buying at auction is often viewed as an intimidating process where a ruthless auctioneer will sell to a winning bidder who scratches his or her nose. Of course, this is cliché and inaccurate. Buying at auction is an exciting, thrilling, and fair way to purchase art and helps serve collectors in all price points. Auctions worldwide cater to both beginners who are buying their first painting and to seasoned collectors who buy and sell art on a daily basis. Prices at auction can range from $200 up to the eyebrow-raising $450 million paid for Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi in 2017. Auction is also a trusted way to purchase art as all of the lots sold have been vetted by auction specialists who live and breathe the material.

    John Walcher AuctioneeringHow can I attend an auction?

    Most auctions are open to the public, including auctions held at Toomey & Co. Auctioneers. If you are interested in attending an auction, it is easy to sign up for a paddle the day of the sale. Personally, I feel that, if at all possible, bidding live during an auction is still the most secure and exciting way to bid. Technology has certainly made it possible for a large majority of bidders to bid remotely, but we would love to see more clients in the room and I am sure that my colleagues at other houses feel the same.

    If you can’t attend an auction in person, you have a number of options, including leaving an absentee bid prior to the auction, signing up to telephone bid during the sale, or participating via an online platform that allows you to bid in real time from your home computer. Toomey & Co. Auctioneers typically has four to six auctions per year. If you are interested in finding out more, I would suggest speaking with one of our specialists and joining our mailing list (see form below), which will keep you updated on exciting material that we have to offer.

    How do I find out if a piece from my collection has value at auction?

    The easiest way to find out if an artwork from your collection has value is to call or email Toomey & Co. Auctioneers with all of the information you have on the piece or the entire collection. We will likely be able to provide preliminary estimates based on photographs of the collection, but in some instances it is more beneficial for a member of our staff to see the pieces in person. Once we have had an opportunity to view the works, it should take anywhere between 24 hours and two weeks for Toomey & Co. to provide our expertise. The time will depend on how much material is in the collection and how much research is necessary. The auction estimates that we provide will be based on a number of criteria including the artist, the subject matter, the medium, the rarity, the provenance, and the condition of the work.

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  4. Update: The Museum of the American Arts and Crafts Movement

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    Interview

    At the recent Arts & Crafts conference at the Grove Park Inn in Asheville, North Carolina, CEO Lucy Toomey had a chance to catch up with Rudy Ciccarello, founder of the Museum of the American Arts and Crafts Movement and the Two Red Roses Foundation. Read the interview below and enjoy some sneak-peek images of the museum.

    Rudy Ciccarello

    Lucy Toomey: Rudy, there’s so much excitement and interest around the Two Red Roses Foundation’s collection and the new Museum of the American Arts and Crafts Movement. Can you give me an update?

    Rudy Ciccarello: Thanks, Lucy. Of course. First, I believe we were fortunate to find the perfect location for the museum. St. Petersburg, Florida is a thriving, vibrant, and diverse city. It has gained a reputation as a truly national and international arts destination and the museum is located in the heart of the downtown arts district.

    LT: The architecture looks incredible. What can you tell me about the design?

    Exterior MAACM

    RC: I worked closely with Alberto Alfonso (of Alfonso Architects in Tampa, Florida) on the design for nearly four years. Our goal and challenge was to find a balance between the art and the architecture. I believe the final result is a seamless combination of both: contemporary yet mindful of tradition. There are unique architectural features evoking the American Arts and Crafts movement throughout — from the spiral, Mackintosh-inspired, rose staircase to the multi-colored, Frank Lloyd Wright-influenced, stained-glass skylight windows to the white, stone-clad, pottery-like ovoids on the building’s exterior. And, in keeping with the Arts and Crafts philosophy, there are natural materials used throughout including more than 60,000 square feet of quarter-sawn American white oak and natural stone.

    Restaurant MAACM

    LT: That’s very impressive. Can you tell me more about the interior of the museum?

    RC: The museum is five stories and 137,000 square feet. Visitors will pass through a charming park-like green area with period Batchelder and Grueby tile fountains and enter the museum’s first-floor grand atrium. Along with the skylight and spiral staircase, museum guests and visitors are greeted by a welcome center, café, museum store, and destination restaurant.

    Library MAACM

    The second, third, fourth, and fifth floors contain more than 40,000 square feet of permanent gallery space that will hold the permanent Two Red Roses Foundation collection and 9,000 feet of temporary exhibition space. In addition, there is a library with period furniture and accessories, an auditorium, graphic studio, children’s gallery, and large event space.

    LT: Now the big question everyone is asking: when will the museum be open to the public? I’m looking forward to seeing the finished product!

    RC: I can tell you that construction is on schedule and we are planning to open in the fall of 2019 and hope that everyone will plan on visiting. Stay tuned.

    Publications

    The Two Red Roses Foundation has recently released two new books, both with stunning images from its collection:

    Beauty in Common Things: American Arts and Crafts Pottery by Martin Eidelberg, Jonathan Clancy, and Kevin Tucker

    Lenses Embracing the Beautiful: Pictorial Photographs by Christian Peterson

    The Arts and Crafts movement in America was marked by the spirit of reform and the belief that traditional craftsmanship could ennoble a society overcome by rampant industrialization. Simplicity in style and honesty in construction had the power to transform a utilitarian object into a beautiful one, enhancing the lives of both maker and user. It is the mission of the Two Red Roses Foundation (TRRF) to promote understanding of the American Arts and Crafts movement through the collection, co­­­nservation, exhibition, and interpretation of the decorative and fine arts. Currently under construction in St. Petersburg, Florida, the future Museum of the American Arts and Crafts Movement (MAACM) will house more than 2,000 objects made between 1900 and 1930, displaying rare and often unique works by leading craftspeople and artists of the early 20th century.

    In addition to the newly published books, Two Red Roses Foundation has previously published the four titles below:

    Arts and Crafts Metalwork showcases the work of eleven designers and craftsmen from the period, including Gustav Stickley, Karl Kipp, Dirk van Erp, and the Roycrofters. Hundreds of color photographs feature more than 200 metal objects, while archival images of design sketches and magazine advertisements highlight the philosophy and working method behind these artisans and their creations.

    Arts and Crafts Furniture features many of the most important furniture makers from the Arts and Crafts era, including Charles Rohlfs, Gustav Stickley’s Craftsman Workshops, Elbert Hubbard’s Roycrofters, the Byrdcliffe colony, the Stickley Brothers, and Greene & Greene. In addition to an examination of the design and fabrication of nearly 200 pieces, a special appendix is included that discusses the history and working practices of these furniture designers and craftsmen.

    Arts and Crafts Tile presents sixteen tile makers represented in the collection, including Batchelder, Grueby, Marblehead, Newcomb, Paul Revere Pottery, Rookwood, and Van Briggle — each with a unique history within the shared atmosphere of the Arts and Crafts movement. The book thoroughly documents more than 150 objects, from individual 4 x 4–inch tiles to complete room installations. 

    Arts and Crafts Lighting examines 85 outstanding and innovative examples of electric light fixtures by some of the most well-known designers, architects, and firms from the early 20th century, including Elizabeth Eaton Burton, the Craftsman Workshops, Greene & Greene, and Louis H. Sullivan. More than 100 color plates display many objects in detail, often accompanied by design drawings, blueprints, and advertisements.

    Visit the Two Red Roses website for the full catalog of available publications.

    Books

    Support

    Consider supporting the efforts of the Museum of the American Arts and Crafts Movement by helping them build a comprehensive reference library that will be available to students, scholars, and others interested in researching subjects related to the period. Additional information on how to donate books, periodicals, catalogs, and more can be found here, along with their wish list for specific titles.

    Wish List

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  5. John Toomey Gallery Is Now Toomey & Co. Auctioneers

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    Thirty Years of Auctions

    After 30 years of highly successful auctions, the founders of Treadway Toomey Auctions are changing direction and working independently. The December 2017 auction marked the final collaboration between the John Toomey Gallery of Oak Park, IL and Treadway Gallery of Cincinnati, OH. Their long relationship produced one of the premier specialty auction houses in the country.

    Beginning in 1987, Treadway Toomey Auctions pioneered sales of 20th-century art and design during a very exciting time in the world of art and auction. The industry was rapidly changing and the momentum shifting, with specialty auction houses, at the time a novelty, beginning to compete with bigger auction houses.

    “I’ve spent decades building this business, and my partnership with Don Treadway was a big part of that. He has been a great colleague over the years,” said John Toomey. “Times change and the industry progresses, and it’s important that we evolve and adapt to meet the demands of our business as it is today. The past 30 years have been fantastic, and it’s time for the next generation to expand their role. I’m proud of what’s been created thus far — and I’m very proud of the team that is taking the reins now.”

    A New Beginning

    John Toomey will remain President of the newly named auction business, Toomey & Co. Auctioneers, while turning over the company’s management to Lucy Toomey, formerly Senior Vice President, who will move into the role of CEO.

    “It’s an exciting time in our industry and we look forward to continuing to work with our current clients and developing relationships with new clients — ensuring that we are providing the best 21st-century service, with the same value system that we always have had in place,” said Lucy Toomey. “The enthusiastic feedback we’ve received regarding the new business has been very encouraging.”

    Toomey & Co. Auctioneers will continue to offer the service and expertise that the company’s clients are accustomed to, and auctions will continue to be conducted at the same Oak Park location where they have been held for the past 30 years. Toomey & Co. Auctioneers’ first sale, under its new brand, is scheduled for April 8, 2018.

    Joe Stanfield and John Walcher will serve as Vice Presidents, while continuing their roles as Senior Specialists. Lisanne Dickson will continue as Senior Specialist and Rebecca Williams will assume a Specialist position. Director of Operations Kevin Mannella and his entire staff will remain in place. They will continue to provide the service and expertise our clients are accustomed to, and auctions will continue to be conducted at the same Oak Park location where they’ve been held for the past 30 years.

  6. What Can Toomey & Co. Do for You?

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    Service

    We understand the importance of providing full service to our clients. Experience for yourself the personal touch we provide throughout both the buying and selling processes.

    We want to hear from you — our specialists are available to provide their expertise, whether you are a buyer or a seller. Our staff has a reputation for their friendliness and efficiency; they will answer questions as well as provide pre-sale shipping quotes and additional condition photos upon request.

    Shipping

    After the auction, we don’t simply provide a list of shippers — we can arrange it all for you. Most invoices will already include a shipping quote for your convenience. Many items are professionally packed in house, and we deliver by truck to New York and points in between. Our goal is to make it easy for you, and to ensure that your items are shipped as economically and safely as possible.

    Experience

    Toomey & Co. Auctioneers values your business and is committed to providing the best service in the industry to improve your auction experience.

    Be sure to follow the New and Noteworthy section on our website, which is designed to keep our clients informed regarding relevant issues and current events in our field.

    Explore New and Noteworthy

    Toomey+

    With a carefully curated range of items, our online marketplace offers an alternative to auction. Toomey+ features an impressive selection of Prairie School works, along with Arts & Crafts, Modern Design, and more.

    Social

    For daily content, including profiles of artists and makers, in-depth coverage of specific auction lots, behind-the-scenes footage, videos, and more, follow Toomey & Co. Auctioneers on Instagram and like us on Facebook.

  7. Gertrude Abercrombie:
    Portrait of the Artist as a Landscape

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    by Joe Stanfield

    On January 19, 2018, the Elmhurst Art Museum in Chicago’s western suburbs held the opening of an exciting new exhibit, Gertrude Abercrombie: Portrait of the Artist as a Landscape. Abercrombie, who is locally revered as “The Queen of Bohemian Art,” was a prolific painter and a larger-than-life figure, but museum shows dedicated exclusively to her work are unfortunately rare.

    There has not been an Abercrombie retrospective since the shows at the Illinois State Museum and the State of Illinois Art Gallery in 1991. The dynamic and visually stunning show currently at the Elmhurst, which runs through March 4 before it moves to the Illinois State Museum, should help spur more curators to take on the challenge of showing the paintings of this early American female surrealist.

    The exhibition includes over 40 works by Abercrombie and is comprised of examples from the Illinois State Museum, the Elmhurst Art Museum, and the private Chicago collection of Laura and Gary Mauer. All of the elements that make Abercrombie’s oeuvre compelling and engrossing are on display in the show, including her barren landscapes, foreboding footpaths, moons, shells, eggs, owls, doors, cats, and, of course, Gertrude herself.

    While a majority of the pieces in the show are in her preferred medium of oil on masonite or canvas, there are also wonderful examples of Abercrombie’s prints and assemblages, which are contextualized with black-and-white photographs of Abercrombie and her contemporaries. Many of these photographs provide a brief yet intriguing glimpse into Gertrude’s life as an artist and musician.

    If you are interested in seeing Gertrude Abercrombie: Portrait of the Artist as a Landscape, the Elmhurst Art Museum is only a 30-minute drive from downtown Chicago. The show is also appropriate for all ages, so feel free to bring the family. Part of the show involves an interactive set of props that relate to Abercrombie’s iconography.

    Those who enjoy the Elmhurst show will not want to miss another exhibition coming up this summer at the Arts Club of Chicago entitled A Home for Surrealism. This will focus on Abercrombie along with fellow surrealists Dorothea Tanning, John Wilde, Julia Thecla, Harold Noecker, and Julio de Diego and will run from June 7 to August 22, 2018.

    To learn more about Gertrude Abercrombie and to view examples of her work that Toomey & Co. has handled over the years, we invite you to visit her dedicated artist page.

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  8. Goodbye to Wilbert “Bill” Hasbrouck

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    Passing of a Friend

    We were deeply saddened to hear of the passing of our friend, Wilbert “Bill” Hasbrouck. Bill’s contributions to architecture and preservation in Chicago and beyond were unparalleled. We’ve enjoyed working with Bill and his wife Marilyn over the years and have fond memories of his sharp eye, tales of collecting, and vast knowledge.

    Prairie Avenue Bookshop

    Bill and Marilyn Hasbrouck ran the legendary Prairie Avenue Bookshop in Chicago, known for its architectural focus for nearly 50 years. “It was always the go-to place to secure elusive historical items,” said Tim Samuelson, Cultural Historian, City of Chicago.

    Obituary

    “Wilbert R. Hasbrouck, a pioneering Chicago preservation architect who breathed new life into buildings designed by some of the city’s renowned architects and co-owned a beloved architectural bookstore, died Saturday at a care facility in suburban Norridge.”

    Read the full obituary by architecture critic Blair Kamin in the February 13, 2018 Chicago Tribune here.

    Bill will be missed by all who knew him.

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