The ISA NOW Blog has a new home!

You'll be redirected shortly.

Make sure to update your bookmarks.
If you aren't automatically redirected, click the link to visit the new blog.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Highlights From Assets 2014

A successful Assets 2014 came to a close yesterday in Kansas City, Mo., where over 175 appraisers from around the country came together at the InterContinental hotel to take part in educational sessions, networking, and guided tours around the city. During the conference, attendees were treated to a Kansas City-themed welcome reception, an opening session from keynote speaker and world-renowned art dealer and author, Michael Findlay, and access to the newly-released Guide to Appraising Fine Art. For a look at some of the event happenings, and to share your own moments from Assets 2014, be sure to stop by the ISA’s Facebook page and Twitter feed

One of the highlights of the meeting was the Annual Awards luncheon, where ISA members and other individuals were honored for their contributions to the profession this year. Those honored included:

President’s Award:
Christine Guernsey, ISA CAPP

Lamp of Knowledge:
Todd Sigety, ISA CAPP

Perri Guthrie, ISA CAPP

Outstanding Member:
Fred Winer, ISA CAPP

Distinguished Service:
Francine Proulx, ISA AM
Richard Casagrande, ISA CAPP
Katherine Yellen, ISA CAPP
Libby Holloway, ISA CAPP

Chapter of the Year:
National Capitol Area

Special Merit:
Judith Martin, ISA CAPP

Young Leadership Award:
Hughene Acheson, ISA AM

Richard Casagrande, ISA CAPP
Perri Guthrie, ISA CAPP
Christine Guernsey, ISA CAPP
Cathy Peters, ISA CAPP

Todd Sigety, ISA CAPP

Outgoing Leadership:
Judith Martin, ISA CAPP

Global Vision:
Todd Sigety, ISA CAPP

FAE Award:
Vicky Nash Shaw, ISA CAPP

ISA Instructor Award:
Leon Castner, PhD, ISA CAPP

Life Member Award:
Sally Ambrose, ISA CAPP
Beth Szescila, ISA CAPP

For those who attended Assets 2014, please be sure to complete our post-show conference survey by May 16, and provide session evaluations through Message Blocks. You can also fill out and submit your Professional Development Credit forms here

The ISA thanks all the conference sponsors and exhibitors, session speakers, and volunteer committee members for their invaluable contributions to Assets 2014 this year. 

We hope you all will join us next year for Assets 2015 in Philadelphia. Mark your calendars now for March 20-23 at the Radisson Blu-Warwick Hotel Philadelphia. See you there!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

A Moving Proposition

My family recently moved from one house to another across town.  That seems simple enough.  Neither house is large and other than my 500 pounds of books we don’t have too many items.  We even had a group of hungry college kids who work for BBQ to help.  Despite all that, it took over a month to prepare to move and almost two weeks to accomplish it.  During my month of moving I also had two clients who were also preparing to move.

If you don’t move often yourself you may not think about all that entails.  I was concerned about making sure my breakable items stayed whole and spent a lot of time thinking of proper packing.  One of my clients was worrying about leaving their family antiques in storage for two years while he serves overseas in the military.  That is a common problem in my community.  A full condition report is very important as well as establishing value.  Another common issue is the one involved when someone is moving into a home that is half the size of the current one.  My second client must decide what she’s taking with her and what she’ll do with the rest. I am appraising several pieces so she can make sure she’s keeping the best of her collection.  Next week, I’ll look at a broken Lalique vase to establish the value for replacement under the owners insurance policy.  I got an email only yesterday from a client who let me know that a valuable family antique had made a cross country move successfully thanks to the the custom crate I suggested the mover use.

I’m telling you all this because I wanted to remind you that appraisers can be involved in  many aspects of the moving industry.  I’ve helped many clients prepare for a move by valuing their items including the current condition and I’ve worked on claims settlements for both the mover and shipper (not at the same time!).  Spend a little time thinking about all the ways you can use your appraisal skills to help someone who is moving.  A good starting place is contacting the shippers in your community but that is just the first step.  Talk to realtors, employee relations managers for large employers, home owner’s insurance salespeople, military housing specialists, anyone you can think of who deals with people coming and going to your area.  I get referrals from other antique dealers, cleaning services, jewelers and even the guys who manage the parking meters and lots in town (go figure).  My dentist and butcher have given my name to people who have damage claims.  Make sure you are the friendly neighborhood person who helps fix appraisal problems.  The Lalique vase actually made it through the person’s move but was broken when a new appliance was being delivered so don’t forget to leave your card with furniture and appliance stores too.  I’ve left cards, written short articles for newsletters, offered short talks on preparing to move; all ways to make my name familiar in those circles.

The best tip I can give you for marketing your business is easy.  List the obvious sources of referrals then get a second cup of coffee and think of all the crazy links you can.  You can always strike through the ones that really won’t work but you’d be surprised what brilliant ideas you can come up with when you allow yourself the freedom to think outside the box...or the moving crate as may be.

By: Libby Holloway, ISA CAPP

Friday, April 4, 2014


Dear ISA Members, 

Are you still considering whether or not to join us at conference in Kansas City? Are you up to date with USPAP? Are you registered for conference, but disappointed you got shut out of earlier USPAP offerings?

Over the past several months our USPAP update classes have filled in a matter of hours! To respond to members needs, we are pleased to announce that we have just added a an additional USPAP update offering at the front end of conference, on Thursday, April 24. 

Register for the April 24th 7 Hour USPAP course is available here

Full Program details are available here and online registration for the conference is available here.  

We are looking forward to a terrific conference and hope to see you in Kansas City! 

Cindy Charleston-Rosenberg, ISA CAPP
ISA President

Tuesday, April 1, 2014


Eli Wilner & Company was recently challenged with one of the most complex frame restorations they have seen in 35 years of business when a painting by Thomas Wilmer Dewing, Lady with a Fan, on loan to the Baltimore Museum of Art from the Maryland State Archives, was unable to be placed on view to the public due to the severe deterioration of its frame.

Many of the country’s museums and other public institutions on Eli Wilner & Company’s extensive client list have turned to Mr. Wilner and his staff for their expertise when addressing important re-framing projects. There are a variety of reasons why a work might need to be re-framed: sometimes a frame is not historically appropriate or a curator seeks to have a cohesive aesthetic for an exhibition. Frequently, due to improper handling or storage, combined with environmental factors and age, a frame may become damaged and the costs of restoration need to be weighed against total replacement. Another step in making that decision is researching the source of the frame itself. Labels and any other provenance documents are consulted to determine whether the frame is original to the painting. It is important to distinguish whether it was chosen or designed by the artist, or if it was selected by an owner of the work of art.

In the case of the damaged Dewing frame, which the experts agree must be original to the painting, it is also a rare and extraordinary example of a floating grille frame design by Stanford White – one of the most important figures in American frame history, as well as a member of the prominent architecture firm McKim, Mead & White at the turn of the 20th Century. Therefore, the White frame is of significant value itself, especially when paired with this exquisite painting by Dewing.

Unfortunately, over time, the grille had become broken and distorted, and the crispness of the ornament had been severely eroded.

Detail of corroded Stanford White frame prior to and after restoration (above)

When approaching any restoration project, the Wilner craftspeople make every effort to salvage the original materials. In this case, the entire grille element was deemed beyond repair and the decision was made to carefully remove it from the gilded substrate. The re-creation was done using the same techniques as the original with internal wire reinforcement. The expert mold-makers were able to achieve the flat contour the grille would originally have had by using other period frames by White as reference. The grille section was then gilded, re-applied to the frame, and the correct patina was achieved. The frame is now ready to be re united with the painting and be enjoyed by the public for years to come in its original splendor.

The technological advancements of the 20th Century affected the nature of the public’s perception of picture framing because of the increased availability and affordability of mass-produced length molding that can be quickly cut and joined. This trend, combined with the influence of stripped down interior design aesthetics, separated many paintings from their original frames. It is commendable that the curators in this situation took the time to research and follow through with this frame restoration project and reflects a movement within the international art market where craftsmanship, historical importance, and value of the picture frame is once again being acknowledged. This is not only apparent in the many public institutions that Eli Wilner & Company are honored to have on their client list, but also with private collectors, who along with their art advisers, have become more actively engaged in the evaluation of framing possibilities with new acquisitions. Many are also becoming aware that frame restoration is often as critical as conservation that may be needed for the artwork it contains and tending to repairs before they are too far gone will alleviate costs and aggravations in the years to come.

On a related note: Eli Wilner & Company has been chosen by Lyndhurst Mansion, a National Historic Trust Site, located in Tarrytown, NY, to collaborate with its staff in restoring and re-hanging the estate’s grand Picture Gallery. The Wilner staff will restore frames that have sustained damage over time and replace those on paintings that have lost their original frames and have been in storage for years.  Wilner will also assist with the installation of pictures, maintaining the multi-tiered Victorian style of hanging that has been documented in photographs since the 1870s but will bring many of the best works in the collection to eye level. The extensive collection of finely framed paintings assembled by railroad baron Jay Gould and his daughters include works by Gustave Courbet, Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Theodore Rousseau, Charles Daubigny, Jean-Leon Gerome, Jean Beraud and two important works by Bouguereau. The mansion will reopen for public tours in May 2014.