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Monday, February 27, 2017

The Antiques, Furnishings + Decorative Arts Specialty Tour at Assets

Maureen S. Winer, ISA CAPP
For those who appraise antiques, furnishings, decorative arts and jewelry, we have an extraordinary lineup of tours, lectures and breakout sessions scheduled for you at Assets 2017.

If you haven't yet, register now so you don't miss the opportunity to learn more about your areas of interest and connect with other appraisers with similar interests.

One of the most exciting events we have planned is the Antiques, Furnishings + Decorative Arts Specialty Tour, taking place all day on Friday, March 31. As with the Fine Arts Tour, attendees will have the opportunity to visit sites throughout Chicago and hear educational talks from experts while seeing beautiful works of art and decorative objects up close.

The first stop of the morning will be Leslie Hindman Auctioneers, one of the most prominent auction houses in the nation. There, tour attendees will attend two of three breakout sessions in Furnishings and Decorative Arts, Jewelry and Couture. Leslie Hindman’s experienced experts will give lectures on luxury accessories and clothing, and touch on current trends in furniture, decorative arts, modern design and Asian works of art.

An Empire Gilt Bronze Mounted Mahogany Bureau Plat
sold by Leslie Hindman (source)

Next, we will enjoy a box lunch at the Art Institute of Chicago before taking the afternoon to explore its extraordinary collections, some of the largest in the world. We’ll spend the first hour of the afternoon exploring the collection of European decorative arts at the Art Institute. The Art Institute isn’t home to only fine art – it boasts an extensive collection of Continental glass and English, French and German ceramics, silver and enamels.

Elephant Candelabrum Vase (1757-8) from the Sèvres Porcelain Manufactory
at the Art Institute (source)
The afternoon will feature a special lecture designed for ISA by Dr. Alexis R. Culotta, PhD on the idea of provenance. Dr. Culotta will use examples from the museum’s collections to discuss how provenance research on antiques, furnishings and decorative arts can affect the value of those items. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes because after the lecture, we will have time to explore the museum’s collections on our own.

Rosewater Ewer and Basin (c. 1596)
by Franz Dotte, Nuremberg, Germany (source)
I can’t wait to see everyone on this tour as we experience some of the best educational opportunities the city of Chicago has to offer!

Maureen S. Winer, ISA CAPP

Monday, February 20, 2017

Chicago: A World-Class City and Home of Assets 2017

Judy Martin, ISA CAPP
The month of February is going past in the blink of an eye and in a few short days, it will be March – the month of Assets. Chicago has had the most amazing winter that I can ever remember. There has been hardly any snow since November, and this weekend the temperature was in the 60s, which is unheard of this time of year. This weather trend makes me think that the weather will just be fabulous during Assets. By late March and early April, I think that spring will have sprung.

As a resident of the area, Chicago is looking great. There is so much to do while you are here, including visiting museums and art galleries, going shopping, and enjoying fine dining and entertainment. Aside from the enormous collections at the Art Institute (which we will visit on a specialty tour this year), you can visit the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Field Museum, the Shedd Aquarium, Adler Planetarium, the DuSable Museum of African-American History, and many others. There are a number of great galleries throughout the city representing new and exciting artists, and you can find a full listing of the top ones here in TimeOut Chicago. For a touch of nature, visit the Botanic Gardens, open year round.

Sue, one of the most famous exhibits at the Field Museum

Chicago has been named one of the top cities for dining and foodies by many publications like the Washington Post, and that does not include only pizza and hot dogs (though we excel at both – Pequod’s Pizza is a local deep dish favorite). Chicago’s chefs are creative and talented, receiving national recognition. Rick Bayless’ Xoco is known for modern Mexican food, and other big names include Au Cheval, The Girl and the Goat (and other projects from Top Chef winner Stephanie Izard), Alinea and Fat Rice.

Food at XOCO (credit)

Theater, comedy and entertainment are huge in Chicago. If you have time, you can catch Hamilton, and Billy Crystal is in town the weekend of Assets. Visit for full listings and information. Second City is the most well-known of Chicago’s comedy groups, and there are many other comedy clubs around the city to find up-and-coming stars.

For more information on events taking place in Chicago during Assets, TimeOut Chicago has full events calendars for March and April.

The Bean at Millennium Park

I have heard that some members are nervous about the violence in certain neighborhoods of Chicago–more specifically, impoverished areas on the South and West sides. While it is tragic and unfortunate, the turmoil is nowhere near the location of Assets. As a working person in the Chicago area, I drive and take the train in the city on a regular basis. I walk the city; I live the city. As with any large city, of course you need to be careful and aware of your surroundings. However, I assure our attendees that they will feel extremely safe in the Loop, a heavily-trafficked area frequented by tourists and native Chicagoans alike, as well in as nearby neighborhoods and anywhere mentioned in this post.

I hope to see many of you next month. I am so excited to see my old friends and make new ones. For those of you who know me, you know I love ISA and the people who are a part of the organization. Please join us for what promises to be an amazing time.

Judy Martin, ISA CAPP 

To learn more about or donate to groups working to cease violence in Chicago’s communities, visit BUILD Chicago and CeaseFire Illinois.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Ask an Instructor

ISA members are invited to send in their questions on all things appraising and education to ISA's instructors. One of ISA's instructors will share answers on the ISA Now Blog. Please send questions to

Question: I am completing my first appraisal and was wondering if someone at ISA might be able to look over the finished report before I send it to the client.

Answer: First of all, congratulations on your first appraisal job! Yes, the instructors and I are happy to assist you with your first appraisal as we know it can be a little nerve-wracking. The wonderful new ISA Ambassador program is designed to help members navigate ISA and the appraisal business in general, but ISA instructors are your best resources for questions on methodology and appraisal report writing. We are happy to review your reports and provide constructive feedback. That said, please allow us a few days to read your report and make suggestions. Same day or overnight turnaround is not always possible – though we will always try our best!

- Meredith Meuwly, ISA Director of Education

Monday, February 6, 2017

Join us for the Fine Arts Tour at Assets 2017!

To my Fine Art colleagues,

Irene Szylinger, ISA AM
It’s always exciting when ISA holds Assets in a location known for its world-class art! It’s even better when we have the opportunity to learn from first-rate speakers about that art. On the Fine Arts Tour taking place on Friday, March 31 from 8:30am to 5:00pm, we will go behind the scenes at three excellent venues in Chicago: Leslie Hindman Auctioneers, the Museum of Contemporary Photography and the Art Institute of Chicago. If you haven’t signed up already, please do so now!

On our first stop at Leslie Hindman Auctioneers, Zack Wirsum, Director of their Fine Art Department, will speak about the current state of the art market with reference to recent auction results. There will be examples from their Modern and Contemporary Art (American and European) and Fine Prints collections on exhibit. Auction house valuations will also be discussed.

Our next stop will be the Museum of Contemporary Photography to hear two important lectures. One talk will be led by an experienced curator who will guide us through different processes of photography such as the daguerreotype, ambrotype and rayogram, using examples from the permanent collection. Cynthia Noble, a specialist in custom tours and an adjunct lecturer at the Art Institute of Chicago, will guide our group on a second talk focused on the acclaimed fashion photographer Vivian Sassen’s exhibition UMBRA currently on display at the museum as well as the recent rise of fashion photography as an art form.

Viviane Sassen, Yellow Vlei, 2014.
Her work emphasizes the play of light and shadow and often approaches abstraction.

Finally, we will make our way to the Art Institute of Chicago. Even if you’ve seen the art and artifacts at the Art Institute already, the collections are so vast, there is always something new and undiscovered. Here, we will be treated to two private tours from Cynthia Noble and her team.

One presentation will tour the highlights of the fabulous permanent collection, which is home to over 300,000 works of art spanning 5,000 years and considered one of the best in the world.

Georges Seurat, Un dimanche après-midi à l'Île de la Grande Jatte, 1884
one of many Impressionist paintings in the permanent collection

A second talk at the Art Institute will explore the Edlis/Neeson collection, comprised of 42 well-known post-war works of art recently donated to the Art Institute. The Edlis/Neeson collection is the largest gift of art ever given to the museum and features works by artists such as Andy Warhol and Jasper Johns.

Andy Warhol, Flowers, 1964
from the Edlis- Neeson Collection

After the talks, we will have time to discover other remarkable works at the Art Institute at our leisure.

I am looking forward to seeing all of you on this memorable tour in Chicago.

Irene Szylinger, ISA AM 
Fine Arts Chair