An Antiques Expert’s Story: Michelle Lamunière

For the second time this year, the Pier Antique Show is once again hosting Appraisal Day on Sunday, November 23 from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. All attendees, with a valid ticket to the show, are invited to bring one item to be appraised for free by one of three expert appraisers from Skinner, Inc.

M_Lamuniere2This year’s sponsor, Skinner, Inc. is an internationally recognized auction house that hosts more than 60 auctions annually. In honor of our partnership with Skinner, I had the opportunity to interview one of Skinner’s appraisers that will be on site for the upcoming November show, Michelle Lamunière.
Michelle joined Skinner as a photography specialist in the American and European Works of Art Department in 2013. Prior to joining Skinner, she primarily worked for museums and non-profit organizations, including serving as a photography curator at the Fogg Museum/Harvard Art Museums. While at the Fogg Museum, Michelle shared curatorial responsibility for both the permanent collection and acquisitions.
“I spent 12 years at the Fogg Museum and completed my Ph.D. in Art History, with a focus in Photography, at that time. I was ready to try something different in my career, so I enrolled in the art appraisal certificate program at the Rhode Island School of Design. I started to learn about appraising and the position at Skinner became available.” Michelle was excited to get offered the job at Skinner and in the last 14 months, has had the opportunity to learn all about the auction house world while also providing art appraisals. “I’m the first photography specialist Skinner has had in-house, so my goal is to expand and elevate the organization’s photography offerings.” She continues, “I love the way that photography straddles art and real life. It captures an artist’s specific expression in a moment in time and is also a tool for documenting history and culture.”

Michelle sees a variety of pieces for appraisal in the course of a day at Skinner. “Although my specialty is photography, working in the American and European Works of Art Department, I’m given the opportunity to also look at paintings, sculptures and drawings through working with my colleagues.”

One of the most interesting pieces Michelle had a chance to appraise is a Paul Strand hand-colored platinum print. During her tenure at the Fogg, Michelle had assisted in the acquisition of a range of photography for the permanent collection, including works by Paul Strand, so this piece was particularly special. “Paul Strand is one of the canonical figures in the history of photography, therefore it was a pleasure to look at this beautiful object. It’s also exciting to understand another facet of an important artist’s practice.”

The Pier Antique Show’s Appraisal Day will be a brand new experience for Michelle. “I’ve participated in consignment days at Skinner, however I’ve never given appraisals on site at a show, so I’m excited to take part in this event.”

Michelle particularly enjoys studying and researching works of art to uncover interesting details about the artistic intent and the context in which they were made. Appraisal Day will be the perfect occasion to pass along her knowledge to attendees who bring pieces for appraisal. “I enjoy broadening people’s awareness, understanding and appreciation of photography and of art in general.”

Visit Michelle and the other expert appraisers during Appraisal Day, which will be located on aisle 2400 at the Pier Antique Show. Each appraiser will provide an unbiased, expert opinion of the attendee’s collectible or antique including a verbal estimated range of its fair market value. No written valuations will be given. Attendees are encouraged to sign up for an appointment at www.PierAntiqueShow.com/TheShow/AppraisalDay.aspx. Walk ups are also welcome, but an appointment guarantees the item will be seen by an appraiser.

For more information on Skinner, Inc., visit www.skinnerinc.com.

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