Founder | Leigh Keno
Leigh Keno is founder and president of Keno Auctions and Keno Art Advisory. During his nearly 40 years in the auction business and as a dealer, he has helped build some of the top institutional and private collections of paintings, furniture and decorative arts in the world. He has either advised or represented some of the country’s leading museums, including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Colonial Williamsburg, Winterthur Museum, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Leigh’s lifelong immersion in the area of fine and decorative arts began at the age of 11, and he is considered one of the foremost experts in the field. Leigh received an Associate’s degree from Herkimer County Community College in 1977 and a BA in Art History from Hamilton College in 1979. Also, Leigh was a graduate fellow at Historic Deerfield and a visiting scholar at Winterthur Museum. Starting in 1979, Leigh worked as an appraiser at and director of the American Furniture department at Doyle Galleries in New York City, and was a Vice President at Christie’s Appraisals. In this capacity, Leigh travelled across the United States analyzing and assessing fine and decorative arts on behalf of banks, lawyers, institutions and private clients. Leigh also served as a specialist in Christie’s American Furniture and Decorative Arts department where his responsibilities included compiling, cataloging and selling some of the greatest American decorative arts in the world, while setting world records in the process. In 1986, Leigh opened his gallery specializing in important 18th to 20th century American paintings, furniture and decorative arts which he continued to operate until founding Keno Auctions in 2009.
Leigh lectures throughout the country and for more than 18 years has volunteered as an appraiser on the Emmy nominated PBS television program ‘Antiques Roadshow’. In 2000, Leigh co-authored Hidden Treasures: Searching for Masterpieces of American Furniture, which recounts some of his most memorable discoveries of American masterpieces. Since 2001, Leigh has written monthly furniture and design columns for House Beautiful and This Old House magazines and is currently Editor-at-Large for Traditional Home magazine. Most recently, Leigh was the co-host of ‘Buried Treasure’, a primetime television series on the Fox network.
Until 2009, Leigh was an exhibitor and served on the American furniture vetting committee at the prestigious Winter Antiques Show in New York, which he did for 24 years during the late-1990s, and was elected Director of vetting for the show. In 2001, he was appointed by the Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service to its Art Advisory Panel in Washington, D.C. In 2005 Leigh was awarded the National Humanities Medal for his role as an educator in the field of American History and Artifacts by the President of the United States.
Leigh has been member of numerous professional dealer organizations, including the National Antique & Art Dealers Association (NADA), and as an auctioneer who offers private client services Leigh is a member the Antique Dealers Association of America (ADA). Leigh is a founding member of the Shelburne Museum National Advisory Committee.
Since 2006, Leigh has been a proud member of the judging committee for the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance RetroAuto category, which showcases rare collectibles and memorabilia from our automotive past, as well as the latest luxury goods and technological tools to enhance today’s driving experience.
Keno Auctions, founded in 2009, has thrived since its first auction, which grossed more than $6 million. In the company’s first two years of existence, Keno Auctions has sold more than $13 million worth of fine and decorative arts to buyers worldwide.
Senior Specialist | Jack O’Brien
Jack O’Brien is an Americana, Folk Art and American Paintings specialist, who joined forces with Leigh Keno in 2007. Prior to his start at Keno Auctions he had the privilege of working as a researcher for the Winterthur Museum on the Southeastern Massachusetts Furniture Project. Jack is a co-author of Harbor and Home: Furniture of Southeastern Massachusetts, and has also published articles in The Magazine Antiques and Antiques and Fine Arts on the Newport influenced furniture of New Bedford. In 2015 Jack became a member of the Appraiser’s Association of America.
Gallery Director | Emily Rigamer
Emily Rigamer graduated from Washington and Lee University in 2012 with a major in Art History and minor in Museum Studies. Emily started her career at Keno Auctions as an intern in November 2012, and was promoted to Administrative Assistant in February 2013. She became Gallery Director in the Fall of 2013.