Founder | Leigh Keno
Leigh Keno has more than 40 years of experience in the field of fine and decorative arts, and has helped build some of the top institutional and private collections of paintings, furniture and decorative arts in the world. Leigh has either advised or represented some of the country’s leading museums, including: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Colonial Williamsburg, Historic Deerfield, the Museum of the City of New York, Winterthur Museum, The Detroit Institute of Art, Chipstone Foundation and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
In 2001, Leigh was appointed by the Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service to its Art Advisory Panel in Washington, D.C., in which capacity he served for ten years. In 2005, in the Oval Office, President George W. Bush awarded Leigh the National Humanities Medal for his role as an educator in the field of American History and Artifacts. Leigh has been a member of numerous professional dealer organizations, including the National Antique & Art Dealers Association (NADA). 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. He serves as on the Board of Directors of the Appraisers Association of America (AAA), of which he is a Certified Appraiser.
Leigh holds a B.A. in Art History from Hamilton College and 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. Leigh also served as a specialist in Christie’s American Furniture and Decorative Arts department which included compiling, cataloguing and selling some of the greatest fine and decorative arts in the world, setting records in the process. In 1986, Leigh opened his own gallery specializing in important 18th to 20th century American paintings, furniture and decorative arts. Leigh was an exhibitor and served on the vetting committee for 24 years at the prestigious Winter Antiques Show at the Park Avenue Armory in New York. In 1998, he was elected to serve as Director of Vetting for the show.
He founded Keno Auctions in 2009, a boutique auction house which offers high end fine art and decorative art ranging from the 17th through the 21st centuries. In 2015 alone, Keno Auctions sold works ranging from a Chippendale Mahogany Tea-Table for $1,850,000.00, a 1968 Alexander Calder Standing Mobile, Pig’s Tail for $365,000.00, to a 1972 brass and copper wire sculpture by Ruth Asawa which set a record for the artist’s work from the 1970’s at $985,000.00. As the head of Keno Art Advisory, Leigh regularly advises both sellers and buyers on the best approach to take. He counsels and acts as agent for both private and institutional clients when navigating the complex process of selling their artwork so that they get the best terms possible and choose the right auction house. This approach results in the maximum return for the consignor.
Leigh lectures throughout the country and appears regularly as an appraiser on the 12 time Emmy-Nominated PBS television program Antiques Roadshow, watched by approximately 8 million viewers per week. 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. In 2008, Leigh and his brother, Leslie Keno, accompanied First Lady Laura Bush on a History Channel televised tour of the White House, entitled The White House: Behind Closed Doors. In 2011, Leigh was co-host of Buried Treasure, a primetime television series on the Fox television network.
Leigh and his brother Leslie have served for the past decade as judges at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance and in 2015 were invited to judge at the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance. The brothers regularly moderate or speak at panels and symposiums involving Historic Cars, including the Inaugural Pebble Beach symposium, the HAGI Index Symposium at the Tuck School, and the Bi-Annual Symposium at the REVS Institute, organized by Miles Collier. In 2011 Leigh presented a lecture via video at the Simeone Automotive Museum Think Tank, entitled The Stewardship of Historically Important Automobiles. This groundbreaking symposium was the progenitor of the award-winning book of the same title, published in 2012, for which the Keno’s contributed a chapter.
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.