Published: August 9, 2022
Grogan & Company is an institution of the Beacon Hill neighborhood of Boston, selling across the globe from its Charles Street showroom. Founded by Michael B. Grogan, the auction house is operated by a team of young professionals, most of whom are women. Georgina C. Winthrop is the vice president, fine art director and auctioneer at Grogan & Company, also sitting on the steering committee for the museum council for the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and is on the board of governors for the nearby Nichols House Museum. Taylor P. See is the auction house’s jewelry director and is currently working towards her graduate gemologist degree at the Gemological Institute of America. We spoke with these two women to learn more about their backgrounds and positions within Grogan & Company.
Congratulations on your appointments to vice president and jewelry director! Tell our readers about your backgrounds.
Georgina C. Winthrop (GW): Thank you! My background is Boston through and through – I grew up in Beacon Hill, just around the corner from where our auction gallery is today. I earned my undergraduate degree at Harvard, where I majored in art history. After graduating in 2014, I joined Grogan & Company as the auction coordinator. Since 2015, I have been running and growing our fine art department and continue to do so while also working closely with Michael Grogan, our president, in my role as vice president.
Taylor P. See (TS): Thank you! I am a New England transplant – I grew up in Las Vegas and went to Texas Christian University, where I was a world-ranked equestrian. I’ve lived in Boston for about ten years, seven of which have been spent at Grogan & Company. Like Georgina, I began as the auction coordinator, before transitioning into the jewelry department under our prior jewelry director Lucy Grogan Edwards. I’ve been running the jewelry department since 2021.
How did you develop an interest in art and antiques?
TS: Living in New England and being surrounded by so much history sparked my interest in art and jewelry, and this interest has grown naturally over my years at Grogan & Company.
GW: My father is an architect, and he would take our family to museums wherever we traveled. I remember following him around countless museums as a child, wondering, “When is lunch?” As the years went on, I started to care more about the art on the walls than about lunch, and my love of art was born. I will never forget taking my first art history class in college and realizing that something I loved could be a career.
What were your areas of concentration before Grogan & Company?
GW: As I explored the possibility of remaining in the art world after college, I interned at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and at Sotheby’s New York. I quickly realized that the business side of the art world was where I wanted to be, and the rest is history!
TS: I studied fashion merchandising in college, which developed my passion for luxury goods. After my time in Texas, I moved to Boston and worked for a start-up that was a secondary marketplace for designer clothing and accessories. This piqued my interest in the auction world and led me to Grogan & Company. Running the jewelry department intertwines my interest in luxury goods and my love of art and design.
Has working in auctions always been your goal?
GW: Ever since I walked into Sotheby’s York Avenue building at age 22, I knew the fast paced, passionate, and high stakes environment of the auction world was where I would end up. Running an auction house in my hometown is a dream come true.
TS: I’ve always been passionate about sustainability and the re-use of beautiful, valuable items, so it was only natural that I would find myself in the auction world. I believe there is no better marketplace for buyers and sellers of jewelry. I love having the chance to connect with my clients: guiding them through the often-emotional process of selling their beloved items, and ensuring the objects are going to a happy home.
What has been an unexpected aspect of your positions?
GW: As someone who avoided the stage my entire life, I was pleasantly surprised to discover how much I love being an auctioneer. After four years behind the rostrum, I can say with confidence that it is one of the best, and most unexpected, parts of my role. Auctioneering is the true culmination of all else that I do – after getting to know a consignor, cataloging and researching a painting, and fielding questions from prospective buyers, the moment I drop the gavel on a painting is like nothing else.
TS: I never expected to have such deep relationships with so many of my clients. Selling jewelry at auction is a very personal decision, and I love being a client’s guide and partner as they navigate the auction process. Recently, I worked with a local woman who had a diamond ring that was an anniversary gift from her late husband. Her lifestyle had evolved, and it was time for the ring to find a new home. We offered her ring at auction this spring, and it was purchased by a private gentleman (sight unseen, after he and I FaceTimed repeatedly). I worked with a local jeweler here on Charles Street to get the ring resized and refine the setting. It’s such a happy story for both the buyer and the seller, and it highlights how personal my role can be.
Do you recall any favorite or preferred objects that have come across the block?
GW: I have had countless “favorite” paintings over the years. However, one will always remain in my mind: John Singer Sargent’s “Candelabra with Roses,” an intimate oil [painting] that we sold for $457,500 in 2017. Sargent is one of my favorite artists, and this was the first of several Sargents I have had the privilege to handle. There was a liveliness and dimensionality to the painting that was made all the more special by its provenance: it was a gift from Sargent to his friend and fellow artist Francis Millet, and it had descended within the Millet family since then. On auction day, “Candelabra with Roses” sold to a private collector who hung the work in his home above a candelabra that nearly matched the one depicted in the painting.
TS: My favorite and most coveted object to come across the block was a Van Cleef & Arpels mystery-set brooch that sold for a record-setting $781,250 in our fall 2021 auction. The rare and expertly constructed piece was a career highlight thus far. When holding the brooch in your hand, you couldn’t help but stare in amazement at the quality of the craftsmanship.
What can we expect from Grogan & Company in the next few years?
GW & TS: We represent the next generation of the auction business. Grogan & Company is at the forefront of technological advancements in our industry, but we have not lost sight of the importance of the human touch. In the coming years, we want to continue the trend of making auctions more accessible for all. Whether a client lives around the corner from our gallery or across the country, our goal is to make them feel like our neighbor. This focused, intentional and individualized approach underscores all that we do, and will continue to guide us going forward.
[Editor’s note: Grogan & Company’s next sale, The Fall Auction, is on November 6.]
– Z.G. Burnett
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