Neue Auctions caters to a new generation of antiques enthusiasts

Move over, traditional antiques dealers and auction houses—there’s a new kid on the block. Veteran antique dealer Ronald Greenwald (third-generation co-owner of Woodmere-based Greenwald Antiques) and Cynthia Maciejewski (co-founder of Cleveland-based Aspire Auctions) have joined forces to open Neue Auctions, a one-stop online auction house and art gallery.

What separates Neue from the other five auction houses in the Cleveland area is its audience, as Maciejewski and Greenwald are catering to the next generation of enthusiasts. “Millennials and women are the fastest-growing segment of art collectors and we want to better reach this growing market," says Maciejewski, citing a recent article on artnet. “They are the guardians of our shared human story.”

<span class="content-image-text">Cynthia Maciejewski and Ronald Greenwald, co-founders of Neue Auctions</span>Cynthia Maciejewski and Ronald Greenwald, co-founders of Neue AuctionsIn trying to reach this target audience, Greenwald and Maciejewski are using storytelling and social media, along with adding a personalized touch. “We carefully curate each auction sale, hand-selecting items for more of a gallery feel, and, in doing so, are more one-on-one with our clients,” explains Maciejewski, who specializes in antiquarian books and modern art.

Neue Auctions not only will host regular online auctions—with the first one occurring this Saturday, September 22—but this new house also has a 2,000-square-foot gallery within the Ohio Design Centre. Open to the public five days a week, the gallery will offer consignment sales or pay cash outright for items customers bring in. Greenwald believes that having a variety of choices often provides convenience for customers who now can decide whether to take Neue’s offer and hold out for an auction.

Greenwald cites a watch that a customer brought in as an example: “I appraised the watch at $600 to $700, and I was going to pay $500 for it,” he explains. “If you put it to auction, maybe it will sell for more. It’s really only worth what people will pay.”

Neue Auctions’ team of experts includes Greenwald, Maciejewski, art and antiques expert Bridget McWilliams, and director of luxury accessories Ricardo Bernabe. Together they curate everything from 18th century works to modern art pieces. “It’s constantly evolving and changing,” says Greenwald, “and all of the pieces are for sale.”

The Neue staff also performs appraisals and valuations, as well as assisting with estates and trust distributions.

Saturday’s auction features English antiques and art, as well as contemporary works with prices from $100 to $100,000, according to Greenwald. Items range from 19th century papier mache snuff boxes and items from French glassmaker Lalique to a pair of silver candlesticks by Anton Koell dating back to the Viennese Empire period, circa 1790-1814.

Furthermore, the auction features the works of several graduates of the Cleveland School (now the Cleveland Institute of Art) who worked at Lakewood's famed Cowan Pottery Studio—including ceramic heads by Walt Sinz’ (1881-1966). Other Cleveland artists from the same era include Frank Wilcox, Laurence Isard, Charles DeKlyn, Paul Travis, and Abel Warshawsky.

Greenwald and Maciejewski say they are hard-pressed to pick a favorite piece from the upcoming auction, which boasts more than 700 lots, although Greenwald cites Michael Pavlik’s 22-inch “Virtual Equinox” glass sculpture as a contender. “It’s a special one," says Greenwald. 

Maciejewski mentions a collection of "stunning" English tea caddies from the late 18th century and early 19th century that have an interesting history, but she also points to a 26-inch diamond rosary, which is made with gold and platinum and has seven carats of cut diamonds and seed pearls. “It looks like something from the Renaissance,” she says, even though it is from the 19th century. “When you hold it in your hand, it feels magical.”

Neue will host a gallery preview party on Thursday, September 20, from 5 to 8 p.m. The event is open to the public. Normal Neue gallery hours are Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Karin Connelly Rice
Karin Connelly Rice

About the Author: Karin Connelly Rice

Karin Connelly Rice enjoys telling people's stories, whether it's a promising startup or a life's passion. Over the past 20 years she has reported on the local business community for publications such as Inside Business and Cleveland Magazine. She was editor of the Rocky River/Lakewood edition of In the Neighborhood and was a reporter and photographer for the Amherst News-Times. At Fresh Water she enjoys telling the stories of Clevelanders who are shaping and embracing the business and research climate in Cleveland.