The Keno brothers, twins Leigh and Leslie Keno from upstate New York, grew up surrounded with antiques. Their parents were antique dealers and both developed a passion for antiques early on. So much so that they considered themselves antique dealers at twelve, keeping meticulous accounts of their purchases.
Their enthusiasm for antiques has led to greater public awareness and raised interest in antique furniture and objects, especially from Early American eras.
Leigh is the president of Manhattan based Leigh Keno American Antiques. The gallery deals in 18th and early 19th Century American furniture and decorative arts.
Early on in his career, he was a visiting scholar at the Winterthur Museum in Delaware. He worked at William Doyle Galleries in New York as director of the American furniture department before going on to Christie's where he became a senior specialist in the American furniture department.
He has helped build some of the finest collections of American furniture and decorative arts for private individuals and public institutions.
Leslie is Senior Vice President and Director of American Furniture and Decorative Arts at Sotheby’s in New York. He graduated from Williams College with honors in American art. His intensive study of early American furniture from the Charles M. Davenport collection led to a catalog and exhibition of the collection at the Williams College Museum of Art.
At Sotheby's he has been responsible for many successful single-owner sales of American furniture and decorative arts. He has achieved record-breaking sales of American furniture bringing international attention and public awareness to American furniture.
Both the Keno brothers are familiar to viewers of the PBS show Antiques Roadshow. Incidentally, this is not the only show on which they have appeared as experts. From 2003 to 2004 they hosted the PBS show Find and have also hosted the show Collect This! with the Keno Brothers on MSN.
The brothers have also earlier written a book on antiques together, called Hidden Treasures: Searching for Masterpieces of American Furniture. They are used to collaborating with each other. Designing a furniture line together would have been a tremendous challenge without this experience.
The two have also collaborated on magazine design articles and monthly features for House Beautiful and This Old House magazines.
The Keno Bros. Collection:
This is the sensibility that they bring to their “Keno Bros.” collection which they developed with the high end manufacturer Theodore Alexander. This is an assortment of over 40 pieces based on the furniture of the past, ranging from the 18th Century to mid-Century modern.
However, their collection is not mere replication of antiques, as they have taken elements from these earlier periods and interpreted it for modern times. And since the best of furniture has always been functional they have focused on that aspect also.
They have used a wide variety of materials in their furniture. Materials include striped ebony, maple, marble, brass, block angere wood, blonde sycamore, mahogany, and olive ash burl.
Pieces include chests, bookshelves and tables.