Curriculum Vitae


  • Former Director of the Fine Arts Department at Bonhams & Butterfields in Chicago
  • Ten years Curator and Director of Business Development at Playboy Enterprises, Inc.
  • Former Vice President of Client Development at the Conservation Center in Chicago
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We would like to introduce you to Aaron R. Baker, Auctionata Expert in Illustration and pin up art as well as photography.

Aaron R. Baker has fifteen years’ experience as an art specialist, consultant and curator. He is an expert in illustration, pin-up art and photography. After graduating with a Masters of Fine Art from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where he studied under renowned art critic Dave Hickey, Baker took a position with Bonhams & Butterfields in Chicago. He began his auction career in the company’s receiving department, but his knowledge and enthusiasm for the business allowed him to ascend quickly to the role of fine art specialist.

After a stint with Leslie Hindman’s, where he ran the art department and oversaw a network of experts, he joined Playboy Enterprises, Inc., where he served as Curator and Business Development Director for a decade. At Playboy, Aaron R. Baker managed one of the largest illustration and cartoon archives in the world, as well as the company’s contemporary art collection and editorial archive.

During his tenure, he became an authority on illustration and pin-up art, including the works of Alberto Vargas. Leveraging the company’s massive photo archive, he also curated exhibitions that highlighted the magazine’s history and wrote and spoke extensively about the collection.  Most notably, he utilized his relationships with auction houses and collectors to implement a successful monetization strategy for the company’s archival assets, organizing auctions and executing private sales. Since leaving Playboy in 2012, the expert has worked as a Vice President of Business Development for The Conservation Center in Chicago and now works as an art consultant for a variety of private and corporate clients. 

His favorite find would be a series of illustrations done for Playboy’s bachelor pad series. Through a series of articles with titles such as “Playboy’s Weekend Hideaway” and “Playboy’s Patio Terrace”, the magazine exposed its readers to the latest in swanky period design in the1950s and 60s. The artwork was executed by a variety of illustrators and was very mid-century cool.

Aaron R. Baker lives and works in Chicago.