from The Allen
Stone Collection," including several breathtaking paintings
by Willem de Kooning, is a memorable highlight of Christie's Post-War
and Contemporary Art sale week that it kicks off November 12,
2007. It is extremely rare for a collection of this quality and
range to come to auction, offering a glimpse of a truly unique
"New York" collector, whose confidence and connoisseur's
eye was equaled by his extraordinary eclecticism, bravado and
in 1911 by Josep M.
Jujol for the Botiga Manach, Barcelona, the tropical hardwood,
painted wrought iron chair, Lot 643, featured at the top of this
story was recently exhibited at "Barcelona and Modernity:
Picasso, Gaudi, Miro Dali" at The Metropolitan Museum of
Art, together with Antoni Gaudi's extraordinary "Two-part
Folding Screen from Casa Mila," Lot 628). Lot 643 has an
estimate of $60,000 to $80,000. It sold for $769,000
the buyer's premium as do all results mentioned in this article.
The price was a world auction for the artist. The screen has
an estimate $1,500,000 to $2,500,000. It sold for $1,385,000,
shattering the previous auction record of $61,638 set at Sotheby's
in Paris last May. Displayed in close proximity to each other
at Christie's, both sculptural pieces follow the sensuous curves
of Lot 661, Willem de Kooning's beautiful "Untitled,"
an iconic early work by the artist, painted in 1942, with an estimate
of $6,000,000 to $10,000,000. It sold for $5,305,000, the
price in the sale.
sale was very successful
with 90 percent of the 71 offered lots selling for a total of
$52,423,400 including buyers' premiums. the pre-sale estimate
without buyers' premiums was $40,300,000 to $59,200,000.
rendered in oil,
"Man," Lot 609, by Willem de Kooning, was exhibited
at "Willem de Kooning: Liquefying Cubism," at the Allan
Stone Gallery in October 1994-January 1995, together with Lot
641, "Study for Marshes," another sublime early work
on paper mounted on panel, executed in 1945-46, give some idea
of the quality of paintings Stone collected, the latter long before
de Kooning became famous. Lot 609 has an estimate of $5,000,000
to $7,000,000. It sold for $4,521,000. Lot 641 has
of $4,000,000 to $6,000,000. It sold for $4,297,000.
1960s, the Allan Stone
Gallery exhibited new artists like Richard Estes and Wayne Thiebaud,
whose atmospheric "Blue Hill," Lot 633, with gorgeous
striations of pastel and acrylic, that must be seen to be fully
appreciated. It has an estimate of $1,500,000 to $2,000,000. It
sold for $1,721,000. By breaking new ground and paving the
way for innovative thinking, buying, and dealing in art - and
enjoying diverse art forms in the process - connoisseurs like
Allan Stone inspired and emboldened future generations of art
collectors to reach beyond the obvious.
include Lot 605,
"Double-sided Desk," imaginatively designed by the legendary
Carlo Bugatti, whose racing cars set the bar for performance that
persists to this day, and which Allen Stone also collected. The
desk has an estimate of $100,000 to $150,000. It sold for
smashing the previous auction record for the artist of $132,000
set at Christie's in New York last December. Lot 667, John
Graham's enigmatic "Woman with Dodecahedron," has an
estimate of $500,000 to $700,000. It sold for $1,609,000,
a new auction record for the artist. The previous record was $431,500
set at Christie's in New York May 13, 1999. Lot 652, "A
Fine Papuan Gulf Headdress," has an estimate of $15,000 to
$20,000. It sold for $21,250.
Director Post-War and Contemporary Art at Christies describes
visiting Allan Stone's gallery in the 60s, in search of a major
John Graham at the request of a client:
every first time
visitor to the gallery, I was bowled over by the enormous amount
and quality of works crowding his office and gallery. I found
several major Graham paintings to offer my client, but, most
began a long friendship with one of the most generous, smart,
infectiously enthusiastic, loyal and passionate members of the
art world whose taste in works of art developed my own. He always
had time to share his knowledge and passion."
Stone collected sublime
paintings by other contemporary giants besides de Kooning - like
Gorky, Franz Kline, Newman, Cornell and Graham in depth - long
before they were famous, and this collection contains a diverse
and important group of sculptures by John Chamberlain. Lot 631,
"Untitled," by Franz Kline, has an estimate $80,000
to $120,000. It sold for $109,000. Lot 646,
1951, has an estimate of $2,000,000 to $3,000,000. It sold
from the Allen
Stone Collection" encompass iconic Twentieth Century Contemporary
art, design, Tribal and Folk Art, urban architectural artifacts
- and anything that appealed to Allan Stone's extraordinary eye.
While the collection is dominated by superb de Kooning's, there
is something wonderful to be had in all price ranges - in true,
democratic, New York spirit - including wonderful Americana, like
the Carved and Painted Tobacconist Figures of an Indian Warrior,
Lot 621, and Indian Princess, Lot 622, both estimated at
illustrated above with the "Cabinet" by Carlo Bugatti,
(Lot 637, estimated at $80,000 to $120,000), circa 1898. Lot
621 sold for $217,000 and Lot 622 sold for $193,000.
displayed in a
cozy gallery on the second floor that mirrors a New York scale
residence similar to the one in which the collection was originally
housed, it is easy to get a sense of the remarkable man who assembled,
and lived surrounded by, such exceptional works of art. Clearly,
he valued each painting, sculpture or artifact for its own sake,
whether it was a de Kooning, or a quaint, patriotically painted
barber's shop pole once used to attract the attention of potential
customers, Lot 664, estimate $8,000 to $12,000, or Lot 634, "An
Oak Presentation Model of the 4-0-0 Locomotive Alpha, which has
an estimate of $30,000 to $50,000. The barber pole sold for
$16,250. The train sold for $58,600.
above is Lot 638,
a potent Urhobo male figure from Nigeria, with traces of chalk
enhancing the beautiful patina of the carved wood The figure is
dated circa 1875 and is 67 1/5 inches high and has an estimate
$300-500,000. It sold for $361,000. Equally
Willem de Kooning's graphic "Untitled (Rome Series),"
painted in 1959. The gritty, "alive," texture of the
black enamel painting was achieved by adding powdered pumice stone.
Lot 607, it measures 55 1/2 by 39 1/4 inches. It has an estimate
of $350,000 to $450,000. It sold for $657,000.
heavily textured oil painting,
"Nix on Nixon," Lot 624, is by Alfred Leslie (b. 1927),
and was exhibited in New York at The Museum of Modern Art's "Sixteen
Americans," December 1959-February, 1960. An oil on canvas,
it measures 72 by 79 inches and has an estimate of $200,000 to
$300,000. It sold for $385,000, setting a new auction record
for the artist. It is displayed beside a winsome mixed media
carving with cowry shell eyes, "A Fine Songye Figure,"
Lot 617, fashioned from wood, copper, cloth, hide and fur headdress
with oily patina. The horn on the top of his head is echoed in
the small figure attached to his left arm. The estimate is $150,000
to $250,000. It failed to sell and was passed at $110,000.
armed raised as if
about to throw a spear, Lot 608 is an expressive, noble Kongo
Nail Fetish figure with eyes inset with mirrors, and iron nails
and blades piercing his torso. His expressive face is marked with
kaolin and black paint, faded with time. The lot has an estimate
of $120,000 to $180,000. It was passed at $85,000. Lot
627, "Figures in a Landscape #2," by Willem de Kooning
also features an expressive hand outlined in black in the lower
right hand corner of the painting, among other body parts strewn
across a luscious, fleshy landscape that reflected the artists
move from New York City to more natural surroundings in East Hampton,
Long Island. The oil on paper mounted on canvas measures 30 1/4
by 35 inches and has an estimate of $2,500,000 to $3,500,000.
It was passed at $1,800,000.
American Folk Art in this
sale is absolutely wonderful, as illustrated above, Lot 610, "A
Gilt and Cast and Sheet Iron Horse Weathervane," which has
an estimate of $40,000 to $60,000, is displayed with Wayne Thiebaud's
juicy "Tie Rack," Lot 620, oil on canvas, 72 by 36 inches,
estimate $1,400,000 to $1,800,000. The weathervane sold for $55,000.
The tie rack painting sold for $3,401,000.
"The Swift Meat
Packing Company Molded Gilt Copper Trade Life-Size Figure of a
Steer," attributed to W. H. Mullins of Salem, Ontario, circa
1893, has an estimate of $300,000 to $500,000 and makes its presence
felt in Christie's "Sol Lewitt" lobby during the exhibition.
It sold for $493,000.
the sense from this
collection that without the love of life, and the joy and enthusiasm
of buying and selling art, it would be a meaningless endeavor
for Allen Stone. His was an all-encompassing passion, and he reputedly
bought more art than he sold! It is rare that a reviewer is eager
to describe the majority of the works exhibited in any auction,
as is the case here. There are simply too many to describe in
one story, but they are all worthy of mention.
above is one last
"vignette" of a remarkable artistic sensibility, before
the collection is dispersed forever, that encompassed a Wayne
Thiebaud "Hot Dog," Lot 650, an oil on canvas that measures
10 by 12 inches and has an estimate of estimate of $600,000 to
$800,000; a knock-out Bugatti-designed chair, circa 1900, Lot
654, which has an estimate of $20,000 to $30,000; "A Fine
Sepic River Male Figure," Lot 647, which has an estimate
$120,000 to $180,000;, and Willem de Kooning's lyrical "Study
for Marshes," Lot 641, an oil and charcoal on paper mounted
on panel that measures 28 7/8 by 22 1/2 inches and is estimated
at $4,000,000 to $6,000,000. Such exceptional juxtapositions are
not found every day. The "hot dog" sold for $1,385,000.
The Bugatti chair sold for $55,000. The Sepic River figure sold
for $265,000. "Study for Marches" sold for $4,297,000.
Paulsen, Senior International
Director and Deputy Chairman, America, organized this exceptional
installation, bringing Allen Stone the collector alive for viewers
on many different levels. Ms. Paulsen is photographed here with
Willem de Kooning's 1942 oil on canvas, "Untitled,"
Lot 661, which sold for $5,305,000.
is a vividly colored
abstract composition by Arshile Gorky (1904-1948). An oil on canvas
that measures 44 by 43 inches, it was painted in 1928-9. It has
an estimate of $900,000 to $1,200,000. It sold for $993,000
to Joseph Carroll.
by John Chamberlain sold for $2,841,000, more than double the
artist's previous auction record.
642, "The Lanner
Waltzes," by Joseph Cornell sold for $145,000, well over
the artist's previous auction record of $84,000 for a work on
by Michael Goldberg sold for $205,000, almost six times the artist's
previous auction record.