Famous N.Y. dealer's art collection to be auctioned

Fri Apr 1, 2011 1:56pm EDT
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NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Works from the collection of New York art dealer Allan Stone will be hitting the auction block in May and are expected to fetch more than $35 million, Sotheby's said on Friday.

The sale, including one session dedicated to the work of West Coast artist Wayne Thiebaud who Stone first championed in the early 1960s, will feature art by Willem de Kooning, Franz Kline, Joseph Cornell and many other artists represented and collected by Stone.

Stone, who died in 2006, founded the Allan Stone Gallery 50 years ago after first working as a Wall Street lawyer. He became legendary in art circles for his obsessive collecting -- and not just art. At one time he reportedly owned more than two dozen Bugatti automobiles.

"Stone was considered one of the preeminent American dealers based in New York with national and international followings for more than four decades," said Anthony Grant, international senior specialist of contemporary art at Sotheby's.

Stone stood apart from such contemporaries as Leo Castelli and others who focused on New York artists, building up Abstract Expressionist holdings and expanding west, eventually representing important West Coast artists.

"Allan was the consummate dealer/collector; he had a legendary eye, sought out works he loved, held on to them and lived with them." Grant said, describing what he called Stone's storied career.

Highlights of the sale's first session include a large scale Kline from 1953-54, "Herald," which is estimated to sell for as much as $3.5 million, and sculptor John Chamberlain's "Nutcracker," which Stone acquired in 1964 and could fetch up to $1.8 million.

The session devoted to Thiebaud, who Stone first met when the artist walked into his East Side gallery in spring of 1961, will feature some 20 works, led by "Pies," a 1961 depiction of more than a dozen slices of pie on plates which carries an estimate of $2.5 million to $3.5 million.

Stone's collection will be sold on May 9, the eve of Sotheby's contemporary and post-war auction.

The works are currently on display at Hong Kong's Convention & Expo Center, ahead of an exhibition in London starting April 14 at Sotheby's, followed by showings in Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York ahead of the May sales.