Gaze Inside Allan Stone’s World Famous Private Collection

Works by prominent collector and dealer Allan Stone up for offer by Clars Auction Gallery (May 22). Photo courtesy of Clars Auction Gallery

Prominent New York and San Francisco dealer and one of the world’s premier collectors, Allan Stone, walked through life holding a unique mantra when it came to art collecting.

“He really appreciated artwork for the art, not for who created it. He let the art speak for itself, and advocated that people buy art because it moves them,” says Rick Unruh, Vice President and Director of Fine Art at Clars Auction Gallery.

Stone, who died in 2006, was known for having discovered and popularized many artists in the mid- to late 20th century. Expanding his love for collecting beyond contemporary fine art, Stone also became known for having one of the largest collections of American folk art, Bugattis, and Gaudi furniture.

Favoring Realism, Abstract Expressionism, funky ceramics, and found-object sculptures, he was the first to give artist Wayne Thiebaud a show in 1962. He later brought ceramicist Robert Arneson and photorealist Richard Estes to center stage.

This Sunday, May 22, Clars will hold its Fine Art & Antiques Auction featuring 80 works from Allan Stone’s private collection. The auction, says Unruh, will offer a rare opportunity for admirers and collectors to see, and potentially own, “one man’s vision and passion for great art.” Among the array of 20th-century contemporary art offered, Unruh shared his Allan Stone picks.

The Allan Stone Collection

Lot 6228, “Criss-Cross” by Lorraine Shemesh, oil on canvas, 1995,
Allan Stone Gallery, NY, Clars Auction Gallery (May 22)

“This oil on canvas is by Loraine Shemesh, a Surrealist who specializes in capturing underwater figures in a swimming pool. It’s beautifully executed and very realistic, with rich layers of paint. You can see the illusion of a shimmering of light in the pool. It’s truly amazing. This is estimated at $20-40,000,” says Unruh.

“In that same category is a large female nude, ‘Painting of LM,’ by Stephen Cornelius Roberts. This is spectacularly realistic and well-executed, and it’s like a combination of the styles of Michelangelo, Rubens, and Velasquez. Every little nook and cranny of the female body is shown, with her leaning and clutching a fabric. Cornelius is represented in Allen Stone’s gallery in New York and commands a lot of money if you buy his work at retail. This one estimated at $40-60,000.”

Lot 6251, “Conundrum” by Jerry McLaughlin, 1989, oil on masonite,
Allan Stone Gallery, NY, Clars Auction Gallery (May 22)

“Another one that’s extremely good is this illusion of a 3-D piece. This is called ‘Conundrum’ by Jerry McLaughlin. While the objects look real, it is a giant painting of these objects – an example of Superrealism. This is estimated at $10-15,000, and is probably the best work McLaughlin has ever done.”

Lot 6287, “Another Day in Paradise (KAIROS)” by Dennis Clive, 1989, ceramic & mixed media sculpture,
Allan Stone Gallery, NY, Clars Auction Gallery (May 22)

“In terms of ceramic pieces, since Allan Stone was a great admirer of ceramicist Robert Arneson, we have a very large piece by Dennis Clive who is also a Bay Area artist but recognized nationally. This is called ‘Another Day in Paradise (KAIROS)’ and is a large ceramic yellow racecar, 64 inches wide, made from many different pieces. It explores an important symbol of American culture during the time of Baby Boomers, a build-it-yourself generation, and pays homage to California Funk Art. This is estimated at $20-40,000.”

Lot 6253, “Untitled” by Kazuko Inoue, 1987, acrylic on canvas,
Allan Stone Gallery, NY, Clars Auction Gallery (May 22)

“If you like Abstract Expressionist art, ‘Untitled’ by Kazuko Inoue is a great example. He’s an American Japanese artist. This particular piece is vibrant and colorful with its oranges and yellows, and has a beautiful interplay of these colors. It’s more outside of the box from the other Realist artists in Allan Stone’s collection – this is pure abstract art and considered a must-have for any collector.”

And More…

Spotlighting history and excellent craftsmanship, Lauren Pressler, Decorative Arts Specialist at Clars, selected a few of her favorite decorative objects for some standout home embellishments, each offered in the sale.

Lot 6526, Rare pair of Chinese ormolu bronze automaton clocks, Guangzhou Workshop,
Clars Auction Gallery (May 22)

Lot 6002, Viennese vermeil and enamel Nef ship after Herman Bohm, c. 1890,
Clars Auction Gallery (May 22)

Lot 6093, 25¢ Mills Dewey upright color wheel slot machine, 1913,
Clars Auction Gallery (May 22)