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Sotheby's to Offer Property from The Collection of New York Gallery Owner Allan Stone
Willem de Kooning, Event in a Barn. Painted in 1947. Oil on canvas, 61 x 91.4 cm. Est. $5/7 million. Photo: Sotheby's.

NEW YORK, N.Y..- This spring, 50 years after the founding of The Allan Stone Gallery, Sotheby’s will offer property from the collection of renowned New York dealer Allan Stone. Works will be presented in two volumes on the evening of Monday, 9 May 2011, the night before Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Evening sale on 10 May. Volume I will comprise outstanding examples by the key artists represented and collected by Stone and highlights include works by Willem de Kooning, John Chamberlain, Franz Kline, Joseph Cornell, and others. Volume II will be dedicated to the West Coast artist Wayne Thiebaud, whose work was first championed by Stone in New York more than forty-five years ago. The two sales are estimated to bring more than $35 million* and go on view in New York beginning 6 May 2011.

“Like Leo Castelli and Sidney Janis, Allan 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. “Unlike his contemporaries, who were focused almost exclusively on the New York school, Allan built upon his strong Abstract Expressionist holdings and expande west, representing an important group of West Coast artists who were inspired by the Bay area Figurative movement, Abstract Expressionism and the 1960s burgeoning Pop art movement. Allan was the consummate dealer/collector; he had a legendary eye, sought out works he loved, held on to them and lived with them. Through the upcoming sales, collectors will be afforded a window onto his storied career and the rare opportunity to own a piece of art history.”

Volume I – 9 May 2011
Volume I will focus on classic Abstract Expressionist works by the various artists championed by Stone throughout his career – Joseph Cornell, Willem de Kooning, John Chamberlain, Franz Kline, Arshile Gorky, Alfred Leslie, and others. Major works will be offered, in addition to examples in different mediums, presenting the full range of an artist’s oeuvre.

The sale will include a critical mass of works by Willem de Kooning dating from 1942 to 1976. Among the highlights is Event in a Barn from 1947, a view of a figure set in an abstracted interior (est. $5/7 million). This configuration of an interior scene with a window is one the artist would return to often in the 1940s and 50s. Likewise, the palette of vivid colors – green and pink - was an important component of de Kooning’s work of this period, most notably his Pink Lady from 1944. Also by de Kooning is Forest of Zogbaum 1958, a wonderful example of the artist’s abstract landscapes executed when he first began to visit Long Island in the late 1950s ($2.5/3.5 million). This period for the artist was characterized by a hybrid of urban and rural inspiration and a palette of blue, yellow, brown and white emerges; eventually becoming even brighter when the artist moved permanently to Long Island in 1961.

Volume I will also include an impressive body of work by Franz Kline, from 1953 to 1957. The 9 May evening sale will feature the rare appearance of a large-scale work by Kline from 1953-54 - Herald (est. $2.5/3.5 million). This iconic masterpiece was included in important surveys of the artist’s work, most recently in the 2004-2005 exhibition, Franz Kline: 1910-1962 at the Castello di Rivoli in Italy, and selected by Stone for his 1997 show Franz Kline: Architecture & Atmosphere.

Allan Stone was a tireless supporter and collector of the Abstract Expressionist sculptor John Chamberlain. The three works to be offered in May are led by Nutcracker from 1958, a rare early example of the works the artist would become known for in the early 1960s (est. $1.2/1.8 million). Comprising all of the hallmarks of his mature compressed metal sculptures, including car parts and chromiumplated steel, the sculpture also has a full range of colors. The piece clearly moved Stone – he acquired it in 1964 and it remained in his collection until now.

The sale will also comprise a number of works by Joseph Cornell, including important examples of his boxed assemblages. Stone had a close personal relationship with the enigmatic and elusive Cornell in the mid-1960s and acquired these works directly from him. Aviary from 1949 is a classic example of a theme that captivated the artist and is coveted by collectors (est. $1/1.5 million). Untitled (Dovecote), circa 1953, features the artist’s well-known use of the grid on an unusually large scale, measuring over 17 inches in height (est. $800,000/1.2 million). The work is further infused with color by the incorporation of bright and childlike found objects.

Volume II: The Art of Wayne Thiebaud - 9 May 2011
Volume II will feature approximately 20 works by the California artist Wayne Thiebaud, including examples from some of his most popular bodies of work – pie slices and delicacies, street scenes, figurative work and landscapes. Thiebaud wandered into Stone’s 86th Street gallery in the spring of 1961 and in 1962, Stone gave the artist his first one-man show in New York, an event that would serve as a watershed moment in both their careers. The two shared a very close relationship over the next forty-five years and Stone amassed a remarkable cross-section of Thiebaud’s work spanning his career. The May sale will include paintings and drawings by the artist from 1961-1996.

Pies from 1961 is a classic example of Thiebaud’s architectural exploration of objects in multiple (est. $2.5/3.5 million). Just as man Pop artists were immortalizing commonplace objects, Thiebaud was looking to bakery window displays and cafeterias for inspiration and repeating the subjects while playing with perspective. Thiebaud gravitated toward subjects that pleased him graphically, such as his Tie Pile from 1969, a more abstract exploration of repetition (est. $1.2/1.8 million).

Both as an artist and a professor, the genre of figurative paintings and drawings was of great importance to the artist, yet it remains a body of work that does not often appear on the market. Many of the works were executed in the 60s and 70s and kept by Stone, including Nude, Back View from 1969 (est. $1.5/2 million). The subjects of these frank works were often people from the artist’s circle of family and friends, and the present work is one of three included in the May sale.

Down Penn. St. from 1977 is a wonderful example of the artist’s California street scenes (est. $300/400,000). In these works, Thiebaud blended abstraction with the horizontals and verticals of the renowned San Francisco cityscape. Thiebaud has continued to explore northern California landscapes into the 1990s and Allan Stone’s collection also includes his Brown River from 1996 which captures the Sacramento River Valley, where the artist lived and worked for many years (est. $500/700,000).

*Estimates do not include buyer’s premium

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