Collection of Allan Stone Auctions for $54.8 Million at Sotheby’s New York

Sotheby’s two-part sale of The Collection of Allan Stone, brought a total of $54,805,500, well above the pre-sale high estimate of $46.8 million, and was 93% sold by lot. The auction was held 50 years after the founding of The Allan Stone Gallery and celebrated the artists represented and collected by this renowned New York dealer.

The evening was led by John Chamberlain’s Nutcracker, a rare and early example of the work that the artist would become known for in the early 1960s, which sold for $4,786,500 and set a new record for the artist at auction. In addition to this new record, the sale was characterized by strong prices and global demand for West Coast artist Wayne Thiebaud, with 17 works bringing a total of $27,528,500, above a high estimate of $18.3 million.

“We had an excellent night tonight as happens when you expose great art to a global audience,” said Tobias Meyer, Sotheby’s Worldwide Head of Contemporary Art. “It was Anthony Grant’s idea to put the Thiebauds as a group together and the world responded globally to this great artist, helping us to exceed our high estimate.”

Alex Rotter, Director of Sotheby’s New York Contemporary Art Department, said: “We are delighted with this evening’s terrific sale result of $54.8 million, dramatically above the pre-sale estimate of $32.8/46.8 million, which is a testament to Allan Stone’s discerning eye and his connoisseurship. In the stand-alone Wayne Thiebaud section, American bidders competed with an international audience for the first time; the group of 18 works brought a total of $27.5 million with an estimate of $12.3 to 18.3 million, and all but one sold.”

Anthony Grant, Senior International Specialist, Contemporary Art, said: “Allan gave Thiebaud his first one- man show in New York in 1962 and championed his work from then up until tonight, even four years after his death. Over the course of that forty-five year relationship, Allan held back an extraordinary array of works, including Pies, which featured in that first watershed show and brought a terrific price tonight.”

The Art of Wayne Thiebaud
Highlighting the section devoted to the art of Wayne Thiebaud was Pies from 1961, a classic example of the artist’s architectural exploration of objects in multiple that soared over the high estimate to fetch $4,002,500 (est. $2.5/3.5 million). Other highlights included Four Pinball Machines (Study), which was sought after by five bidders before selling for $3,442,500 to a collector bidding by telephone (est. $700/900,000), Candies which soared to $2,770,500, several times the high estimate (est. $500/700,000) and Tie Pile, an abstract exploration of repetition that fetched $2,098,500, comfortably exceeding the high estimate (est. $1.2/1.8 million). The figurative paintings were led by Man Reading, which comfortably beat the high estimate when it sold for $2,658,500 (est. $1/1.5 million). Buyers of works by Thiebaud included American, European and Asian private collectors.

Abstract Expressionism
The first volume of this evening’s sale was dedicated to Abstract Expressionist works by the various artists championed by Stone throughout his career. Sculpture by John Chamberlain was particularly in demand with Nutcracker from 1958 selling for $4,786,500, more than double the high estimate and a new record for the artist at auction (est. $1.2/1.8 million). Other strong prices from the artist included Untitled from 1961 which eventually sold for $662,500 after it was sought after by six bidders (est. $200/300,000) and an Untitled sculpture from 1962 that was contested by three bidders before selling for $602,500.

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

The sale included several works by Willem de Kooning that were led by Event in a Barn from 1947, a view of a figure set in an abstracted interior, which sold for $4,786,500 (est. $5/7 million) and Forest of Zogbaum a wonderful example of the artist’s abstract landscapes from 1958, which fetched $2,658,500 (est. $2.5/3.5 million).

Other highlights from Volume I included: Little Cross by Alexander Calder, which sold for $3,330,500 (est. $2/3 million), Herald, a large-scale work by Franz Kline from 1953-54 that fetched $2,322,500, and 2 Untitled (Dovecote) by Joseph Cornell, which features the artist’s well-known use of the grid on an unusually large scale that fetched $1,426,500.

Top image: John Chamberlain, Nutcracker, 1958. Est. $1.2/1.8 million. Sold for: $4,786,500 (£2,923,053) (€3,324,397). Photo: Sotheby’s.

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