The Telegraph offers an obituary of the collector Stanley Seeger whose interest in art and music blossomed into something greater when he met in 1979 his life partner of 32 years, Christopher Cone:
One of the first — and rather unexpected — results was the purchase of Sutton Place, in Surrey, the former property of the oil magnate Paul Getty. Seeger and Cone set up the Sutton Place Heritage Trust to maintain the house and open it for concerts and exhibitions. They created the lake and commissioned the garden by Geoffrey Jellicoe. A striking orange triptych by Francis Bacon dominated the Great Hall.
Under Cone’s influence, British artists such as Fuseli, Samuel Palmer, Turner, Christopher Wood, Graham Sutherland and — above all — Ben Nicholson poured into the collection. They were joined by major Europeans such as Dubuffet, Beckmann, Cézanne, Miró, and by some contemporary American works, such as Jasper Johns’s Coloured Alphabet (1959).
At the same time the Picasso collection grew. “Collections sneak up on you,” said Seeger, “they start to have a life of their own. You buy four or five pieces and then start to fill gaps.” By the time he had filled in the “gaps”, it had grown to 123 works in all media. It was an intimate collection evenly spread across the artist’s career, with a large proportion of works which Picasso had given to friends and associates.
Seeger’s restless streak then reasserted itself. Sutton Place was sold, followed soon afterwards by the Picasso collection. Despite being offered at Sotheby’s in 1993 — a grim economic moment — its conspicuous quality ensured that it was one of those rare auctions in which not a single lot remained unsold. It realised $32 million.
Subsequent sales of the reburgeoning picture collection included more, newly acquired, Picassos, the Bacon triptych and a sensational “constellation” by Miró which had hung insouciantly in the kitchen of Seeger’s London flat.
Stanley Seeger (Telegraph)