“The art experience for me is like a narcotic,” Allan Stone said. “I don’t get it from everything, but I keep looking for it.”
The Wall Street Journal gets a preview of the two-part, $20m 300-lot sale of Allan Stone’s African, Oceanic, Indonesian, pre-Columbian and Native American art. Remember that this is the third major cycle of sales from Stone’s holdings. Christie’s made more than $52 million in 2007; Sotheby’s held three sales in 2011 that brought around $68 million. Stone’s collection of cars, especially Bugattis, don’t appear in these figures either.
Now there’s another category of work that Stone obsessively collected coming to the market from Sotheby’s:
For nearly half a century, the late art dealer ran an influential New York gallery filled with postwar art. But his pieces from Africa—a continent he never set foot on—were different. “It was impossible to get something from his African collection,” says Heinrich Schweizer, head of African and Oceanic art for Sotheby’s in New York. “I know of one important piece of African art he sold within the last 20 years.”
Mr. Stone, a burly Harvard graduate and onetime lawyer, was a voracious collector of modern art, antiquities, furniture, cars, folk art and more. At the time of his death in 2006 at age 74, nearly 20,000 pieces jammed his home, from a huge wooden steer to delicate Venetian glass to paintings by masters such as Willem de Kooning. When Sotheby’s did an estate appraisal in 2007, it took 1½ months for a contemporary-art specialist to realize there was a 10-foot-wide Alexander Calder sculpture in the middle of the living room. It had been buried under other artwork.