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Nov. 13, 2007 

The week of post-war and contemporary art auctions in New York got off to a great start on Monday evening, Dec. 12, 2007, at Christie’s New York in Rockefeller Center. "Selections from the Allan Stone Collection," a potpourri of fine art, Art Deco, tribal and folk art from the estate of the celebrated art dealer and collector (whose gallery at 113 East 90th Street currently boasts an exhibition of Willem de Kooning drawings). 

The sale totaled $52,423,400, with 64 of 71 lots finding buyers, or 71 percent. Prices include the auction-house premium of 25 percent on the first $20,000, 12 percent of the remainder up to $500,000 and 12 percent of the rest.

The trove was especially strong in works by de Kooning, Wayne Thiebaud, Franz Kline and John Graham, many of them signature works thanks to their appearance in important exhibitions or books. The sale’s top lot was an untitled de Kooning abstraction on board from 1942, an early work that was acquired soon after it was painted by the artist's friends and neighbors, Edwin Denby and Rudolph Burkhardt, and that is used as an illustration in Irving Sandler’s The Triumph of American Painting (1970). It sold for $5,305,000 -- under the presale low estimate of $6,000,000.

Earlier in the sale, a more "classic" Abstract Expressionist de Kooning painting of a pink-toned hominid with splayed legs, Man (1967), an especially tactile work done in oil on paper at the artist’s studio in Springs on Long Island, sold for $4,521,000, also under its presale low estimate of $5,000,000.

The top lot by Thiebaud was Seven Suckers (1970), a brightly colored, small (19 x 23 in.) painting of two rows of lollipops. It sold for $4,521,000, considerably more than its presale estimate of $1,400,000-$1,800,000, and a new auction record for the artist. A second Thiebaud "still-life," this one depicting a rack of neckties, also soared past its presale estimate to sell for $3,401,000.

The sale also set new auction records for John Chamberlain ($2,841,000), John Graham ($1,609,000), Alfred Leslie ($385,000 for an early abstraction, rather than a better-known figurative work) and Michael Goldberg ($205,000).

The collection’s decorative art also did well, with a Romanesque-styled double-sided desk designed ca. 1900 by Carlo Bugatti selling for $1,553,000, an auction record, and an Art Nouveau-styled two-part folding screen in oak and frosted glass made in 1909 by the Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí going for $1,385,000, also an auction record.

The sale’s highlighted folk art work, a cast-zinc bullock, made as a "trade sign" for Swift Meat Packing Company, ca. 1900, sold for $493,000.

For complete, illustrated auction results, see Artnet’s signature Fine Art Auctions Report.

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