Music industry legend Seymour Stein is almost as well known for collecting as he is for signing such heroic artists as Madonna, the Pretenders, The Ramones and Talking Heads.
He’s now putting up for auction some 2,400 items of fine paintings and sculptures, Art Deco, ceramics, rare advertising and a wide assortment of other collectibles from his private holdings in The Seymour Stein Collections.
Beginning May 2, New York-based auction house Guernsey’s, in conjunction with Mid-Hudson Galleries, will handle the sale for Stein, whose love and knowledge of music, observed late Atlantic Records co-founder Ahmet Ertegun, “is matched by his aesthetic sense in the selection of the articles in his collection.”
The co-founder of Sire Records and VP of Warner Bros. Records, Stein accumulated most of his collection over the past two decades, its diversity stemming from his frequent trips to Europe in search of new music talent. Among the items up for sale are a rare three-part Art Deco wrought iron gate made by Edgar Brandt with a central panel depicting a bronze diving girl on a platform; one of the earliest known works by Sir John Everett Millais, The Tribe of Benjamin Seizing the Daughters of Shiloh, his second painting to be exhibited at The Royal Academy, in 1949, where it earned him a gold medal at age 19; and Robert Tait McKenzie’s bronze sculpture The Relay, signed and dated in 1910.
“Seymour Stein’s eye for collecting was indeed as keen as his ear for music,” notes Joanne Grant, principal auctioneer and appraiser for Guernsey’s/Mid-Hudson Galleries.
“His collections, amassed over decades, are reflective of the very best in American and European art and illustration, bronzes and sculpture, Art Deco, Mid-Century Modern, lighting, transportation collectibles, early maps, antique advertising and so much more. These three auctions are a rare opportunity for everyone to obtain a never-before-opportunity to view and to buy from these collections removed from Mr. Stein’s residences and warehouses in the first of a series of auctions.”
Previews for The Seymour Stein Auction take place April 30 and May 1 at Manhattan’s Arader Galleries, with a Meet the Collector Reception with Stein slated there on the evening of May 1. The first auction is at Arader on May 2 and involves American and European fine art, sculpture, museum quality Art Deco, ceramics, Mid-Century Modern, lighting, folk art, transportation and collectibles.
Following previews May 7 and 8 at Stewart International Airport in New Windsor, N.Y., the second auction is there May 9, centering on antique advertising and “country store” items. The final auction is on May 10 and is also at the airport and again featuring American and European fine art, sculpture, museum quality Art Deco, ceramics, Mid-Century Modern, lighting, folk art, transportation and collectibles.
“Most people are aware of my passion for music, which dates back to when I was just a boy growing up in Brooklyn,” said Stein in an email message to friends and associates. “Equally strong has been my passion for collecting, starting with bottle caps, bubblegum cards, stamps and all things that have intrigued me. The music business over the past 50 years has given me the opportunity to collect objects from all over the world in the same way that I have done with music. I must say it is with mixed emotions that I realize the time has come to start selling off most of this collection. As with my taste in music, many of the areas I chose were unfashionable when I started buying but now have become accepted, highly regarded, and some even treasured.”
Stein concluded: “I hope you find this collection as sort of a parallel journey to my career in music and share with me the enjoyment and fun I had amassing these bits and pieces along the way.”
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