The Visionary Eye of Allan Stone

Allan Stone; Allan Stone Gallery, New York, c. 1975. Images courtesy of the Allan Stone Collection


Founded in 1960 by art dealer Allan Stone (1932–2006), the New York gallery known today as Allan Stone Projects has been admired for over half a century. Celebrated for its eclectic approach and early advocacy of pivotal artists of the 20th century, Allan Stone Gallery was a leading authority on Abstract Expressionism, the New York dealer for Wayne Thiebaud for over forty years, and showed the works of Willem de Kooning, Franz Kline, Arshile Gorky, Joseph Cornell, John Graham and John Chamberlain. Stone also promoted and collected the work of a younger generation of artists whose aesthetic tendencies were in conversation with the historical holdings in his collection. In addition to modern masterworks and contemporary art, Allan Stone also collected and exhibited international folk art, Americana and important decorative arts and industrial design.

William Beckman b. 1942

Like Richard Estes, Chuck Close, and others of his generation, Beckman paints hyper-realist scenes. While Estes focused on the urban scene and Close on the portrait, Beckman creates settings for the figure. The subjects – whether himself, his mother, his lover, or the landscape – are bared frontally to the viewer with gripping details and without embellishment. Over months, or even a year, Beckman used a unique method: after applying paint to create his landscape, he then shaved off layers from the surface with a razor, repainting and polishing the planes to create a lustrous, unvarnished surface with a glowing and absorbing image.

William Beckman was born in Maynard, Minnesota in 1942 and after completing his undergraduate studies in his native state, studied art at the University of Iowa in Iowa City, receiving MA and MFA degrees in 1968. Beckman began his New York exhibition career in a group show focused on Iowa in 1968 and soon attracted the attention of Allan Stone. At Allan Stone Gallery, Beckman held his first one-person exhibition in 1970, and then five additional solo shows through 1980. Beckman’s striking portrait and landscape works were included in the landmark exhibition Contemporary American Realism Since 1960, organized in 1981 by Frank Goodyear at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts which had immediate and lasting impact. He has had numerous gallery and museum exhibitions at the National Portrait Gallery, Washington D.C, the Frye Art Museum, Seattle, the National Academy of Design, New York, among others. His work is in the public collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, the National Portrait Gallery, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, and many others.

Auction Results William Beckman