(pictured above: Loie Hollowell (American, b. 1983), “Point of Entry,” Sold for a US Auction Record $1,050,000)

(Ad) Investments come in all shapes and sizes. Nowhere is that more true than the San Francisco Bay Area. Sand Hill Road and the world of venture capital are close at hand. But here, at the intersection of wealth and taste, there’s also an abundance of investment-quality auction property: the trove of antiques in the attic of the Victorian next door, the rare memorabilia in the garage on the corner, and that fabulous painting over your Nob Hill neighbor’s fireplace.

California is home to the most billionaires in the United States, and the San Francisco area claims 116 of them, according to Forbes’ 2022 World’s Billionaires list . The Bay Area’s high-powered, high-net-worth individuals have been distinguished by sophistication and cutting-edge tastes since the days of the Gold Rush, when the forerunners of today’s tech moguls began building legendary collections of fine things. This heady blend of big money and bold vision made the region the perfect birthplace for an auction house like Clars Auction Gallery .

What is Clars Auction Gallery?

Clars Auction Gallery is a Bay Area antiques appraiser and auction house with half a century of experience serving buyers and sellers alike. Since its inception in 1972, the trusted auction house and its appraisers have sold more than $150 million in fine art, Asian art, fine jewelry, furniture and decorative art.

A marketplace for buyers seeking treasures of all kinds – heirlooms, contemporary works of art, and relics from bygone eras-Clars offers online bidding, phone bidding and live, in-person auction events too. It’s also a destination for sellers seeking top dollar for their rare and valuable goods; the full-service auction house does the research for you and offers both verbal or formal written appraisals.

Clars Auction Gallery’s expert appraisers are skilled in identifying, sourcing and evaluating precious finds. Consider Clars Auction Gallery a full-service auction house with a domestic address and a virtual Rolodex of international buyers.

What sets Clars Auction Gallery apart from other auctioneers and appraisers?

This auction house makes its home in a renowned hub for wealth and culture. San Francisco – area collectors know and value quality, actively trading and investing in fine auction property. The Bay Area consistently attracts and hosts ultra-high-net-worth individuals, among them Silicon Valley’s tech innovators, many with ties to collectors around the world. Entrepreneurs, business leaders, elite athletes, international collectors and prominent artists regularly converge on the Bay Area scene in search of museum-quality acquisitions.

A key attribute that sets Clars apart is a history of hosting stellar fine art auctions. Clars has achieved record high prices at auction for fine art, reaching new highs for notable artists’ work. Its reach and reputation make Clars a top auction house worldwide, breaking auction records for sales in the U.S. and internationally.

Fine works of art auctioned by Clars include paintings, works on paper, prints, photography, and sculpture. Rick Unruh, Clars’ CEO and President, leads the Fine Art Department and specializes in 19 th, 20th 21st century and American and European fine art.

Clars’ outstanding fine art sales history includes a number of world auction records. A spectacular 1990 painting by Raimonds Staprans, “Blue Boats,” sold for $187,600 in 2022, a new world auction record for the artist at the time. A wonderful Lynda Benglis sculpture brought $184,500 at Clars in 2020. Another sales highlights in the complete set of Andy Warhol’s Mick Jagger print suite. The portfolio of ten portrats sold for a whopping $817,000 in 2020, igniting the interest of gallerists and collectors alike, and proving Clars’ ability to effectively market and sell a bevy of art genres.

(pictured:  Finn Juhl for Neils Vodder Chieftain chair Sold for $80,000)

In late 2021, Clars’ Fine Art department presented the Modern + Contemporary Art + Design auction, a curated sales that realized over $1,300,000. The sale was led by Andy Warhol’s iconic Moonwalk screenprints. With telephone bidders from across the globe, and many collectors vying for the prints, the price soared to $417,500, evidence that Clars is a leading auction gallery for modern and contemporary art. On March 2022, Clars sold Loie Hollowell’s “Point of Entry” for $1.05 million, shattering the previous United States auction record for the artists by more than 52 percent.

Himalayan gilt bronze figural group of Yamataka Vajrabhairava Ekavira Sold: $248,300
Leonor Fini (Argentine/French, 1908-1996), “Zorniga,” 1959, oil on canvas Sold: $187,500
Phillip Lloyd Powell, New Hope Chair and Ottoman Sold: $12,000
Finn Juhl for Neils Vodder Chieftain chair Sold: $80,000
George Nakashima, wall-hanging cabinet. Sold: $62,500
Pair of Chinese huanghuali horseshow back armchairs  Sold: $160,000
A stainless steel wristwatch, Rolex GMT Master Sold: $45,375
A pair of diamond and platinum earrings, Van Cleef & Arpels Sold: $49,200


The department of Asian art at Clars Auction Gallery, with its international reach and reputation for excellence, is a leading destination for collectors. The expertise of Clars’ Asian art team holds sway with buyers and sellers alike. All the most highly-sought categories of Chinese art, fine porcelains and carved jade, scroll paintings, embroidered textiles, carved rare wood furniture, imperial artifacts, are featured at Clars. Discerning collectors also trust Clars to buy and sell fine Japanese woodblock prints, Tibetan Buddhas, Korean pottery and many more treasures from every corner of the Asian art world.

As a Bay Area leader in sales of fine jewelry and timepieces, Clars attracts the finest estates and consignments. Spanning antique to contemporary, Clars’ selection of fine jewelry includes everyday luxury pieces and rare gemstones, as well as jewels and timepieces by the world’s top designers. Clars’ twelve annual jewelry sales feature important diamonds and colored gemstones of exceptional origin. This is a showstopper category at Clars Auction Gallery, with top prices achieved for sellers and a loyal following of buyers seeking rare and precious finds.

Clars is the leading Northern California-based auction house for Design. From the Arts and Crafts movement through to contemporary studio furniture and decorative art, Clars hosts several specialized Modern + Contemporary Art + Design auctions each year, marketing internationally to reach a global audience and to achieve the highest prices realized. Clars’ Design department features the very best names in design history: Tiffany Studios, Emile Gallé, Rene Lalique, Gio Ponti, Ico Parisi, Hans Wegner, Finn Juhl, George Nakashima, Frank Lloyd Wright, Philip and Kelvin LaVerne, George Nelson, Vladimir Kagan, Greta Grossman, Charles and Ray Eames, Milo Baughan, Paul Evans, Phillip Lloyd Powell, Paul Kjaerholm, Eero Saarinen, and Dale Chihuly among others.

Recent prices realized include a George Nakashima wall-hanging cabinet that brought $62,500, a Chihuly chandelier sold for $62,500, a Finn Juhl for Niels Vodder Chieftain chair that commanded $81,250, a Phillip and Kevin LaVerne Eternal Forest table that brought $22,500, among others.

Also featured in the Furniture and Decorative Arts deparment at Clars: fine furniture and decorative arts comprising American, English, and Continental pottery, porcelain, glass, textiles, mirrors, lighting, clocks, bronze and marble sculpture, tapestries, and the finest handmade antique carpets. Recent highlights include an ancient Greek bronze helmet, 7th century BCE, which sold for $37,500. The helmet was from the Estate of Frank J. Caufield, of San Francisco and Montecito, a founding partner of the venture capital firm Kleiner, Perkins Caufield, and Byers. Also noteworthy in recent auctions was the Dreyer’s Ice Cream 1920 Ford Model T delivery vehicle with company logo that realized $23,750. These recent highlights illustrate the remarkable diversity of the auction property at Clars.

Founded in 1972, Clars Auction Gallery was born in an era of cultural metamorphosis and technological innovation. These qualifies, particularly abundant in the San Francisco, Bay Area, continue to inform the business today. Throughout its history, Clars has been known for the excellent service provided by the Clars team of appraisers: eagle-eyed yet approachable, willing to literally walk into someone’s home in search of treasure. The service standard applies equally to transactions, which are handled with a sense of urgency underscored by integrity. An array of platforms – online, phone and absentee bidding, as well as fun and exciting live events – supports the worldwide community of auction mavens drawn to Clars Auction Gallery, month after month and year after year (fifty years, and counting!)

(pictured below: Raimonds Staprans (American/Latvian, b. 1926), Blue Boats, 1990, oil on canvas, 44″ x 48″.Sold: $187,500 June 2022, A World Auction Record for this Artist.)

Will I recognize any of this auction house’s items?

We’re guessing that if you’re reading this, you’ve heard of Tiffany Studios, George Nakashima, Henri Matisse, Ray Parker, Wayne Thiebaud or Hans Wegner. If you haven’t, don’t fret because Clars Auction Gallery hosts events to introduce the public to a mix of high-profile and lesser-known gems. Studied buyers and novices alike can invest wisely in art with the right assistance.

What services does Clars Auction Gallery offer?

Valuation: The auction house’s appraisal department determines the monetary value of fine art and antiques, jewelry, furniture, décor and more with studied accuracy. Its appraisers can pinpoint the fair-market worth of a good for insurance or donation purposes. Clars Auction Gallery’s consignment services help you sell your treasured items through its online, phone or real-time auctions and collect a portion of the sales price. Clars Auction Gallery also offers formal written appraisals that can be kept in your records if you’re not ready to part with your heirlooms. These can also be used for estate or insurances purposes. These appraisals start at $250 for the first hour.

Education: Special events at the auction house sometimes include didactic seminars, like this past May’s workshop on NFTs (non-fungible tokens), which taught the public about this relatively new form of transactional art.

Charity: Clars Auction Gallery extended charitable efforts to war-ravaged Ukraine the only way an auction house can: promoting custom art to the public. In late April,Clars Auction Gallery offered a photo print, ” Girl with Candy,” by Oleksii Kyrychenk o. In it, a striking duality comes to life through the artist’s daughter, as she hugs a double-barrel rifle in one arm, enjoying a lollipop and watching for incoming troops mere days before Russian forces invaded Ukraine. The artwork – a striking visual of a real-world dystopia – was one of five limited-edition Clars Auction Gallery prints that were auctioned on April 24, 2022. Per the artist’s request, Clars donated the proceeds to Come Back Alive, an independent organization that supports troops with medical and technical aid.

Local Northern California PBS station KVIE also recognizes Clars Auction Gallery’s expertise and leadership in the fine art auction space, and partners with Clars as an incentive in its annual pledge drives. Specialists from Clars provide in-person valuation as members bring in cherished family heirlooms, furniture and decorative art, Asian art, or fine jewelry. KVIE benefits in growing its membership and support, and the public gets to tap into Clars extensive expertise in fine art, furniture, decorative arts, jewelry and Asian art.

Representation: Clars Auction Gallery has played host to auctions for corporations including Wells Fargo Bank and the Bank of the West’s collections. It has also represented the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Oakland Museum of California and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, among other cultural institutions. (pictured: Zhang Daqian, Sightseeing in Mountain, ink and color on paper. Sold for $500,750)

What if I don’t like buying online?

Clars welcomes the public in person! Bid for free, starting at 9am each auction day. Register and receive a paddle eligible for two-day use. Then bid to your heart’s content on everything offered in the sale.


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