Musical Ear, Artistic Eye

Works from the Collection of Seymour Stein

Seymour Stein is co-founder and Chairman of Sire Records, one of the world’s most influential record labels and home to some of the most iconic artists in modern music. He has been Sire’s driving visionary and creative force since its origins in the 1960s as an independent label and its four-decade tenure as part of Warner Music Group. His unique ability to anticipate musical trends, and to discover and sign the greatest artists within those movements, has left an indelible mark on contemporary culture. 

It was in 1955, when he was just 13 years old, that Stein was granted access to the Billboard archives, where he painstakingly transcribed two decades of charts, developing his encyclopedic memory of songs. After high school, he joined the Billboard staff, then worked for King Records and Red Bird Records. He and producer Richard Gottehrer launched Sire Records in 1967. 

Stein and Madonna at a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ceremony, 1996

Stein first saw the Ramones in 1975 and, as he said, “It was like sticking my hand in a live electric light socket.” The band’s first album was released by Sire in 1976. It remains one of the seminal recordings in rock and roll history. Stein put New Wave music – a term he coined – on the mainstream map with the likes of Talking Heads and the Pretenders. And in a moment that has become a permanent part of music industry lore, Stein signed a young artist named Madonna while he was in the hospital recuperating from a heart infection. Over the years, Sire’s roster has included other cutting-edge artists such as Tom Tom Club, Depeche Mode, The Smiths, The Cure, Ice-T, k.d. lang, Seal, Everything But The Girl, Aztec Camera, Dinosaur Jr., Wilco, My Bloody Valentine, Primal Scream, Aphex Twin, Spacehog, Regina Spektor, Tegan & Sara, and many more. Stein was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2005.

In addition to his myriad musical pursuits, Stein developed an impeccable eye for fine and decorative art. His particular love for Art Deco and Art Nouveau design began during his many trips to London and Paris while on the hunt for new bands to sign. With the guidance of his long-time curator and adviser Rodney Richardson, Stein procured only the best examples of ceramics, paintings, drawings, and furniture he could find. We are thrilled to present works from his extraordinary collection and are grateful to him and Rodney for their help, warmth, and good humor.

Eugene Printz 1889–1948

A self-taught cabinetmaker and designer, Eugene Printz absorbed his craft from a young age, beginning in his father’s workshop where he assisted in the copying of antique furniture. He familiarized himself with other masterpieces via regular museum visits in his hometown of Paris and, following his father’s death, took over the family workshop. Like so many of his contemporaries, Printz became enamored with modernism in the 1920s and began exploring what would become his signature style. Using only the rarest exotic woods accented by gilt bronze or precious enamels, he created exquisite, deceivingly simple furniture that became the favorite of high society. He was hired by Jeanne Lanvin to design his offices and the Princess de la Tour d'Auvergne for her private apartments at the Château de Gros-Bois. Printz maintained a global clientele and exhibited his work in the most prestigious Parisian shows and salons of the age, including the 1925 International Exhibition of Modern Decorative and Industrial Art, the Salon des artistes décorateurs, Salon d'Automne, and the Salon des Tuileries, the International Colonial Exhibition of 1931, and the 1937 Universal Exhibition.

Auction Results Eugene Printz