Entering the World of John Richardson
by Colin Stair
When I stepped out of the elevator into the foyer of John Richardson’s apartment, I had an overwhelming sensation that I had entered his world.
I first met John fifteen years ago with my friend Ashton Hawkins, who has been tremendously kind to me over the years and helped me create Stair Galleries in Hudson. Every once in a while, John would bid on something at one of our sales, and when I saw his name as a bidder in the auctioneer’s book, I felt like I’d really made it!
Now, seeing everything in his apartment, it all made sense. He had that rare, truly curious eye that could focus on an important Old Master painting, a 20thcentury masterpiece or just as easily on a collection of quadrupeds’ penises. Mixing Regency furniture together with contemporary works of art and making it all work is not as easy as he made it look. As we peeled back layer upon layer of the collection and started to remove everything from the loft, it continued to get better and better. Every picture, whether a painting or a photograph, had a story behind it. The color palettes of each room helped define and separate the spaces and everything in them. Even the crazy tiles in the zigzag bathroom showed moments where creativity and frivolity intertwined.
I wish I could have been there for the some of the countless dinners and parties but sadly, in the life of an auctioneer, one just picks up the pieces at the end. I was left with a pang of remorse to think that this was probably one of the very last of this generation….along with a sense of privilege to have had the chance to stand there, close my eyes and imagine what it was like to have been there back in the day.