Academy of Art University Auctions 45 of Its Cars
Art Business

Academy of Art University Auctions 45 of Its Cars

During the early 1980s, the late Richard Stephens, then president of the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, saw a disturbing trend emerging within the automotive industry. From his vantage point, modern day automobiles lacked the soul that characterized classic designs from the early 20th century. “You see it in the craftsmanship of these cars of the thirties,” Stephens told Robb Report back in 2013. “You feel the man and the woman who worked on that car. It has a human touch there, and that’s what seems to be missing from some cars now.” Stephens, who was already an accomplished car collector at that time, brainstormed a remedy. He bequeathed his private collection of classic cars to the university—a school that his parents founded in 1929—so that professors in the university’s various departments could utilize the Duesenbergs, Packards, and Bugattis as teaching aids. “I’m trying to open our students’ eyes to how fabulous the design and integrity was in the [1920s and] ʼ30s, as the country became the great thing that it is,” Stephens said. “We want our artists to be great designers, so they can do anything. I’d like them to have pride in beautiful things and […]

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