Private Investment Group Acquires Clars Auction Gallery, Richard G. Unruh III Appointed CEO and President

16 Aug

Oakland, CA – On Wednesday,
August 14th, 2019, Clars Auction Gallery announced that is had been
acquired by a private investment group. The investors, who will now serve as
the board of directors of the firm, are pleased to announce that Richard G.
Unruh (who is also part of the investment group as well as on of the board of
directors) will assume the role of CEO and President of Clars. For the past
several years, Richard (Rick) Unruh served as Vice President and Director of Fine
Arts for Clars, and has been pivotal in substantially increasing sales of the
Fine Art department to national and global level collectors, achieving numerous
new world records and securing important estates, institutions and museums as
clients.

Rick Unruh, CEO & President

In a statement by Unruh, he said, “This acquisition is very exciting for all of
us at Clars and we will continue to serve our clients with the same dedication,
integrity and vision for the future that former president and owner, Redge
Martin, did for 23 years. I am so honored to assume the role of CEO and
President for this distinguished company and, on behalf of myself, the board of
directors and the amazing staff here at Clars, we look forward to building on our
many great strengths and taking Clars to even higher levels in both the
national and international markets. I am also personally grateful for having
had the opportunity to work with Redge Martin for the past several years. He’s
an icon in the industry, building Clars to be one of the most respected full
service auction houses in the country. I am further grateful that, while he
looks forward to moving on to his much-deserved retirement, he will still
remain part of the Clars family, available for advice and consultation now and
in the future.”

Redge Martin joined Clars Auction Gallery
in 1993 when it was under the ownership of Harvey Clar, who founded it in 1972,
coming from the auction house Butterfield & Butterfield. In 1996, Martin
bought the Gallery from Harvey Clar and has spent the last 23 years, never
faltering from his vision of taking Clars to the highest level possible, as the
leading auction house in the Western United States, and becoming a force in the
global auction market of fine art, jewelry and estates. He now looks forward to
spending time with grandchildren and several international endeavors.

In his statement regarding his years as
President of Clars, Redge Martin said, “I had
never been to an auction, having a finance background, until I serendipitously
took a job at Butterfield’s. It was very rewarding to grow Clars Auction Gallery
to twelve times the volume it had had when I started. This was during a time
when the entire industry went through a seismic shift as the Internet and
online bidding changed everything. So Clars, being in the proximity of Silicon
Valley
, had to change as
well.”

“This is a very small industry,
but you see amazing things, view incredible houses, and meet some very
interesting people over time.”

“It took a lot of work, but we
were able hire many fantastic people who made the whole business possible and
we’re very grateful to them. They were able to blend great customer service with
product knowledge and technical skills. They were, and continue to be, the
reason clients come back to Clars and give us many referrals.”

Among the other exciting changes at Clars,
they are proud to announce that Deric Torres, former Vice President of
Furniture and Decorative Arts has been promoted to the role of Sr. Vice
President of Trusts & Estates while retaining his directorship of the
furniture and decorative arts division. In a statement by Torres, he said, “ I
am thankful for the opportunities Redge gave me over the years. It’s been rewarding
and so exciting and I look forward to moving forward to greater visions under
the new leadership.”

In a final statement, CEO
Rick Unruh said, “While we have great
goals and plans for Clars, for both our longtime and new clients, Clars will
remain unchanged. I think it’s a real testament to the passion and commitment
all of us at Clars share that, even though Harvey Clar sold the Gallery to
Redge 23 years ago. At age 89, Harvey still pops in from time to time – he’s
still family. And now, while Redge will be retired, he’ll be stopping in from
time to time as well. It’s hard to think of another company that’s been around
for 47 years and still has all the previous owners involved. Now that’s special
and that’s Clars!”

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