PBS KVIE + Clars Furniture & Decorative Arts

  • Design
  • Event

Cristina Campion, Associate Director of 20th Century Design and Furniture & Decorative Arts at Clars, spoke to Rob Stewart, PBS TV Host & Executive Producer, on the importance of analyzing and authenticating furniture for 2023’s Antique Valuation Day.


Cristina and Rob discussing the work of master woodworker, Arthur Espenet Carpenter.
Cristina and Rob discussing the work of master woodworker, Arthur Espenet Carpenter.

American Studio Furniture is commanding strong prices realized at auction, particularly for the masters, including Arthur Espenet Carpenter, George Nakashima, and Wharton Esherick, among others.


Cristina explaining to Rob the unique functionality and form of Espenet’s Wishbone armchair.
Cristina explaining to Rob the unique functionality and form of Espenet’s Wishbone armchair.

It’s always important to analyze the underside of a chair to see if there are any signatures or stamps. However, one cannot rely on a signature or stamp alone. It is equally significant to look at the form itself and the construction of the piece holistically to ensure that the form is consistent with other examples by the designer. Also crucial to the value of a piece is the provenance or history, if it’s been exhibited in any museum collections, or is referenced in literature.


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Fine Jewelry & Timepieces Valuation Day | February 13th

Clars will be hosting a Fine Jewelry & Timepieces Valuation Day on February 13th, 10AM–1PM. This event is by appointment only.

  • Event
  • Fine Jewelry & Timepieces

PBS KVIE + Clars Asian Art

Harry Huang spoke to Rob Stewart on the beauty of a Mughal style jade vase for 2023’s Antique Valuation Day.

  • Asian Art
  • Event

PBS KVIE + Clars Jewelry

Yao Jiang, Fine Jewelry & Timepieces Specialist at Clars, spoke to Rob Stewart, PBS TV Host & Executive Producer, on one the department's recently sold natural pearl necklaces for 2023’s Antique Valuation Day.

  • Event
  • Fine Jewelry

PBS KVIE + Clars

Clars Auction Gallery recently stopped by the PBS KVIE studio to film interviews for this year’s Antique Valuation Day.

  • Event
  • Stories & News

Annual Tea | The Junior League of San Francisco

The Junior League of SF held its Annual Tea on March 5th where Clars was invited to showcase and discuss pieces from the 1960's relating to the event’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s theme.

  • Event
  • Stories & News

2022 Design In Review

Clars had a strong 2022 Design auction season with bidders vying for the top lots.

  • Design
  • Stories & News

Designer Spotlight: Arthur Espenet Carpenter

  • Designer Spotlight
  • Modern + Contemporary

California has a lengthy history of woodworking and studio furniture design. One of the most renowned master woodworkers was Arthur Espenet Carpenter.

Born in 1920, Arthur Espenet Carpenter was a self-taught furniture maker. He began making wood turned bowls at his studio in San Francisco in the late 1940s to early 1950s. By the mid-1950s, he had expanded to build custom furniture. Carpenter found that production was so busy that he felt disconnected from the furniture building process. In 1957, he decided that it was time to relocate to Bolinas, California, where he custom built his own house for his family. At his Bolinas studio, Espenet would create unique one-of-a-kind pieces for his clients, as well as his most well-known iconic pieces, such as the Wishbone armchair.


Arthur Espenet Carpenter, Bolinas, CA, walnut Wishbone armchair.
Arthur Espenet Carpenter, Bolinas, CA, walnut Wishbone armchair, having a shaped back with dowel construction, continuing to the contoured arms, above the blue upholstered seat, and rising on shaped legs.
Sold: $5,937

Espenet valued function as well as form. While his furniture pieces appear quite sculptural, they were also designed with comfort and utility in mind. For example, the arm hits the armrest of the Wishbone chair at just the right angle. Clars is offering a suite of eight Wishbone chairs, including two armchairs, with an auction estimate of $20,000–$30,000 in our June 15th Design auction. Also to be offered is a stunning dining table having five butterfly inlays, estimated at $10,000–$15,000.


Arthur Espenet Carpenter, Wishbone Chairs, eight, and Dining Table.
Arthur Espenet Carpenter, Wishbone Chairs, eight, and Dining Table.
Sold: $40,950

While there’s a certain simplicity or minimalism to Espenet’s designs, great attention is also paid to the finer details. An example of this point is the drop-down cabinet, which features a wood turned locking knob above well carved hinged supports, that sold at Clars for $5,937.


Arthur Espenet Carpenter, Bolinas, CA, walnut cabinet, having a rectangular top, above a hinged front with a locking knob, opening to a fixed shelf interior, and rising on tapered legs.
Arthur Espenet Carpenter, Bolinas, CA, walnut cabinet, having a rectangular top, above a hinged front with a locking knob, opening to a fixed shelf interior, and rising on tapered legs.
Sold: $5,937

Another example of Espenet’s extraordianry attention to detail can be seen in a set of two nesting walnut low tables, which commanded $6,875 at auction. While seemingly simple, the tables feature exposed dovetail joinery.


Detail of dovetail joinery, Arthur Espenet Carpenter, Bolinas, CA, walnut nesting low tables.
Detail of dovetail joinery, Arthur Espenet Carpenter, Bolinas, CA, walnut nesting low tables.
Sold: $6,875

The featured Arthur Espenet Carpenter jewelry box below, while quite functional, is also very sculptural. The contoured form has six bandsaw-carved drawers that feature prominently on the case.


An Arthur Espenet Carpenter, jewelry box, executed in walnut, with six bandsaw-carved drawers.
An Arthur Espenet Carpenter, jewelry box, executed in walnut, with six bandsaw-carved drawers.
Sold: $3,125
A Tripp Carpenter (Espenet Furniture) jewelry casket, of organic form with three lined drawers and crimson pulls.
A Tripp Carpenter (Espenet Furniture) jewelry casket, of organic form with three lined drawers and crimson pulls.
Sold: $250

Though Arthur Espenet Carpenter passed away in 2006, his legacy continues with his son, Tripp Carpenter, who learned woodworking as a child, and now is a professional woodworker in his own right.


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Artist Spotlight: Hernando Ruiz Ocampo

Ocampo developed a singular style that expressed the Filipino experience through emotive color, form, and abstraction.

  • Artist Spotlight
  • Modern + Contemporary

Modern + Contemporary Art + Design Highlights

This November we are excited to present several very special works in our dedicated Modern and Contemporary Art sale.

  • Auction
  • Modern + Contemporary

Artist Spotlight: William T. Wiley

As an associate of the Funk Art movement, Wiley was a purveyor of using unconventional materials.

  • Artist Spotlight
  • Modern + Contemporary

Artist Spotlight: George Morrison

George Morrison was a Native American artist well known for his abstract paintings and landscapes.

  • Artist Spotlight
  • Modern + Contemporary

Artist Spotlight: Annie Leibovitz

Annie Leibovitz began her artistic career at the San Francisco Art Institute in the late 1960s, where she originally studied painting but was inspired to change her focus to photography.

  • Artist Spotlight
  • Modern + Contemporary

Fall Modern + Contemporary Art Highlights

Clars’ is excited to present our Fall Modern + Contemporary Art Auction on September 14th. The sale will feature artworks spanning movements and decades, with notable works for all collectors.

  • Auction
  • Modern + Contemporary