Howard Stein, one of the top photography collectors in the world and a former chief of the Dreyfus Corp., died of complications due to stroke at his home in Southampton, NY at the age of 84.
Stein, who the New York Times called "one of the fathers of the mutual fund industry", served on the Presidential Task Force on Market Mechanisms, which investigated the market crash of October 19, 1987 and which later became known as Black Monday. It was an ironic appointment given that Stein himself had avoided the crash because he felt that stocks were overvalued at the time.
He worked for numerous liberal causes, including joining with John Gardner to create Common Cause, the citizens' lobby group, and acting as chief fund-raiser for Senator Eugene J. McCarthy's antiwar presidential campaign.
AIPAD dealer Lee Marks of Lee Marks Fine Art, LLC shared some of her observations of the man that she worked with closely for nearly 22 years as his photography consultant and friend. She had met Howard Stein in 1989 through the photographer Hiro.
"Howard was a very quick study. He seemed to sense quality and rarity almost intuitively and didn't shrink from paying for it...of course, and at times, after a bit of bargaining.
"Before discovering the Internet, Howard loved to look physically at the photographs in his collection. He devised a system of arranging them in themed groupings of five works, often assigning a quote to the group that gave it resonance for him. He was always fine-tuning these groups through new acquisitions or just re-installations on the chair-rail in his collection room.
"Shortly after he began collecting, he made a point of meeting and getting to know leaders in the field, whether curators like John Szarkowski, or writers, or dealers. He wasn't particularly social, in fact a little on the shy side in person, but he loved the telephone and would call someone up out of the blue and talk at length, grilling them about their mutual interests."
Stein is survived by his wife Janet; his daughters, Julia Stokien, Jocelyn Hayes, Jessica Levine, Joanna Stein and Jennifer Seay; and six grandchildren.
As Marks added, "He will be much missed."