In this issue
• Small format, long history
• Of strengths and weaknesses
• French furniture art
• For private devotion
• Genevan & Parisian chic
• Insights into the correspondence of Sigmund Freud
• Behind the scenes: Swiss Art
AN IMPORTANT LANDSCAPE REDISCOVERED: HERCULES SEGERS
HERCULES PIETERSZ. SEGERS
(Haarlem circa 1589–um 1640 The Hague)
A forest path. 1618–20.
Oil on canvas on panel. 16 × 22.4 cm.
Estimate: CHF 350 000 / 500 000
Auction on 22 March 2024
This landscape is a significant addition to the very few known oil paintings by Hercules Segers, an important Dutch artist of the Golden Age. Although a number of forest paintings by Segers are mentioned in old sources, this depiction of a winding forest path is the only surviving example of this genre by the artist.
Documented in several early inventories, its recent rediscovery in a Norwegian private collection is the result of art-historical detective work and fortunate circumstances.
Another successful, exciting and diverse auction season has drawn to a close. The classic collecting fields which we have been offering for several decades, such as old master paintings, Swiss art, and modern and contemporary art enjoyed good results. We also were entrusted with several high-calibre private collections in 2023, among them the Legrain Collection, with exquisite sculptures and objects from Greco-Roman and Egyptian antiquity.
Our auctions continue to focus on fine art, jewellery, wristwatches, decorative arts and Asian art, which have been an integral part of our auction programme for many years. At the same time, new categories have been met with great interest, especially among collectors of traditional art. In our new ‘Out of This World’ auctions, for example, within the past year we sold fossils of two of the most iconic dinosaurs: a Tyrannosaurus rex and a young Triceratops.
On the following pages you will find some of the highlights of the past auction year; the images and results speak for themselves. Further information about our past and future auctions can be found on our website.
We would like to thank you for continuing to place your trust in us in 2023 and wish you confidence, happiness and good health for the New Year.
The T. rex 'Trinity' will be exhibited in the Dinosaur Museum in Aathal, Switzerland
TRX-293 TRINITY, the world-famous Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton that the Phoebus Foundation purchased at Koller Auctions in April 2023, will be exhibited at the Dinosaur Museum in Aathal, Switzerland, for one year beginning on 23 January 2024.
It will be several years before Trinity's permanent home – an Art Deco skyscraper in the heart of Antwerp that the Phoebus Foundation is transforming into an international arts centre designed by the renowned architect Daniel Libeskind – will be ready to house the gigantic fossil. In the meantime, the Phoebus Foundation wanted Trinity to be available to the public and for scientific research, and the Dinosaur Museum will be the first museum to display Trinity during this period, thanks to the initiative and mediation of Koller Auctions and Christian Link's Wunderkammer.
After enchanting tens of thousands of visitors during the pre-auction exhibition organised by Koller and Wunderkammer at the Zurich Tonhalle concert hall last spring, Trinity will soon be the star of the Aathal museum from late January 2024, for approximately one year. The team of the Dinosaur Museum was responsible for the construction of Trinity for the Tonhalle exhibition, and gave generously of their technical expertise throughout the cataloguing process. 'We are thrilled to welcome Trinity to our museum and to allow the public as well as the scientific community to spend time with this magnificent specimen', said Dr Hans-Jakob Siber, founder and director of the Dinosaur Museum. 'We have already spent so much time with this dinosaur that in a way it feels like welcoming back an old friend'.
Dr Katharina Van Cauteren, Chief of Staff of the Chancellery of the Phoebus Foundation, said, 'We are delighted to be working with the Dinosaur Museum. Trinity will be exhibited here amongst many other impressive dinosaurs, giving the public a unique opportunity to see the T. rex in context. At the same time, scientific research is being carried out that will allow us to learn even more about the find. Of course, we will also share this new information with the public as the project progresses. This is the beginning of an exciting new life for this ancient skeleton'.
In this issue
• Parallel Worlds
• At the limits of perception
• In the garden of dreams
• The painter who caught the sun
• Gemstones in a riot of colour
• Fountain Pen Fascination
• Eleven-headed compassion
A thousand grains of sand – Joseph Werner’s 'Apollo and the Cumaean Sibyl'
Apollo and the Cumaean Sibyl
Oil on copper. 18.5 × 13.4 cm.
Estimate: CHF 30 000 / 50 000
Auction: 23 September 2023
Click on the image for further information
This charming small-format painting depicts a scene not often represented in art: Apollo and the Cumaean Sibyl. The Sibyls were women with a special gift for predicting the future, associated with various temples in the ancient world. The Cumaean Sibyl’s temple was that of Apollo, near Naples. Ovid, in his ‘Metamorphoses’, recounts how the god himself approached her, desiring to take her virginity, in exchange for which he would grant her any wish.
FROM THE FAYUM TO ZURICH – A PORTRAIT’S JOURNEY
Hawara, Egypt, Trajanic Period,
beginning 2nd c. CE
Wooden panel, polychrome-painted using the encaustic technique and mounted on a later wooden panel. 38 × 23.5 cm.
Estimate: CHF 20 000 / 30 000
Auction: 21 September 2023
Click on the image for more information
Mummy portraits, or ‘Fayum’ portraits as they are often called, are realistically painted likenesses which were placed over the faces of mummies in parts of Egypt from the 1st to 3rd centuries CE. Although they were first discovered by Europeans in 1615, it wasn’t until the late 19th century that these portraits entered popular awareness. In 1887, an Austrian carpet and textile dealer, Theodor Graf (1840–1903), was in Cairo looking for rare textiles when he was offered several hundred such portraits. He bought them all, and selected about ninety to include in a selling exhibition that travelled throughout Europe and America, including the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893.
The latest issue of KOLLERview is online.
• Gold, frankincense and myrrh
• Paintings from a golden age
• A stroll through the ages
• Tradition and incipient modernity
• Multifaceted Brazil
In this edition:
• Per Kirkeby: painting as a process
• Feminine perspectives
• A riot of colour and Alpine light
• Emil Nolde, watercolourist
• Precious craftsmanship
• Privately collected: from Baroque to Design
• Trinity: unique journey, happy ending
ASIAN ART HIGHLIGHTS EXHIBITED IN HONG KONG
After a pause of three years due to the pandemic, Koller's Asian Art department was able to once again exhibit highlights from the upcoming June auctions at the prestigious International Fine Arts Fair (IAF) in Hong Kong from 27 to 30 May 2023.
The fair was particularly well-visited this year, and large numbers of collectors were present at Koller's exhibition space during the preview as well as the fair's four-day run.
The excellent turnout and reactions from the public bode well for the June Asian Art auctions as well as for Koller's continued presence in East Asia.
Asian Art auction catalogues
THE PHOEBUS FOUNDATION WILL INCLUDE TRINITY IN ITS ‘BOERENTOREN’ CULTURAL CENTRE IN ANTWERP, BELGIUM
The buyer of Trinity, the Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton sold for CHF 5.5 million ($6 million) at Koller Auctions in Zurich on 18 April, is The Phoebus Foundation, a non-profit art foundation. Phoebus has announced their intention to show Trinity to the public in their ‘Boerentoren’ cultural centre project in Antwerp, designed by Daniel Libeskind.
The Boerentoren (literally translated as ‘Farmer’s Tower’, a nickname that stuck) was the first skyscraper in Europe, completed in 1931. In 2021, the tower, originally constructed as an office building with apartments, was purchased by The Phoebus Foundation, which will turn it into a public space in a few years. The entire building will be dedicated to culture, with extensive space for temporary and long-term exhibitions, a sculpture garden and a panoramic viewpoint, as well as numerous culinary experiences. Daniel Libeskind is currently working on the final designs to convert what remains of the original art deco building into a truly unique architectural landmark. The addition of Trinity to the collection of The Phoebus Foundation will only add to the Boerentoren’s appeal.
Trinity already enchanted approximately 35 000 visitors during a three-week exhibition at the Tonhalle concert hall in Zurich, and has been featured in countless press articles, television and radio broadcasts and blogs worldwide.
In this issue:
• Cranach: Innovator in turbulent times
• Sense and Sensuality
• A passion for white gold
In this issue:
• Important Swiss art
• Colorful love bird
• Kupka's early abstraction
• The nude between reality and ideal
• Sound of bells at the imperial court
• The unrestricted view of Old Masters
In this issue:
• Angelika Kauffmann: self-portrait and allegory
• Cultural transfer across the Alps
• King of the skies
• Lewis's journey to the Orient
• A Geneva Town House: The Fatio Collection
• Contemporary art: a state of constant renewal
In this issue:
• Digital Light, Real Landscapes
• Warhol’s cat with character
• Abstract Colour Tone
• In the echo chamber of Cubism
• Landscape in Parallels
• Spectacular time travel
In this issue:
• Brothers Brueghel
• The art of marquetry
• The many roles of drawings
• A family affair
• Out of This World
Looking back over the past twelve months, we’d like to express our gratitude to all of you who participated in this exceptionally successful year of auctions. Over 80% of the lots offered found buyers, across all categories and price segments, with prices often exceeding expectations – in fact, the percentage sold by value attained the remarkable score of 150% of the lower estimates, and several new auction records were set.
If you are considering selling part or all of your collection, we are convinced that now is the right time. With our extensive and constantly developing international network, we can present your works of art to a worldwide audience.
In the following pages (click the link below) we present some of the highlights that passed through our hands in the past year. The works shown are just the ‘tip of the iceberg’: in 2021 we auctioned more than 9,000 lots from 20 distinct collecting categories, and they found new owners in over 65 countries worldwide.
We would be pleased to value your works of art and advise you with regard to our upcoming auctions. We look forward to hearing from you.
December Auctions 2021
Post-sale report December Auctions 2021
ZDENEK SYKORA, Lines no. 12. 1981.
Oil and pencil on canvas. 170 × 170 cm.
Sold for CHF 1.03 million
EXCELLENT RESULTS IN DECEMBER AUCTIONS CAP EXCEPTIONAL YEAR AT KOLLERHammer prices total 150% of estimates, across all categories
Koller’s end-of-year auctions were characterised by extremely active bidding in every collecting category, with total hammer prices realising 150% of the lower estimates – a sign of a very healthy auction market, and a fitting end to an exceptionally successful year for the Zurich auction house.
Show full story >>
In this issue:
• Early abstractions
• The interplay between intent and chance
• Shapes and colours from nature
• Hodler on the water, Anker in Ins
• Clean ears for the truth
VICTOR VASARELY, Karpat. 1984.
Acrylic on canvas. 84 × 84 cm.
Sold for CHF 116 000 in December 2021
Click on the image for more details.
Instead of choosing between painting or sculpture, some post-war artists decided to push the boundaries between the two, creating two-dimensional works which also explore the possibilities offered by sculpture. Victor Vasarely spent much of his career experimenting with carefully crafted, illusionistic effects which made the motif shimmer, spin, or appear to extend from the canvas into the viewer’s space, as in his 1984 work, ‘Karpat’. As with sculpture, a key element in Vasarely’s work is that the perception of the artwork changes with the spectator’s point of view. Jesús Rafael Soto utilised a similar concept in his work ‘Vibrations’, 1967, in which the lines screenprinted onto a plastic sheet appear to float in front of a striped and seemingly vibrating background.
MAURICE DENIS: ‘A CERTAIN ORDER’
MAURICE DENIS, Bacchanale, esquisse 3. 1920.
Oil on board. 36,7 × 55,8 cm.
Sold for CHF 40 000 in December 2021
Click on the image for more details.
When Maurice Denis painted ‘La Bacchanale du Tigre Royal’ in 1920, he was at a pivotal moment in his personal and professional life. His beloved wife for 26 years, Marthe, had passed away the previous year. His artistic career was also taking a new direction. Denis’ work after the First World War was dominated by mural painting. A devout Catholic, he co-founded the Ateliers de l’Art Sacré in 1919 to promote Christian art, training artists and craftsmen with this goal in mind. The group mainly executed murals and stained glass for churches, many of which had been damaged during the war. Already in 1916, Denis had set his sights the ‘supreme goal of painting, which is the large-scale decorative mural’. By the end of his life he had executed twenty murals and numerous large-format canvasses, including ‘La Bacchanale’.
September Auctions 2021
RULING OVER BOTH MAN AND NATURE: ANIMALS, ROYALS AND THE ARTS
Frederick II's elephant, depicted in an imperial procession in Cremona in 1237. (Matthew Paris, 'Cronica Maiora', Part II, Parker Library, MS 16, fol. 151V).
Click on the image for more details.
Collecting exotic and domestic animals for display was a pastime and a symbol of prestige and power for European monarchs for centuries.
Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II exchanged a series of rare beasts with Al-Malik al-Kamil, sultan of Egypt, in the early 13th century. Al-Kamil sent an elephant to Frederick, as well as a white cockatoo from Australasia – a region that was completely unknown to the Western world at that time, so the bird would have been exceedingly rare. In return, Frederick’s gifts to the Sultan included horses with gem-incrusted golden stirrups, a white peacock, and a white bear.
ANONYMOUS PORTRAIT REVEALED TO BE A TENDER MEMORIAL
JEAN-BAPTISTE GREUZE, Portrait of a child, probably Prince Octavius of Great Britain.
Oil on panel. 17,5 cm × 14,5 cm.
Sold for CHF 49 0000
Click on the image for more details.
Determining the identity of the sitter in a portrait often involves what resembles detective work – clues are gathered, inferences made, and sometimes a likely identification can be made. In the case of the little boy depicted by Jean-Baptiste Greuze offered here, we do have two clues.
The first is a label which was originally on the back of the panel, inscribed ‘Eigenthum Ihrer Majestät der Königin Mathilde von Württemberg’ (Property of Her Majesty Queen Mathilde of Württemberg). Charlotte Mathilde was the eldest daughter of King George III of Britain and his queen consort, Charlotte. The fact that this painting was in Charlotte Mathilde’s possession means that she not only took it with her when she married Frederick, future king of Württemberg when she was 33 years old, but also to Ludwigsburg Palace near Stuttgart when she settled there as dowager queen after Frederick’s death. To have kept this small portrait among her personal property during her entire life, the sitter must have meant a great deal to her.
In this issue:
• Top 10 from our summer auctions
• A family influences an era
• Rembrandt: a genius on the brink
• Preview of our autumn auctions
July Auctions 2021
Post-sale report July Auctions 2021
144% SOLD BY VALUE – AUCTION RECORDS FOR WARHOL, LICHTENSTEIN AND MANIEVICH
Modern, Contemporary & Swiss Art, Jewellery, Watches
With over 1 000 bidders from 48 countries worldwide, Koller’s June/July auction series were a resounding success across all categories, with each department registering hammer prices well over the pre-sale estimates. World auction records were set for prints by Warhol, Lichtenstein, Alberto Giacometti, as well as for an oil painting by Ukrainian artist Abraham Manievich.
Preview in Zurich
Preview December Auctions in Zurich
25–29 November, 10am-6pm (Monday 10am-4pm)
Auctions: 30 November–3 December 2021
Hardturmstrasse 102, 8031 Zurich
RARE BIRDCAGE CLOCK WITH MUSIC BOX AND AUTOMATON
Such birdcage automatons were often created as a collaboration of various specialized watchmakers and automaton makers from Neuchâtel and the Jura. They are witnesses of great skill and enjoyed great popularity in the period between 1780 and 1840. Among the most important watchmaking dynasties are the Robert, Jaquet-Droz, Frédéric Leschot, Maillardet, Fochat and Bruguier families. Others, such as François Nicole and Charles-Frédéric Nardin, specialized in the making of music boxes. The luxury objects resulting from this collaboration were often sold to the European aristocracy as well as to China, Russia, and the Ottoman Empire through Geneva-based makers and sellers, such as Jean-François Bautte (1772-1837), who signed the clock on offer. The founding of Bautte & Moynier dates back to 1791, when case maker Jean-François Bautte joined forces with watchmaker Dauphin Moulinié. The company was expanded in 1804 when watchmaker Jean-Gabriel Moynier joined, and thereafter operated as Moulinié, Bautte & Moynier, fabrique d'horlogerie. The luxury company employed about 60 workers and produced watches as well as jewelry of the highest quality. Bautte became one of the most important watch dealers in Geneva. After the departure of Moulinié around 1824, the name was changed to Bautte & Moynier.
An extremely rare and large gold enamel pocket watch
Lot 2824 - An extremely rare and large gold enamel pocket watch
Veigneur Frères, with 1/4-repeater and automaton, for the Chinese market, ca. 1790.
Sold for CHF 12 500
A painting from the "Golden Age"
Old Master paintings specialist Karoline Weser presents a landscape by one of the most important artists of the Golden Age of Dutch painting, Salomon van Ruysdael.
The minute workings of this fascinating astronomical clock are revealed by Furniture & Decorative Arts specialist Stephan Koller.
Eine seltene, ausdrucksstarke Figur einer tantrische Gottheit
Regi Preiswerk, Expertin für asiatische Kunst bei Koller, präsentiert eine bedeutende Tempelfigur aus der Kangxi-Periode. Erfahren Sie mehr über diese schrecklich anmutende Figur und ihre überhaupt nicht schreckliche Bedeutung im tantrischen Buddhismus.
“Wäre ich nicht Maler geworden, wäre ich Gärtner geworden”
Silke Stahlschmidt, Leiterin der Abteilung PostWar & Contemporary, präsentiert das faszinierende Gemälde “Very low sun box” von 1964/65 des Abstrakten Expressionisten Theodoros Stamos. Sie erklärt wie Stamos durch das gekonnte Zusammenspiel von Farbe und Komposition, ein Bild erschafft, dass ungeheure Kraft ausstrahlt.
Ein bedeutendes kaiserliches Objekt aus China unter dem HammerDie beeindruckend geschnitzte Palastwand wurde Recherchen zu Folge sehr wahrscheinlich für die Räumlichkeiten der Kaiserwitwe Cixi (1835–1908) angefertigt. Die beidseitig kunstvoll durchbrochene Wand ist ein charakteristisches Beispiel für die Innenausstattung der kaiserlichen Paläste der Qing-Zeit. Aus Peking sind zwei weitere vergleichbare Objekte mit oktogonaler Türöffnung bekannt: ein Raumteiler befand sich im Yiluandian Palast, wurde aber 1901 bei einem Brand vollständig zerstört. Die zweite Wand befindet sich in einem Wohngebäude im westlichen Teil der Verbotenen Stadt. Bei der hier ange botenen Trennwand handelte es sich um das einzige je auf dem weltweiten Kunstmarkt angebotene Kunstwerk dieser Art. Für 940’000 Franken gelangte es nun in asiatischen Besitz.
ARTMYN, ein Startup aus EPFL/LCAV, bietet eine bahnbrechende Lösung für die präzise Digitalisierung von Kunstwerken mit interaktivem Rendering auf mobilen Geräten, zugänglich über einen einfachen Webbrowser. Ein einzigartiger tragbarer Scanner erfasst Gigabytes von Daten, welche die Kunstwerke in seinen feinsten Details beschreiben und zusammen mit proprietären Webtechnologien einer True-to-Life-Visualisierung resultiert. Diese völlig neue Erfahrung ermöglicht es den Benutzern, sich auf eine emotionale Reise zu begeben, auf welcher die digitalen Kopien geradezu in realistischer Weise betrachtet werden können, ganz so als halte man die Originale in den eigenen Händen.
Entdecken Sie diese neue Technologie hier