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KOLLERview is published four times a year,

the next issue will follow in March 2020.

Read as PDF.

Ladies and gentlemen, dear clients and friends

In the socially turbulent 20th century, rich in political upheavals, visual art underwent radical changes: from its roots in Impressionism’s experiments with colour and form, after 1900 completely new tendencies crystallized in various places and with very different protagonists. The Expressionists turned the colour palette upside down, Cubism pushed the representation of forms into the realm of geometry, and abstraction made its place on canvasses and in sculpture. Our auction on 6 December will feature works that exemplify the era of modern art and its abundance of artistic personalities: Pierre Auguste Renoir, Paul Cézanne, Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse and Marc Chagall.

After the Second World War, the epicentre of the international art scene shifted from Europe and its capital cities of Moscow, Berlin, Paris, and London to the USA. Cities like New York, Chicago, San Francisco and Los Angeles acted as melting pots of Modernism in the 1950s and 1960s. In these “boomtowns”, Action Painting, Pop Art, Minimal Art and many other currents had their beginnings, and would in turn make a massive impact on the “Old World”.

Our December auctions unite a number of works from this period of artistic upheaval that produced “multilingual” art. Today the works of Andy Warhol, Keith Haring, Robert Indiana, Jean Dubuffet, Mark Tobey, Ben Nicholson, Getulio Alviani, Alexander Calder and Karel Appel exemplify the fruitful dialogues and discourses of those decades.

With sculptural works by Ai Weiwei and Stephan Balkenhol, contemporary art is also prominently represented at Koller in December. In addition, we will again have the opportunity to auction fine works of Asian Art, such as two Meiji Bronze vessels, which illustrate the intensive cultural transfer between Europe and Asia some 120 years ago.

Finally, in the Swiss Art Auction – alongside the famous Town Clerk by Albert Anker and works by Alexandre Calame, Giovanni Giacometti, Cuno Amiet and Adolf Dietrich – there is Peter Robert Berri, a master to be rediscovered who sensitively portrayed the mountains between Val Poschiavo and Valtellina at the beginning of the last century.

I look forward to welcoming you to our auction galleries during our preview and wish you an entertaining and stimulating read.

Our experts are always available to advise you on the purchase and sale of works of art.

Ihr Cyril Koller



Man with green shirt and domino relief. 2007.
Sculpture. Wawa-wood, painted, 2-parts.
Estimate: CHF 50 000 / 70 000

Stephan Balkenhol plays brilliantly with scales in his wooden sculptures: while the figure placed on a pedestal is much smaller than in reality, the artist has enlarged the dominoes in the background many times over. The irritation that this shift in dimensions triggers in the viewer is at the onset of an entire narrative thread that develops around this expansive installation. “My sculptures offer suggestions of stories without telling them to the end”, says Balkenhol about his works.



Superman. 1981.
Colour screenprint with diamond dust. 8/200.
Sheet size 95.2 x 95.2 cm.
Estimate: CHF 120 000 / 180 000

Comic icons

Andy Warhol’s “Superman” in the PostWar & Contemporary auction on 7 December 2019

The world of comics knows many heroes: Max and Moritz (1865), Mickey Mouse (1928) and Donald Duck (1931), Popeye (1929), or Tim and Struppi (1929). But the legendary superhero of modern comics is Superman – alias Kal-El, alias Clark Kent – who saw the light of day in 1938. His inventors, comic writer Jerry Siegel and artist Joe Shuster, triggered a veritable superhero boom in the United States which produced characters such as Batman (1939) and Wonder Woman (1941). Andy Warhol, born in 1928, exemplified the target group of this medium: children, teenagers and young adults who were enthusiastic about the new idols and bought, collected and traded comic books.

The new spirit (Donald Duck). 1985.
Colour screenprint. 132/190.
Sheet size 95.2 x 95.2.
Estimate: CHF 24 000 / 28 000

The Superman motif is one of a series of comic icons that Warhol included in his work beginning in the 1960s. Among the most sought-after of these is his silkscreen series “Myths” from 1981, which included Mickey Mouse and this Superman. Most of the characters in Warhol’s Myths series come from old Hollywood films, early American comics, and TV programs from the 1950s. On the one and they are reminders of the great past of the American entertainment industry, on the other they took Andy Warhol back to the years of his childhood. When he was a young boy, Andy suffered from an autoimmune disease and was bedridden for months. During this time, he became enthralled by comics and movies. After completing his training as a commercial artist, Warhol collected striking magazine illustrations and covers, which he adapted – serially and repeatedly – into screenprints. He loved making repetitions, such as his Campbell soup cans or stacked Brillo boxes: “I love to do the same thing over and over again.”

How familiar Warhol was with the world of comics can also be seen in a formal detail, which he did not take from the historical Superman model, but which belongs quite naturally to the history of comic drawing: by duplicating and superimposing the motif, the artist creates the impression of movement that renders the image more active and dynamic. One of the archetypes of this artistic effect is Max and Moritz creator Wilhelm Busch’s unforgettable drawings of the piano-playing “Virtuoso”, who in the “Finale Furioso” ecstatically reaches into the keys and – as a symbol of the enormous speed of his musical performance – can be seen several times over. In a comparable manner, Warhol makes his Superman, fist forward and cape fluttering, dynamically ascend and nearly overtake himself. The fact that Warhol did not choose this type of depiction by chance is demonstrated by test prints of the motif in black and white, in which he had already doubled the image. The artist adopted the strong red and blue palette directly from the Superman original, and added diamond dust to the contours of the doubled motif. Both create a dramatic effect against the black background and thus continue the suspenseful narrative thread of the Superman comic in an independent work of art.

“The New Spirit”, a colour screenprint from Warhol’s 1985 “Ads” series, will also be offered in the 7 December auction. In this series of ten motifs, the artist not only staged the famous cartoon character Donald Duck, but also a whole potpourri of iconic images of the “American Way of Life” and the US consumer society: the logos of Apple, Paramount and Chanel, as well as portraits of Judy Garland, Ronald Reagan and James Dean. Warhol’s iconic comic figures have been in demand at Koller: in December 2018 his “Mickey Mouse” screenprint achieved CHF 168,500 – a new world record for this print.



17" Planets. 1976.
Gouache and ink on wove paper.
37,1 x 109,1 cm.
Estimate: CHF 40 000 / 60 000


01 Calder's fascination with the solar system was part of a broader phenomenon that was triggered, among other things, by the discovery of the planet Pluto in 1930. “The simplest forms in the universe are the sphere and the circle. I represent them by disks and then I vary them”, he said.

H. 1970.
Acrylic on canvas.
86 x 86 cm.
Estimate: CHF 6 000 / 8 000

Cane. 1979.
Pastel on thin cardboard.
31 x 41 cm.
Estimate: CHF 24 000 / 32 000

Superficie a testura vibratile.
Aluminium on wood.
70 x 70 cm.
Estimate: CHF 40 000 / 60 000

02 Claisse was convinced that her art didn't need “the crutches of traditional painting” – and created inimitable works of geometric abstraction.

03 Whether with women, men with moustaches, children, birds, or – as here – a dog, Botero enchants with cheerful, bright colours and seemingly inflated forms.

04 The works of the Italian artist “Get” Alviani are magical illusions charged with pulsating energy. Since the 1950s he has been experimenting with metal surfaces, which he furnishes with precisely applied, optically vibrating textures.

05 Itten, who came from the Bauhaus, directed the Kunstgewerbeschule (School of Applied Arts) in Zurich and taught at the Hochschule für Gestaltung (School of Design) in Ulm after the Second World War. He studied the interplay of colour and form throughout his life, which led to his own colour theory.

06 As co-founder of the avant-garde artists’ group ZERO, the representation of light was at the centre of Piene’s work: “In the past, paintings and sculptures seemed to glow. Now they do”.

Diagonals. 1962.
Oil on canvas.
60 x 60 cm.
Estimate: CHF 20 000 / 30 000

Untitled (Fire Flower). 1987.
Pigments, gouache and fire on thin cardboard.
66,5 x 97,5 cm.
Estimate: CHF 12 000 / 16 000

Cochon avec Femme. 1971.
Oil on canvas.
37,1 x 109,1 cm.
Estimate: CHF 40 000 / 60 000

07 The painting of the Dutch artist Appel is strongly influenced by the international group of artists CoBrA, founded in 1948 (an acronym of the city names Copenhagen / Brussels / Amsterdam). In the 1970s, Appel’s child-like world of motifs manifested itself in bright colours.

The Book of Love. 1996.
Portfolio with 12 colour screenprints and 12 poems,
also with the imprint. 50/200.
Estimate: CHF 80 000 / 140 000

Concetto Spaziale. 1966.
Cracks and graffiti on white wove paper.
56 x 43 cm.
Estimate: CHF 35 000 / 55 000

Untitled #11. 2006.
Aluminium. 3/3.
46 x 54 x 75 cm.
Estimate: CHF 15 000 / 25 000

08 Indiana’s LOVE design, created in the mid-sixties, is now world-famous and adorns T-shirts and coffee mugs, billboards and even a US stamp. “The Book of Love” combines poems with the logo in twelve different screen-printed colour combinations.

09 By scratching and cutting the surface, Fontana places the three-dimensionality of the work in the foreground and leads us into a mystical realm found on the back of the picture.

10 Gupta is one of the most influential figures in contemporary Indian art. The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung wrote that he is an artist who shows the everyday life of his homeland and transforms it into art – full of warm closeness to his origins.

11 Tobey spent the last years of his life in Basel thanks to Swiss art dealer and collector Ernst Beyeler. During this time he painted temperas like these, in which he continually created new textures.

12 Vasarely’s geometric abstractions built on formal inventions of the Suprematists, the De Stijl movement and the Constructivists to create mesmerizing optical illusions.

Untitled. 1965.
Tempera on wove paper.
26 x 17 cm.
Estimate: CHF 40 000 / 60 000

Kezdi-RSZ. 1970.
Acrylic on canvas.
160 x 160 cm.
Estimate: CHF 90 000 / 140 00



Site avec 5 personnages. 1981.
Acrylic on paper, firmly laid down on canvas.
50 x 68 cm.
Estimate: CHF 160 000 / 240 000

Dubuffet’s metamorphosi

Jean Dubuffet in the PostWar & Contemporary Auction on 7 December 2019

Five very different works from the December auction allow us to trace the artistic development of French artist Jean Dubuffet (1901–1985), from the end of the 1950s until shortly before his death. In the 1920s, Dubuffet was in the circle of the Paris Surrealists. He did not devote himself to painting, found objects, printmaking and sculpture until after 1942. With his manifesto “L'Art brut préféré aux arts culturels”, published in 1949, he established an important art theoretical discourse parallel to his own artistic development

L'Aguicheuse. 1966.
Marker and coloured pen on wove paper.
25 x 16,5 cm.
Estimate: CHF 30 000 / 50 000

Personnage. 1965.
Black felt-tip pen on wove paper by Montgolfier S.M.
27 x 21 cm.
Estimate: CHF 15 000 / 25 000

In the 1950s, Dubuffet created a series of oil paintings as experiments with materials and textures; “Texturologie LII”, 1958, is a typical example from this series, to be offered in the 7 December auction. The vital surfaces created by dripping paint represent “teeming matter, soils, or even galaxies and nebulae”, according to the artist.

Dubuffet became well known as a result of exhibitions in the USA, featuring the colourful and strongly formal works with which his work became associated, created in his Paris studio beginning in 1960. Three examples in the 7 December auction typify this phase: “Personnage”, 1965, a felt-tip pen drawing reduced to the artist’s characteristic monochrome cell-like forms, “L'aguicheuse”, a coloured drawing made in 1966, and the sculpture “Le tétrascopique”, 1971, one of only five hors-commerce examples that were reworked by hand. This last example shows Dubuffet’s playful penetration into the third dimension, which began in 1966. Finally, “Site avec 5 Personnages”, 1981, evokes Dubuffet's enthusiasm for naive art. He began collecting outsider art in 1945 and donated his extensive collection to the Collection de l’Art Brut in Lausanne, where it has been on display since 1976.

Texturologie LII (pariétale mouchetée). 1958.
Oil on canvas.
66 x 80 cm.
Minimum hammer price: CHF 32 000

Le Tétrascopique. 1971.
Sculpture with four polychrome panels. Colour screenprint on polyvinyl, one panel is hand painted.
97.5 x 50 x 50 cm. With metal plinth.
Estimate: CHF 25 000 / 35 000



Nymphes. 20 May 1945.
Charcoal on paper.
48 x 37 cm.
Estimate: CHF 120 000 / 180 000

Silent Cézanne, moving Matisse

Preview of the Impressionist & Modern Art Auction on 6 December 2019

Still lifes played a central role in Cézanne's work. At least 170 of them are known today, though they rarely appear on the art market – in the past ten years, only 13 Cézanne still lifes have been auctioned worldwide. Through continually new arrangements of form and surface, and experiments with light and colour, Cezanne created unique pictorial spaces. “Treat nature in terms of the cylinder, the sphere and the cone” was how he famously characterised his search for a new pictorial language in 1904. At the time this still life was created (1879-80), he was regarded as a maverick and had only a few advocates, among them the influential Parisian art dealer Ambroise Vollard. This painting has an interesting provenance: it once belonged to Franz Meyer, $ long-time director of the Kunstmuseum Basel and president of the Alberto Giacometti Foundation in Zurich, who was Marc Chagall’s son-in-law.

Bol, boîte à lait et bouteille. 1879-80.
Oil on canvas.
15,7 x 20 cm.
Estimate: CHF 300 000 / 500 000

The shifts in perspective that came to decisively shape Cézanne’s paintings can be seen in this work: while the bright, painted bowl is viewed from the front, one looks down into the taller jug to the left. Cézanne’s distancing from conventional representation is taking shape. His painting technique, his pictorial inventions and his experiments with perspective fascinated subsequent generations of artists, and the complexity and modernity of Cézanne’s creations continued to do so well into the 20th century.

Like Picasso (“Cézanne was my one and only master”), Braque and Derain, Henri Matisse repeatedly referred to Cézanne as the “father of modern art”. Matisse’s lively depiction of three nymphs, which will also be offered in the 6 December auction, dates from 1945. Four years earlier, after a severe abdominal operation left him bedridden, the artist turned to drawing with charcoal. Through the partially effaced traces of underlying charcoal strokes, the creative process remains visible in the finished picture. The importance Matisse attached to the transformative conversion of a motif was impressively demonstrated at the opening exhibition of the Galerie Maeght in Paris in 1946, where the artist presented photographs documenting the creation of the six paintings on display. In the accentuated forms of the naked bodies, Matisse’s last creative phase, his cut-outs, is already apparent. In his last years, these cut-out and glued forms replaced his drawings, paintings and sculptures.



Helmos. December 1963.
Wood relief, painted.
78 x 78 cm.
Estimate: CHF 100 000 / 150 000


13 As early as the 1930s Nicholson experimented with purely geometric, almost architectural forms. Piet Mondrian and Naum Gabo both had a lasting influence on the British artist, and their strict reduction of visual language is also reflected in this relief.

Françoise. 1946.
Lithograph. 2/50.
Image 59,5 x 48,5 cm.
Estimate: CHF 25 000 / 35 000

Repos sur coq et chevauchée au village rouge. 1975-78.
Gouache, tempera and ink on paper.
65,3 x 50 cm.
Estimate: CHF 120 000 / 180 000

Paysage, vallée village sur la hauteur et fond de montagnes. 1900.
Oil on canvas.
26 x 36 cm.
Estimate: CHF 100 000 / 150 000

14 This is a portrait of Picasso’s lover and mother of their children Claude and Paloma, the painter and graphic artist Françoise Gilot, for whom Picasso ended his relationship with Dora Maar in the mid-1940s. For several years, this litho was the only portrait the artist had made of Gilot.

15 Every detail of Chagall’s painting is part of an entire pictorial narrative, as well as symbolically charged. From the 1960s he worked on several large commissions for murals and glass paintings, in Japan, Israel and the USA. At the same time he created stage and costume designs for the theatre.

16 Exquisite colours and enchanting light – with these ingredients Renoir created almost all his landscape paintings. With his early works, Renoir gave Impressionism an essential stimulus, and he conserved the liveliness of his style well into his advanced age.

17 Picasso’s drawings in particular demonstrate his mastery of the line. This work exemplifies a central theme of his oeuvre with its depiction of a three-way relationship. Begun on 11 July 1966, Picasso reworked and condensed the image several days later.

18 This painting was created in 1908, the year Giovanni Giacometti exhibited his work together with the artists’ association “Die Brücke” in Dresden.

Trois personnages. 1966.
Crayon and felt pen on paper.
50 x 61 cm.
Estimate: CHF 280 000 / 350 000

Waldinneres. 1908.
Oil on canvas.
38 × 46 cm.
Estimate: CHF 80 000 / 120 000

Clivia. 1943.
Oil on panel.
65 × 57 cm.
Estimate: CHF 60 000 / 90 000

19 In the 1940s, the Swiss artist Dietrich reached the peak of his success. His newly objective, in part hyperrealistic paintings – landscapes, still lifes, animal paintings and portraits – attracted a large circle of collectors and museum curators who exhibited his works.

Lac des Quatre-Cantons, près de Brunnen.
Oil on canvas.
64,6 × 87,5 cm.
Estimate: CHF 30 000 / 50 000

20 Calame's landscape paintings, often bathed in dramatic light, enjoyed success throughout Europe and left their mark on the artistic image of the Swiss Alps in the second third of the 19th century.



Auktion: 4.12.2019


Rare split second Chronograph, 1940s.

Stainless steel. Ø 44 mm.

Estimate: CHF 55 000 / 75 000



Flyback Chronograph with calendar, 2009.

Platinum 950. Ø 40,5 mm.

Estimate: CHF 35 000 / 55 000



Daytona "Zenith" Caliber, 1999.

Stainless steel. Ø 38 mm.

Estimate: CHF 20 000 / 25 000




Rare "Perpetual Calendar", 2014.

White gold 750. Ø 37,5 mm.

Estimate: CHF 28 000 / 50 000



Van Cleef & Arpels, NY 1964.

Yellow gold 750 and platinum 10% iridium, 47g.

Estimate: CHF 20 000 / 30 00



Van Cleef & Arpels, NY, circa 1960.

Yellow gold 750, 54g.

Estimate: CHF 20 000 / 30 000




White gold 750.

Set with 1 cushion-shaped diamond of 10.02 ct, J/SI1

Estimate: CHF 100 000 / 150 000



Platinum 950, 27g.

Elegant ring, set with 1 cushion-shaped Burma sapphire of 37.67 ct.

Estimate: CHF 220 000 / 320 000




Der Gemeindeschreiber (The community record keeper) V. 1899.
Oil on canvas.
62,5 × 49 cm.
Estimate: CHF 600 000 / 900 000

Between Val Poschiavo and Valtellina

Preview of the Swiss Art Auction on 6 December 2019

Born in 1864 in St. Moritz, Peter Robert Berri studied medicine in Switzerland and Germany. In 1892, he was appointed chief physician of the St. Moritz-Bad Mineral Springs Society. Six years later he became acquainted with Giovanni Segantini and Giovanni Giacometti, whose painting techniques and pictorial worlds Berri skilfully adapted in his own early paintings. Giacometti encouraged him to paint, to pursue his vocation: “After all, you are a colourist. Colours attract you. Give free range to your desires”. Berri pursued his goal to move beyond dilettantism and become a true artist through studies at the renowned private Académie Julian in Paris, and a drawing course with Heinrich Knirr in Munich. He spent the productive years between 1905 and the outbreak of World War I in the Alps of the Grisons and the Engadine, the Val Poschiavo and the Valtellina in Italy. During that time he met Ferdinand Hodler and Friedrich Nietzsche, among others, and his works were shown at major Swiss art exhibitions as well as at the Venice Biennale.

Lej da Suvretta.
Oil on canvas.
97,5 × 147 cm.
Estimate: CHF 60 000 / 100 000

Maloja "Paesaggio paradisiaco". 1920.
Oil on canvas.
120 × 100 cm.
Estimate: CHF 100 000 / 150 000

Central to Berri’s work are views of the mountainous landscape around the Julier and Bernina passes. His paintings, in a style reminiscent of Giovanni Segantini, were created en plein air. “For ten years I worked for several months each winter on the Julier and Bernina passes, because I was particularly attracted to this altitude with its greater abundance of light and colour”, Berri later recalled. Berri captured the mountain ranges’ shimmering spectrum of light and colour in large landscapes, to which an application of impasto colour lends an additional dynamic. Berri’s feelings for nature found their counterpart in oil painting: “Last autumn, excited by the wonderful colour symphonies of the autumn landscape, I travelled about the mountains for weeks on end with coloured pencils and sketchbooks, following an irresistible desire to sketch. I soon came to the sad conclusion that the cold, hard coloured pencils were unable to reproduce my painterly sensations”.

Snow is particularly important in Berri’s work. In the two early summer pictures offered in the 6 December auction the shady mountain flanks retain remains of white splendour. In addition to landscape paintings, Berri created impressive portraits and self-portraits, as well as a number of works that reflect everyday life in the mountain villages of the Grisons, marked by traditions and centuries-old customs, hard work and little comfort

Piz Julier.
Oil on canvas.
70,5 × 111 cm.
Estimate: CHF 50 000 / 80 000



Tibet, 14th/15th. century. H 27 cm.
Base plate lost.
Estimate: CHF 100 000 / 150 000

East meets West

Preview of the Asian Art Auction on 3 December 2019

Cultural exchanges between East Asia and Western Europe reached their height in the 19th century. In particular, the international exhibitions or world’s fairs, which had their origins in London’s Crystal Palace in 1851, developed into platforms where not only industries but also the visual and applied arts of various nations were exhibited together. The extravagant national pavilions brought Asian art to Europe and America, where it could be experienced in such abundance for the first time, inspiring Japonism – to use a term coined by the French art historian Philippe Burty in 1872 – which spawned important works of Impressionism, Art Nouveau and Viennese Modernism. At the same time, a select group of dealers such as Samuel Bing, and collectors who devoted themselves primarily to Japanese art became established in Europe. Woodcuts by Hokusai and Hiroshige, Utamaro and Kesai Eisen soon joined the cultural-historical treasures of Europe. Artists such as Vincent van Gogh and Édouard Manet, Aubrey Beardsley, Gustav Klimt and Paul Klee often referred to these Far Eastern influences in their works.

Japan, Meiji period (early 20th c.)
H 39,5 cm.
Estimate: CHF 5 000 / 8 000

The international exhibitions also affected the visitors and exhibitors who travelled from the Far East: Asian artists’ encounters with Art Nouveau led to a reverse flow of influence, especially after 1900. Japanese artists – in addition to their own roots such as those of the Rinpa school around Ogata Kōrin (1658–1716) – integrated design influences from the West into their painting, lacquer art and metal works. Art Nouveau in its heyday reached Japan through Japanese travellers to Europe, including the painters and woodcut artists Kuroda Seiki (1866–1924) and Asai Chu (1856–1907). The elegance of the naturalistic and ornamental decorations characteristic of Art Nouveau inspired the Japanese to make more creative designs. This complex network of exchanges and interrelationships gave rise to unique works such as the two Meiji bronze jars which will be offered in the 3 December auction.

The mutual transfer was made possible by the extensive social modernization and opening of the former feudal state of Japan in the last third of the 19th century. The Meiji Restoration that began in 1868 with Tennō Mutsuhito favored yōga, Western-style painting, and sent young students to Europe to bring Western knowledge and technique to Japan. Western naturalism was clearly reflected in the sculptures of the Tokyo School, also represented in the 3 December auction. Traditional Japanese metalwork – especially the production of samurai swords – involved an extremely high level of craftsmanship. Metal alloys could be varied for different colour effects; gold and silver coatings were used for sword decoration on the tiniest surface. Bans on carrying weapons in public issued in the 1870s led craftsmen to apply their technical mastery to new objects. Bronze work in particular experienced a new boom as a result. Alongside the artisan elite, new metalworking schools were developed, creating elaborate objects such as vases and sculptures.

China, 19th century.
H 20,3 cm.
Estimate: CHF 10 000 / 15 000

Japan, dated 1698, H 81,5 cm.
Fire-gilt copper sheet with delicate incised ornamental decor, base with woodcore.
Estimate: CHF 50 000 / 80 000



After a Meissen porcelain model from 1748
Louis XV, Paris, probably 18th century
Sold for CHF 40 560


01 The models for these two objects were probably from the famous Meissen Swan Service, made in 1737 under the direction of Count von Brühl.

Pair of works.
Oil on canvas.
Each 44,5 × 35 cm.
Sold for CHF 171 100

Gothic, France, 15th century.
Oak core, with opulent iron mounts designed
as pierced, stylised tendrils.
Sold for CHF 6 000

The Crucifixion.
Tempera and gold ground on panel.
42 × 30,2 cm.
Sold for CHF 152 800

02 Pairs of paintings enjoyed great popularity in the age of cabinets of curiosities and private art collections. The motifs of the Swiss artist Bys, whose known works include not only panel paintings but also many mural paintings which were influenced by models from the Netherlands and Italy.

03 Small boxes like this were literally “reliquaries of love”. Such miniature boxes made of wood, leather or ivory were given as gifts and were regarded especially from the 13th to the 15th centuries as an expression of deep friendship, for example between fiancées or a bride and groom.

04 This work from the High Gothic period shows the moment when the dying Christ commends his favourite disciple John to his mother as her son.

05 Van der Ast specialised in brilliantly painted, symbolically charged still lifes, especially flower pieces and fruit arrangements. From 1619 he lived in Utrecht, where he was a member of the Guild of St Luke, which conferred prestige and numerous commissions.

06 Klombeck’s artistry and painterly virtuosity are expressed in the myriad of details in his paintings.

Still life with fruits in a woven basket.
Oil on panel.
29,7 × 52,3 cm.
Sold for CHF 219 900

Forest path with travellers by a stream. 1857.
Oil on panel.
69,5 × 58 cm.
Sold for CHF 36 900

Bildnis eines Narren. Um 1550.
Öl auf Holz.
33,9 × 24,6 cm.
Sold for CHF 695 300

07 Dieses frühe Narrenbildnis ist ein exzellentes Beispiel für die flämische Porträtmalerei des 16. Jahrhunderts zwischen Hieronymus Bosch und Pieter Bruegel d. Ä.

Naples – le Mont Saint-Elme et partie de la ville. 1828.
Oil on panel.
20,6 × 40,4 cm.
Sold for CHF 104 000

Two altar panels.
Oil on panel.
Each 48,5 × 25,5 cm.
Sold for CHF 522 800

Bronze sculpture of Ettore Bugatti on horseback.
Bronze with dark brown patina.
54 x 31 x 62 cm.
Sold for CHF 128 400

08 Corot's works – such as this city view from his early oeuvre – mark the step from classical academic landscape painting to modern art. His colours and his way of rendering the southern light were important sources of inspiration for the Impressionists.

09 These two panels were probably part of a triptych which was separated in the 19th century; they were only recently reunited by a private collector.

10 The Italian sculptor Paul Troubetzkoy had Russian roots and lived in Switzerland in the beginning of the 20th century. Depicted is the founder of the famous Bugatti car brand, whose factory was located in Alsace from 1909 to 1963, and later in Italy.

11 Michau, who was active around 1700, was one of the last representatives of the golden age of Dutch landscape painting, which began almost a century and a half earlier.

12 In the second half of the 15th century and in the early 16th century, cloth paintings were particularly popular. In this technique, the pigments are applied to a finely woven linen cloth with glue tempera without priming. In spite of the highly fragile material, this depiction of Christ has been excellently preserved.

Festive village gathering.
Oil on copper.
33 × 45 cm.
Sold for CHF 73 500

Christ with the crown of thorns.
Tempera and gold ground on canvas. (Tüchleinmalerei).
47 × 37,5 cm (visible dimensions).
Sold for CHF 97 900



Compulsory auction: 5.12.2019

This 97-lot auction features high quality gold boxes, antique jewellery and 38 select and in part highly rare objects from the House of Fabergé, jewellers to the Russian Imperial Court.

* Please note the special auction conditions in the catalogue.


Maker's mark Michael Perchin, scratched inventory no. 47970.

Ca. 4,8 cm Ø. H ca. 2,8 cm.

Minimum hammer price: CHF 3 500



Marked Fabergé, maker's mark Michael Perchin, 88 Zolotniky.

Ca. 11,4 cm.

Minimum hammer price: CHF 93 000



Marked Fabergé, maker's mark Henrik Wigström, 56 Zolotniky.

Ca. 7,4 x 3,9 cm.

Minimum hammer price: CHF 146 000




Maker's mark Fedor Afanassiev, inventory no. 18955.

Ca. 5 cm Ø. H ca. 1,5 cm

Minimum hammer price: CHF 200 500


GEMSET GOLD FIBULAE, Marocco, Fez, late 18th century.


Ca. 6,5 cm Ø.

Minimum hammer price: CHF 1 500



Gelbgold. Early 17th century.

Ca. 4,2 x 4 cm.

Minimum hammer price: CHF 80 000




St. Petersburg, ca. 1890. Maker's mark Michael Perchin, 84 Zolotniky.

Ca. 8,8 x 5,3 x 2,4 cm.

Minimum hammer price: CHF 150 500



St. Petersburg 1884-1886. Maker's mark Michael Perchin.

Ca. 4,8 x 2,4 cm.

Minimum hammer price: CHF 49 000




Cruche et citrons sur une chaise. Circa 1942.
Oil on canvas.
51 x 40,5 cm
Minimum hammer price: CHF 27 500

Modern & Contemporary Art
Compulsory auction: 5.12.2019

This auction comprises 17 paintings, prints and sculptures by Jean Dubuffet, Andy Warhol, Jan Schoonhoven, David Smith, Richard Paul Lohse, Robert Indiana, Tamara de Lempicka, Félix del Marle, Auguste Herbin, Edmond van Dooren, Albert Gleizes, Alexandra Exter, Man Ray, David Nestorovich Kakabadze, Julio Gonzáles and Miguel Barceló.* Please note the special auction conditions in the catalogue.

Chief. 1969.
Oil on canvas.
61 x 56 x 4 cm.
Minimum hammer price: CHF 79 500


KOLLERview is published four times a year,

the next issue will follow in December 2019.

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Dear Clients and Friends

In 1990, when I was 23 years old, I started working in the auction house which my father founded and built from the ground up in 1958. The trust that my father placed in me in those early years, and the freedom to put new ideas into practice he gave me from the very beginning, were decisive for our entire future cooperation. The openness of the older generation towards the younger one, and the respect of the young for the experience of their elders – that was the magic formula for the continued success of our auction house in the following decades. I am deeply grateful for all those years.

My father’s life, which ended on 21 June 2019, was closely interwoven with his “Galerie Koller” up to his last day. Until the end, his greatest interest was in our auction house. And so he would certainly have advised me at this point, after due acknowledgements, to announce the highlights of our upcoming auctions!

The two most important works in our Old Masters auction are panels which were created during the same period, but are diametrically opposed in their conception. One was made in Florence, the other in Mechelen. Tuscany and Flanders, two of the leading economic and cultural centres in the 15th and 16th centuries, engaged in constant contact and exchanges. And yet we see two worlds of ideas colliding in the “Portrait of a Jester” by the Master of 1537 and in the “Madonna” by Pier Francesco di Jacopo Foschi. The first is of a naturally realistic genre, deeply rooted in this world and challenging the viewer; the second – with a subtly idealised composition and colouring – serves the divine.

The fascination with mechanical perfection and the display of modern technology in the 18th and 19th centuries is documented on the one hand by a skeleton clock made in Paris around 1780, and on the other by two books woven by machine in silk. The books’ production was automated in 1878, about a hundred years after the creation of the skeleton clock mentioned above, with the help of thousands of punched cards. The programming of Jacquard looms for the production of highly detailed books was ground-breaking, and their complex binary code corresponds to one of the basic principles of the present-day computer.

Several Italian panel paintings from the 14th and 15th centuries and many other objects distributed over all specialist areas come from a wonderful Ticino collection which an Italian connoisseur lovingly and knowledgeably assembled over many years. Finally, in this issue of KOLLERview we also present some objects and works of art that we have successfully auctioned in recent months.

I wish you, dear readers, an informative read.

Yours, Cyril Koller

Portrait of a jester. Circa 1550.
Oil on panel.
33.9 × 24.6 cm.
Estimate: CHF 500 000 / 700 000

Fools say what the wise man only thinks

Preview of the Old Master Paintings Auction on 27 September 2019

The jester as a symbolic figure crops up again and again throughout history in literature as well as in the performing and visual arts. Sixteenth-century Flemish painters Quentin Massys (1466–1530) and Lucas van Leyden (1494–1533) provided outstanding examples. A coloured woodblock print by Heinrich Vogtherr the Younger, circa 1540 (see illustration below) is closely related to the work offered in the 27 September auction. The jester, wellknown for taking liberties, is probably the most iconic figure of the court; his ambivalent role is most pronounced.

© akg-images

Although the jester had a comparatively good livelihood because of his proximity to power, when he fell out of favour, the good times were over, with even the possibility of execution. Thus the court jester's life was always a risky balancing act, a continuous all-or-nothing game between the lightness of being and downfall.

The portrait of a jester offered here had been on loan to the Musée départemental de Flandre in Cassel since 2010. It is easy to recognise the established attributes of the fool: the yellow and red costume and the fool's cap with donkey-ears and cockscomb. The fool’s staff on the right is reminiscent of dolls on sticks called “Marotte” dolls. This staff depicts the portrait of its bearer, which alludes to the narcissism and possibly also the godlessness of fools. The representation against a black background and the renunciation of a pictorial context concentrates the composition – and thus the viewer’s gaze – on the facial expression and physical attitude of the jester. This portrait form was a distinct rarity in the 16th century. In order to decipher his idiosyncratic gesture, one inevitably arrives at a saying that is still common in Dutch today: “iets door de vingers zien”. “To see something through one’s fingers” stands for the desire to turn a blind eye, to tolerate, to be broadminded. Apparently the artist is suggesting that one should overlook others’ – including the jester’s – mistakes. Eyeglasses are usually considered a sign of erudition. In this case, though, they probably stand for glare and deception, because at that time making eyeglasses, like the wooden temple glasses shown here, was a technical challenge. Since the resulting spectacles were of very uneven quality, their sellers were often regarded as charlatans.

This impressive jester’s portrait has been attributed to the “Master of 1537”. Active in Mechelen between 1520 and 1570, the Master’s sobriquet derives from a dated panel depicting the Holy Family which was attributed to him. Recent art historical research suggests that the Master of 1537 may have been Frans Verbeeck (before 1530–circa 1570). On the basis of a dendrochronological examination of the wooden panel, the present painting can be dated to a period following 1548, Verbeeck’s most intensive creative phase. His works are related to those of Jan Sanders van Hemessen (1500–1566) and Pieter Coeck van Aelst (1502–1550), but Verbeeck developed his own style, characterised by exaggerated facial features, extravagant poses and unique pictorial compositions. His subjects often contain satirical features. Chronologically and stylistically, Verbeeck’s paintings represent a connection between the works of Hieronymus Bosch (circa 1450–1516) and Pieter Bruegel the Elder (circa 1525/30–1569). In this context as well, this portrait is an excellent example of high-quality Flemish portrait painting of the 16th century.

Still life with fruits in a woven basket.
Oil on panel.
29,7 × 52,3 cm.
Estimate: CHF 180 000 / 280 000

Saint John – favourite disciple, bearer of hope and patron saint

Preview of the Old Master Paintings Auction on 27 September 2019

Intimately close and skilfully bound within the pictorial space by the artist – this is how Mary, the Christ child and the infant John the Baptist appear in a large-format painting which can be described as one of the major works of Pier Francesco di Jacopo Foschi (1502–1567). Foschi, whose father was a pupil of Botticelli, was one of the most sought-after and successful artists during his lifetime, but later faded into obscurity. It was not until 1953 that the renowned Italian art historian Roberto Longhi rediscovered him and his works. Today Foschi is regarded as one of the leading Florentine painters of the 16th century. This high-quality and very well-preserved work can be dated to the creative phase between 1530 and 1540, in which the artist worked primarily under and with Jacopo da Pontormo (1494–1557). While Foschi’s artistic style in his early works was decisively influenced by the painting style of his master Andrea del Sarto (1486–1530), during this period he abandoned descriptive-narrative elements in favour of an emphasis on mystical and religious ones. Stylistically committed to Mannerism, the pictorial space appears densely compressed by the interlocking positions of the figures. The well-arranged composition of gazes, hands and curved bodies lends a lively dynamic. The masterly representation is softened by the colours and the extremely delicate skin tones of the figures. Comparable depictions were already popular devotional motifs among the Florentine bourgeoisie and nobility in the 15th century, especially since John the Baptist was the patron saint of Florence at that time and has remained so to this day.

Lively village scene before a broad landscape.
Oil on panel.
42 × 62 cm.
Estimate: CHF 50 000 / 70 000

Marche School, 15th century
Tempera and gold ground on panel.
42 × 30,2 cm.
Estimate: CHF 40 000 / 60 000

The suffering of Christ on the cross is one of the central subjects of Christian art. This panel, which dates from the High Gothic period and has never before been published, depicts the moment when Christ, shortly before his death, commended his favourite disciple John to Mary as her son: “Woman, here is your son” and “Here is your mother”. The artist stages this episode subtly: Mary takes the kneeling John by the hand and wraps her cloak around him protectively. Behind them, as if witnessing this highly emotional event, one sees Saint Francis of Assisi touching the cross. The rich golden ground of the sky with its engraved plant tendrils and the fascinating directed light on the four figures and their clothing, with the rocky landscape kept in shadow, are strikingly decorative and ennobling. This small-format panel from the early 15th century was probably made in the Marche near Fabriano or San Severino. “In these regions in the 15th century a pictorial world was formed, which combined the playful high Gothic style of Northern Italy, Lombardy, Visconti and Veneto with the elegance of Tuscany’s classical, more plastic world of forms.” (Prof. Dr Gaudenz Freuler).

Madonna and Child with the Infant St John the Baptist.
Oil on panel.
109 × 85 cm.
Estimate: CHF 400 000 / 600 000

Les Laboureurs, poème tiré de Jocelyn reproduit en caractères tissés avec
license des propriétaires éditeurs, en souvenier de l'exposition de Paris 1878.
Estimate: CHF 80 000 / 120 000

A forerunner of computer technology

Preview of the Books Auction on 24 September 2019

What do the Statue of Liberty, Braille, the telephone and electric light have in common? They were all among the exhibits at the third World’s Fair, or Exposition Universelle in Paris in 1878, which focused on modern technology. In addition to the above-mentioned prominent exhibits, there was a very exotic-looking invention on display, the fruit of an enormous technical effort: an entire book made entirely of silk. The spiritual father and creator of this visionary project was the Lyon silk manufacturer Joseph-Alphonse Henry (1836–1913). It is not known how much time was spent and how many fruitless attempts were made by Henry and his studio before they reached their goal, but one thing is certain: the production costs must have been astronomical, and were probably only justified by the extraordinary publicity promised by the Paris Exposition.

One page from the book.
Tissé sur soie d’après les enluminures
des manuscrits du XIVe au XVIe siècle.
Estimate: CHF 40 000 / 60 000

Tissé sur soie d’après les enluminures
des manuscrits du XIVe au XVIe siècle.
Estimate: CHF 40 000 / 60 000

This very first programmed textile book – a poem by Alphonse de Lamartine: Les Laboureurs – was produced on a Jacquard loom. Joseph-Marie Jacquard (1752–1834) developed his idea for a programmable loom as early as 1790. By experimenting with punched cards, he managed to automate the process to a large extent. By 1801, Jacquard had perfected his invention, and was able to produce endless complex patterns with the help of thousands of punched cards. By doing so, Jacquard had created a forerunner of modern computer programs.

The woven copies produced by Henry were not intended for sale. Only three examples from 1878 are known today: one in Paris’s Bibliothèque Nationale, another in the Musée des Tissus in Lyon, and the one offered here, the veritable prototype (“Exemplaire No. I”). The present copy is the only one that is numbered. Another example, more richly decorated, was later ordered by the Comte de Paris, Philippe d’Orléans, on the condition that no more copies would be produced; it is conserved in the Musée Louis Philippe, Château d’Eu. Nevertheless, at least one other copy was made, but with a modified title page sporting more lavish borders, a new address for the J. A. Henry workshop, and a woven date of 1883.

Accurate to one-tenth of a millimetre

In addition to the last copy of the original edition of Les Laboureurs in private hands, the auction on 24 September also features the second, improved woven book: a book of hours entitled Livre de Prières. Tissé d'après les Enluminures des Manuscrits du XIVe au XVIe Siècle (Lyon 1886/87), which was also made by Joseph-Alphonse Henry and is of outstanding quality; the attention to detail in this book is second to none. It took more than fifty attempts over more than two years to achieve success. The pages have elaborate borders. The text, which is very clearly printed, is enhanced with four miniatures, three of which are fullpage. The encoding of the silk pages likely required some 300,000 to 400,000 punched cards. For the precise weaving of 400 weft threads per square inch for typography and illustrations, machine movements of no more than a tenth of a millimetre were permitted. Since the pages could only be woven on one side, the front and back sides were woven separately, and the subsequent gluing process was very error-prone. Livre de Prières was presented at the 1889 Exposition Universelle in Paris.

No further experiments in this extraordinary technique are known. The fact that these two outstanding technological masterpieces can now be offered at auction is a stroke of luck for collectors, institutions and museums. Alongside this singular pair of books, two hand-written books on silk weaving from 1855 and 1880 will also be auctioned.

Working on the docks at night. 1856.
Oil on canvas.
47,7 × 69 cm.
Estimate: CHF 15 000 / 20 000

Immersed in light

Preview of the 19th Century Paintings Auction on 27 September 2019

Following the success of the first part of the renowned collection of Jef Rademakers auctioned at Koller in March, on 27 September 2019 the second part will be offered, with Dutch and Belgian works from the Romantic movement of the 19th century, including “Village by a river in moonlight” by Theodorus Jacobus Abels (1803–1866). With such nocturnal river landscapes, which became a characteristic feature of his late works, Abels emulated the great painters of the 17th century, such as his compatriot Aert van der Neer (1603–1677). Abels’s moonlight images can be found in the royal collections of the Netherlands and Belgium.

Naples – le Mont Saint-Elme et partie de la ville. 1828.
Oil on paper laid on panel.
20,6 × 40,4 cm.
Estimate: CHF 70 000 / 90 000

Village by a river in the moonlight.
Oil on panel.
74,3 × 95,7 cm.
Estimate: CHF 12 000 / 18 000

Abels’s contemporary Henri Adolphe Schaep (1826–1870) attained great fame as a marine painter, but he also created dramatic landscapes bathed in moonlight, like the present painting “Night work at the docks”. One of his most important sources of inspiration was the Scheldt River, plied by large schooners between Antwerp and its mouth at the North Sea.

Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot’s (1796–1875) light-flooded view of Naples and Mount Sant’Elmo in pastel tones will also be offered in the 27 September auction. The artist collected his first impressions of Italy from 1825 until 1828, during his travels to Naples as well as to Rome and the Campagna. This painting from 1828 is an early open-air work by the Parisian artist, who was one of the pioneers of Impressionism. With particular attention to the rendering of light and atmosphere, in his early work Corot laid the foundation of a new understanding of landscape painting. His early, en plein air oil sketches and paintings come alive through luminous colours and flowing brushstrokes, and they had an enormous effect on the following generation of artists. The often-exhibited landscape offered here once belonged to the influential Parisian art dealer and gallery owner Paul Durand-Ruel.

A glimpse into the private life of monks is offered by Eduard Grützner in his “Secret Study”, 1892, which depicts three clergymen studying in a monastery library. With an outstanding variety of details, this characteristic work is part of a group published under the title “Monks or priests reading and engaged in other leisure activities”. The artist – appointed in 1886 as Professor of the Munich Academy and raised to the nobility in 1916 – counts alongside Carl Spitzweg (1808–1885) and Franz von Defregger (1835–1921) as one of the most important Munich genre painters of the late nineteenth century.

Heimliche Studie (Secret study). 1892.
Oil on canvas.
79,5 × 60,5 cm.
Estimate: CHF 40 000 / 60 000

Louis XVI/Directoire, Paris, end of the 18th century
42 x 20 x 62 cm.
Estimate: CHF 30 000 / 50 000

Technical elegance

Preview of the Furniture, Sculpture, Silver and Porcelain Auction on 26 September 2019

Skeleton clocks combine two very different professions: the art of watchmaking, and product design. At the end of the 18th century, the Industrial Revolution was still in its infancy, but fascination with technology grew rapidly. Clocks such as the French skeleton clock offered at auction on 26 September were painstakingly produced by hand at that time, and had evolved from decorative accessories in elaborately designed cases, to technical masterpieces exhibited with pride. The makers took care to show the sophisticated mechanical interplay of the highly refined and precisely crafted movements. The dial was reduced from a large white enamel disc to a ring, thus allowing an unimpeded view of the interior movement. Most valuable skeleton clocks of this period, including the one offered here, are characterised by very precise movements. A special feature of these clocks made in Paris is a compensation pendulum, which can make up for differences in movement caused by variations in temperature.

Meissen, models by J. F. Eberlein.
Circa 1746 / 1763.
H 25 / 30 cm.
Estimate: CHF 40 000 / 60 000

Germany, Franconia ca. 1765.
Carved and polychrome painted wood.
H 58,5 cm.
Estimate: CHF 20 000 / 30 000

A pair of magnificent Rococo wall appliques from circa 1765 boasts an exciting provenance: the renowned Munich art dealer Karl Fischer-Böhler arranged the sale of six of these Franconian appliques to Lesley and Emma Shaefer, an American collecting couple, who in turn donated them to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, where they are exhibited today. Another pair from this same series, which Fischer-Böhler kept for himself, will now be offered at auction in Zurich. In the finesse of their polychrome carvings, but also in the uniqueness of their design, the two naturalistic appliques are reminiscent of the important seating and ornamental furniture from Schloss Seehof, formerly owned by the Prince-Bishop of Würzburg, Adam Friedrich von Seinsheim (1708–1779). Presumably, these wall appliques were also part of the interior, which today – also donated by the Shaefer Collection – belongs to the Met.

Early examples of porcelain wares with the crossed swords mark from the famous Meissen manufactory are among the most sought-after pieces on the historical porcelain market. The large allegories of the four continents of Europe, America, Asia and Africa from 1745 to 1763 offered here are based on models commissioned by the Russian Empress Elizabeth Petrovna in 1745. The designs were provided by the experienced porcelain modeller Johann Friedrich Eberlein (1695–1749). In 1741, Elizabeth I received extensive deliveries of Meissen porcelain from the Saxon Elector Frederick Augustus II, and in the following years she ordered further “white gold” from the “Electoral Saxon Porcelain Manufactory” – pieces which are today in the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg. Elizabeth’s father, Czar Peter the Great, and Frederick Augustus’s father, Augustus the Strong, were both devoted collectors of porcelain, and had already cultivated friendly relations between the two countries, including the exchange of diplomatic gifts such as porcelain figures.

Transition, Paris ca. 1765/70.
Signed S. OEBEN.
Purpleheart, satinwood and amaranth, inlaid as geometric reserves and fillets and marquetry.
Estimate: CHF 80 000 / 120 000

Milan, 20th century. Maker's mark Buccellati.
Designed as swans. With removable inserts, for bottles.
H 28,5 and 34 cm. Total weight 2960 g.
Estimate: CHF 4 000 / 8 000


01 The tradition-rich Bucellatti firm in Milan is celebrating its centenary in 2019. One of its prominent customers was the poet Gabriele D'Annunzio.

Glass vase with bouquet of flowers, may beetle, snail and other small insects.
Oil on panel.
33,8 × 24 cm.
Estimate: CHF 80 000 / 120 000

Christ on the cross, circa 1497/98.
39 x 27,5 cm. Framed.
Estimate: CHF 15 000 / 20 000

David Roberts. Egypt & Nubia.
From Drawings made on the spot by David Roberts, R.A. Two parts in three volumes.
London, F. G. Moon, 1846–1849.
Estimate: CHF 25 000 / 40 000

02 This bouquet of flowers by the German artist Binoit is typical of the early 17th century, with a dark background and rendered in an almost photorealist manner.

03 Dürer’s “Apocalypse”, comprising 16 motifs, is one of the highlights of printmaking and his depiction of the apocalyptic riders is one of the best-known woodcuts ever made.

04 David Roberts produced this encyclopaedic work depicting buildings and monuments during his journey along the Nile in 1838 and his stays in Cairo and Alexandria in 1839.

05 The IJ was Amsterdam’s direct link to the sea. In addition to winter scenes, Leickert’s trademark was a dramatic sky bathed in evening light.

06 De Noter's painting not only gives a glimpse of everyday life in the mid-19th century, it also enhances the genre scene with details that are themselves small still lifes.

The IJ with Amsterdam in the distance.
Oil on panel.
30 × 40,8 cm.
Estimate: CHF 25 000 / 35 000

Kitchen interior. 1845.
Oil on panel.
76,5 × 58 cm.
Estimate: CHF 20 000 / 30 000

Pair of works: Large exotic sea snail, with flowers and finch /
Large scallop with flowers and goldfinch. 1694.
Oil on canvas. Each 44,5 × 35 cm.
Estimate: CHF 60 000 / 100 000

07 The Swiss painter Bys was commissioned by Emperor Leopold I to paint for the House of Habsburg and Elector Lothar Franz von Schönborn. The inclusion of pendant works was popular in many private collections, as witnessed by this pair of still lifes.

Madonna and Child with Saints Peter, Paul, John the Baptist and Antonius Abbas.
Tempera and gold ground on panel.
46,4 × 33,4 cm.
Estimate: CHF 30 000 / 50 000

Brussels, ca. 1530/40.
Based on the models of a successor of Bernard van Orley.
350 × 430 cm.
Estimate: CHF 10 000 / 15 000

08 This small-format Marian painting from circa 1400 was probably made in Liguria or Tuscany and was originally used for private devotions.

09 This tapestry shows a scene from the Old Testament book of Tobit. Tobit’s son Tobias is accompanied on a journey by the archangel Raphael, who helps him to allow his blind father to see again by using fish gall.

10 This master, whose identity is unknown but whose works are documented in northern Italy, was influenced by the style of the important Florentine painter Domenico Ghirlandaio. This representation of the Madonna stands out through its strict composition as well as its sublime execution.

11 Huysum was praised in his time as the “phoenix of flower and fruit painters” because the delicacy and precision of his paintings was unequalled.

12 The Roman aristocracy valued Piancastelli, who came from a humble background, both as a portrait painter and as an artistic advisor.

Madonna and Child surrounded by archangels. Circa 1500.
Tempera on panel.
67 × 44,5 cm.
Estimate: CHF 40 000 / 60 000

Vase of flowers in a niche. Circa 1725-28.
Brown pen, black chalk, grey and brown wash on slightly brown paper.
24,2 x 18,5 cm. Framed.
Estimate: CHF 15 000 / 20 000

Pair of works: Emigrazione dell' Agro Romano - Partendo und Tornando.
Oil on panel.
59,7 × 99,8 cm / 59,1 × 99,9 cm.
Estimate: CHF 180 000 / 250 000

China, 17th/18th century
Height 24 cm, widht 59 cm, weight 22,3 kg.
Parcel-gilt bronze.
Sold for CHF 4,8 Mio

4.8 million for an incense burner

Top results for Asian art

Koller’s Asian Art specialists made an important discovery when they visited a client’s home last autumn: they were offered a large bowl which had been owned by the family for generations, and was now being used as a container for tennis balls and other items. The owners obviously didn’t realize that the misappropriated vessel was an important Chinese imperial censer, made around 1700 in parcel-gilt bronze. This rare find was auctioned at Koller’s Asian Art sale in June, where it fetched the record price of 4.8 million Swiss francs.

Northeastern India, Pala, 8th/9th century.
Height 16,5 cm.
Silver and copper inlays.
Sold for CHF 1,17 Mio.

China, Ming dynasty, first half of 15th century.
Diameter 26 cm.
Golden double vajra on the back. Slightly damaged.
Sold for CHF 144 000

In May, the richly decorated incense burner was the star of the International Antiques Fair in Hong Kong, where Koller exhibited it along with other highlights in advance of the auction. Many of Asia’s most important collectors participated in the auction room in Zurich, or via telephone, creating an intense bidding competition; more than thirty interested parties submitted bids for this unique work. The lot was finally won by a collector from China who is setting up a private museum in Beijing. Interestingly, the censer could have ended up in an important museum of East Asian art as early as the 1960s, when the owners offered it for sale, but the museum politely refused to make an offer. Another attempt at sale in the 1970s did not come to fruition because a London auction house thought the object was likely a 19th-century copy and told the owners that the costs of shipping “would hardly be worth it”.

Phoenix and peonies

China is regarded as the ancient capital of bronze casting. The technique was developed early on there, and perfected over thousands of years. The price of CHF 4.8 million achieved for the incense burner is a record for such an object, for which there are no comparable pieces known in terms of size and quality. Its design is unique: the heads of two phoenixes, whose wings blend into peonies and embrace the vessel, serve as handles. The phoenix is considered the king of birds in China; the peony the queen of flowers. Its symbolic power permeates all branches of Chinese culture. One of the most famous opera pieces of the Ming period, written by Tang Xianzu, a contemporary of Shakespeare, bears the title “Peony Pavilion”. The phoenix is also a symbol of the Chinese empress, which is why it can be assumed that the basin – almost 60 centimetres in diameter and weighing 22 kilograms – was created for an imperial palace or temple. There is a Xuande six-character stamp at the base of the vessel. According to their original purpose, such vessels were filled with rice ashes, into which glowing incense sticks were placed. China has had an important tradition of ancestor veneration for thousands of years, which has always been accompanied by the burning of incense. At such ceremonies, ancestors and gods were honoured by burning incense sticks in temples or before household altars.

The record price for this censer is the culmination of a series of excellent results for important Asian works of art achieved at Koller in recent years. For example, a Tibetan bronze of the deity Panca Raksha was sold for CHF 3.24 million. An imperial room partition made of carved wood fetched CHF 940,000 in 2017. In the same year, Koller sold a bronze sculpture of Buddha Shakyamuni on a lion throne for CHF 1.17 million and an imperial Chinese bronze bell changed hands for CHF 1.2 million.

China, Qianlong mark and of the period.
Height 30 cm.
Sold for CHF 102 000

Les voies et moyens. 1948.
Gouache and gold on paper.
40,5 × 32,8 cm.
Sold for CHF 439 000


01 Magritte deliberately provoked le tout Paris in 1947/48 with a series of caricature-like portraits pervaded by biting criticism.

Mimet. 1962.
Oil on canvas.
46 × 33 cm.
Estimate: CHF 88 000

Schreitende. (figure stepping) Circa 1910.
Oil on canvas.
46,5 × 40 cm.
Sold for CHF 340 000

“Sélection Esther Woerdehoff ”, 1947–2007.
Portfolio with 15 original photographs.
Sheet dimension 28 x 35.5 cm to 40 x 50 cm (various portrait and landscape formats)
Sold for CHF 45 000

02 Dorazio translated phenomena of light and colour into energetic, shimmering compositions.

03 Hodler enjoyed great success throughout Europe in the years around 1900 with variations on symbolically charged full-length fi gures such as this woman (his model, Giulia Leonardi), moving as if in a dance. These female fi gures not only became the artist's trademark, but also icons of Swiss modern art.

04 For the agency’s 60th birthday, gallery owner Woerdehoff published a selection of world-famous Magnum photographs.

05 In Dietrich’s intense landscape paintings, expressiveness and colour combine to create drama, and sometimes also “operatic exaltation”.

06 Sisley does not describe the drama of nature, but reveals the unique amongst the seemingly ordinary.

Evening at the lake with red clouds. 1915.
Oil on board.
28 × 38,5 cm.
Sold for CHF 183 000

Autour de la forêt, juin. Circa 1885.
Oil on canvas.
54 x 72,7 cm.
Sold for CHF 800 000

Red with Green Ellipse / Black frame. 1988/89.
Acrylic and pencil on canvas (diptych).
140 x 210 cm.
Sold for CHF 315 000

07 In Mangold’s voluminous double pictures, colour and material move into space, and this expansion of the picture into the three-dimensional creates a relationship of its own with the viewer. In his works, the artist addresses the dialogue between uncertainty and conviction, between intuition and analysis.

La passoire. 1947.
Oil on wove paper on canvas.
46 x 55 cm.
Sold for CHF 207 000

Ann Windfohr. 1960.
Oil on canvas.
91 x 70 cm.
Sold for CHF 146 000

08 Fautrier’s art informel paintings are characterised by the pasty application of paint and concentration on an isolated, non-objective motif.

09 Kokoschka’s skill as a portraitist was in demand; here he painted the American art collector Ann Windfohr.

10 This portrait of a skier in the mountains above Maloja was one of the last paintings Giacometti made for his client Anna von Planta.

11 Countless artists, including Moret, were fascinated by the unique landscape of the Breton cliffs. In his paintings he combines the Synthetism of the Pont-Aven school with Impressionism.

12 Bugatti’s bronzes – predominantly depictions of animals and figures such as this nude – mark the transition from Art Nouveau to Art Deco.

Skier. 1899.
Oil on canvas.
65,5 × 102 cm.
Sold for CHF 488 000

Falaises, côte de Bretagne. 1910.
Oil on canvas.
64 x 79 cm.
Sold for CHF 110 000

"Le Réveil", circa 1907.
Bronze with brown patina.
H: 34.5 cm.
Sold for CHF 195 000

Pop Shop I-IV. 1988.
Lot of 4 colour screenprints.. 183/200.
Varying image sizes on wove paper 30.5 x 38 cm.
Sold for CHF 56 000

13 This series of four colour silkscreen prints was created during the years when Haring ran his Pop Shop in New York, selling originals and prints of his own works. The style of his figure paintings, which he also often painted on the walls of buildings and on billboards, is unmistakable.

The fruit harvest. 1912.
Oil on canvas.
103 × 115 cm.
Sold for CHF 775 000

Cloud II. 1984.
Painted wood.
84 x 115 x 6,5 cm.
Sold for CHF 73 000

14 Amiet’s apple paintings were a recurring theme throughout his artistic career. Many studies and variations of this subject coalesced over the course of a few years, until about 1915, into a veritable group of works including this large-format painting. In this version of the fruit harvest the artist is at the cusp of the main artistic currents of that period: the Expressionism of the Fauves, die Brücke and Cubism. This work comes from the collection of Eugen Loeb, with whom Amiet was friends until his death.

15 With their genuine pictorial inventions, the generation of artists that included Louise Nevelson contributed to the emancipation of contemporary American art from European influences.

Dominique. 1988.
Woodcut in colour. 7/18.
103 x 115 cm.
Sold for CHF 168 000

Swiss Printmakers

Results for Swiss prints

The protagonists of Swiss printmaking have left their mark on art history in many fascinating ways, especially within the last 150 years. The tradition ranges from woodcuts and etchings by Félix Vallotton to lithographs by Alberto Giacometti, linocuts by Lill Tschudi and woodcuts by Franz Gertsch. Their works reveal an endless variety of expressive possibilities in printmaking. Particularly fascinating are the different results that can be achieved while using the same techniques: although Vallotton and Gertsch both made woodcuts, their pictorial worlds could not differ more.

Guards. 1936.
Linocut in red.
Image 16 x 20.2 cm on thin Japan laid paper 22.5 x 28 cm.
Sold for CHF 2 500

Félix Vallotton (1865–1925) used powerful, flat black-andwhite contrasts in his individual prints and series to create his signet-like motifs. With only a few perfectly placed cuts in the wooden block he succeeded in creating timeless images. It is also interesting to note the stark contrast between the artist’s woodcuts and his drawings and paintings. This is not the case with Alberto Giacometti (1901–1966), whose lithographs and etchings are closely related to his drawings and paintings. Giacometti's drawings on litho stone did not differ in motif or style from his unique works on paper and canvas. His characteristic oeuvre is dominated by portraits, landscapes and interior views of his studio. In the book Paris sans fin, published in 1969, the 150 illustrations by Giacometti demonstrate his consummate skill as a lithographer. Published in a small edition, it was a milestone in 20th-century printmaking art.

Lill Tschudi (1911–2004), who studied at the innovative and influential Grosvenor School of Modern Art in London in the late 1920s, caused a sensation with her striking linocuts. Pablo Picasso was one of the principal artists to establish this technique in modern art. Claude Flight introduced the Glarus-born Tschudi to the linocut technique, while companions such as André Lhote, Gino Severini, and Fernand Léger broadened her artistic horizons. In contrast to most of her contemporaries, Tschudi worked exclusively in linocut. Her subjects of the interwar years in particular reflect the Zeitgeist impressively: her motifs are characterized by technical progress, intensity and speed, but also by anonymity and the looming crisis of the late “Roaring Twenties”.

Among contemporary Swiss artists, Franz Gertsch (*1930) is closely associated with the Swiss printmaking tradition. Monumental woodcuts play a central role in his work. From 1986 to 1994, Gertsch devoted himself exclusively to working in woodcut and in doing so advanced to completely independent forms of expression. With his own Japan paper, Gertsch attained the limits of what is possible in woodblock printing and opened up a new dimension for this classical medium. His prints are dominated by monochrome, format-filling portraits of women from his circle and fascinating details from landscapes, to which the artist has a special connection. Gertsch imbues his works with incomparable plasticity and dynamism with the simplest of means but with masterly execution.unprecedented precision, not least in the production of

Les Trois Baigneuses. 1894.
Woodcut. 85/100.
30.5 × 20 cm.
Sold for CHF 9 500

Self-portrait. 1963.
Lithograph. 64/75.
65.4 × 50.5 cm
Sold for CHF 10 000

Founder and grand seigneur

Pierre Koller dies at the age of 94

Anyone who entered the Galerie Koller on Zurich’s Rämistrasse next to the legendary “Kronenhalle” restaurant in the 1960s–80s was received by the owner as if he or she were a regular customer. Those who were, always felt welcome there – and those who weren’t did too. For Pierre Koller barely differentiated between new customers and long-time art collectors when, stretching out his arms, he rushed towards them with a “Bonjour, Monsieur”, or a “Guten Tag, Madame”. His charm was as legendary as his wit, which he employed to keep saleroom bidders in the best of spirits during long auction sessions.

Pierre Koller was a grand seigneur in the old style, an art lover with a French penchant for the grandiose, and above all an excellent salesman. A lawyer by training, he opened a picture gallery on Zurich’s Dufourstrasse in 1958, specialising in equestrian prints – the 34-year-old was fascinated by horse-related art, and he decided to turn his hobby into his profession. The following year he was joined by his sister Antoinette, who had an eye for ceramics, silver and Asian art, and it didn’t take long before the Kollers expanded the range of the gallery.

nternationally, Pierre Koller became known for his expertise in quality antique furniture and objets d’art, especially of French origin. He held his first auction in 1960 at the Kongresshaus in Zurich, when several important collections were consigned to him, including a group of clocks from a private Augsburg collector. In 1961, the company moved to the Rämistrasse where it established an impressive five-story auction house. Soon Koller was holding regular auctions of valuable art objects and entire collections from all categories at the Rämistrasse. In 1991, Galerie Koller moved its headquarters from the Rämistrasse to the Hardturmstrasse in Zurich West, at a time when nobody had any idea that the neighbourhood would become a mecca for art galleries.

A highlight in Pierre Koller’s life as an auctioneer was the 1995 auction of an epochal private collection of Napoleonica, in which Koller specialised. In 1973, a portrait of Dora Maar by Pablo Picasso realised the first hammer price of over one million Swiss francs at Koller Auctions. One of the last of Pierre Koller’s countless successes on the rostrum was a bureau plat by the famous cabinetmaker André-Charles Boulle, which he sold to a private London collector for 3 million Swiss francs in September 2014, a few days after his 90th birthday.

Pierre Koller’s art gallery and auction house quickly grew into a small empire. In 1975, a branch was opened in Lucens Castle in French-speaking Switzerland, which was moved in 1980 to the Rue de l’Athénée, Geneva. “Koller Tiefenbrunnen” was introduced in 1977 as an outlet for medium- and low-priced works of art, a market segment later served by “Koller West” on the Hardturmstrasse. In 2004, Pierre Koller handed over the management of the family business to his eldest son Cyril.

Pierre Koller was a pacesetter for the Swiss art trade. He taught the ropes of the art business to a great many people who later became some of the most famous gallery owners and auctioneers in Zurich. The founder of today’s largest Swiss auction house died on 23 June at the age of 94.

This obituary by Philipp Meier appeared in the Neue Zürcher Zeitung on 26 June 2019.

KOLLERview is published four times a year,

the next issue will follow in June 2019.

Read as PDF

Ladies and gentlemen, Dear clients and friends,

Ferdinand Hodler’s elegiac female figures are one of the artist’s hallmarks, and have become icons of Swiss modern art. Through Hodler’s constant re-examination of the motif, they eventually became representations of fate. With these works, the artist suggests emotions and at the same time pays homage to infinity and beauty. Illustrated on the cover of this issue, “Die Schreitende” (“The pacing woman”, which shows Hodler’s model Giulia Leonardi) was painted around 1912, at the zenith of his artistic career. It will be offered in our 28 June auction of Swiss Art, which features a comprehensive overview of 19th- and early 20th-century Swiss painting, including practically all of the great names from this period.

Also of special note is Giovanni Giacometti’s four-part panorama of the Swiss Engadine from Muottas Muragl over the snow-capped peaks and green mountain valleys of the Engadine – as far as the eye can see.

Like Hodler and Giacometti, their contemporary Cuno Amiet was popular with private art collectors. The Swiss department store entrepreneur and friend of Amiet, Eugen Loeb, acquired numerous examples of his work, including the expressive “Apple Harvest in Blue and Red”, another highlight of the Swiss Art auction on 28 June.

Also on 28 June, we will offer an auction of works by Impressionist and Modern artists, featuring a wonderful landscape by the great Impressionist Alfred Sisley. Swiss and international art from the last 70 years will be auctioned on 29 June in our Postwar & Contemporary sale. Featured works demonstrate how American avant-garde artists developed styles independent of European roots and influences during the post-war decades. Works by Hans Hofmann, Alfred Julio Jensen and Theodoros Stamos, as well as Robert Mangold and Andy Warhol, represent various lines of development, from Abstract Expressionism through Minimalism to Pop Art.

All of the works in our main June auctions will be on view in our exhibition rooms in Zurich from 20 to 25 June. In addition to international and Swiss art from the last 200 years, jewellery and wristwatches, modern design, vintage fashion and photography will all be on display.

As you may know, since 2018 we have been offering low to mid-price decorative artworks and objects online in our Koller ibid online only sales. The items currently in our online auctions will also be on display during the June previews.

I hope you enjoy reading this issue, and look forward to greeting you at our previews in Zurich. Our specialists are always available to advise you on the purchase and sale of works of art.

With warm regards

Cyril Koller

Evening at the lake with red clouds. 1915.
Oil on board.
28 x 38,5 cm.
Estimate: CHF 150 000 / 200 000

Dietrich was one of the most important Swiss artists of the early 20th century in terms of formal balance and fascinating colouring. This is the first of a long series of sunset paintings by Dietrich which began in 1915. Pastel studies from nature served as a basis for studio-painted oils on canvas. Here the artist shows himself to be completely independent and unaffected by external influences.

Temple of Numbers at Paestum. 1961.
Oil on canvas.
186,5 x 136,5 cm.
Estimate: CHF 250 000 / 350 000

American Avant-garde after 1945

Preview of the PostWar & Contemporary Auction on 29 June 2019

Following his emigration, the German-American Hans Hofmann (1880–1966), ostracized by the National Socialists as “degenerate”, was an influential teacher of the New York School and a driving force for the first generation of Abstract Expressionists. His gouache “The tree” (08) is invigorated by the intense colour tones that characterise his late work. The US art critic Clement Greenberg noted: “Hofmann treats the picture surface not as a passive object, but as an object that reacts receptively”.

Red with Green Ellipse / Black frame. 1988/89.
Acrylic and pencil on canvas (diptych).
140 x 210 cm.
Estimate: CHF 180 000 / 240 000

Hovering Yellow Sun Box. 1967.
Acrylic on canvas.
143 x 132 cm.
Estimate: CHF 40 000 / 60 000

Emancipation from Europe

Hofmann influenced an entire generation of artists who, increasingly detached from European trends and with new references to indigenous and so-called “primitive” art, went their own way. Among them were Theodoros Stamos (1922–1997), one of the leading first-generation Abstract Expressionists, and Hofmann pupils such as Alfred Jensen (1859–1953) and Louise Nevelson (1899–1988), who created genuine forms of expression that contributed to the emancipation of new contemporary art in the USA. They were followed by artists such as Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg, who became the links to Pop Art. Geometric forms on a monochrome ground compose Stamos’s “Hovering Yellow Sun-Box” (03), one of a series of Sun-Box paintings he began in the early 1960s. Alfred Jensen created his monumental “Temple of Numbers at Paestum” (01) in 1961, when the Guggenheim Museum in New York dedicat­ed an important solo exhibition to him. The artist, of German-Danish descent, became well known for his geometric-abstract paintings in thick impasto, which, starting in the late 1950s, were based mainly on colour spectra and mathematical number systems.

Eine ebenfalls höchst individuelle Spur legt der Minimalist Robert Mangold (geb. 1937). Sein Diptychon «Red with Green Ellipse/Black Frame» von 1988/89 (02) hat tektonischen Charakter. In ihm rücken Farbe und Material in den Raum und es entsteht über diese Ausdehnung des Bildes ins Dreidimensionale eine eigene Beziehung zum Betrachter. Die markante Diptychon-Kombination von Ellipse und schwarzem Rahmen taucht um 1990 in einer Werkgruppe auf, zu der Mangold konstatierte: «Ich wollte, dass diese fast gegensätzlichen Strukturen, die an einer Kante oder sogar nur an einem Punkt verbunden sind, ein einziges Werk ergeben. Es war dieser Kampf zwischen Trennung und Einheit, der mich interessierte.» Obwohl Mangolds abstraktes Werk Vielen als Inbegriff des Reduktionismus und Minimalismus gilt, erweist es sich in seinen Quellen und Ambitionen als komplexer. Der Künstler stützt sich vor allem auf den Dialog zwischen Unsicherheit und Überzeugung, zwischen Intuition und Analyse.

04 Polke, trained as a glassmaker (he created the new glass and agate windows in the Zurich Grossmünster church, 2006–2009), founded the “Capitalist Realism” movement with Gerhard Richter and Konrad Lueg in 1963. Many of his works are ironic reactions to the established art scene.

05 Gertsch’s monumental woodcuts are not only outstanding in their craftsmanship, but also as astonishing testimonies to his intensive, even meditative preoccupation with nature and its secrets.

Untitlet. 1999.
Watercolour and gouache on wove paper.
70,2 x 99,7 cm.
Estimate: CHF 60 000 / 80 000

Gräser I. 2000.
Woodcut in colours.
Estimate: CHF 40 000 / 50 000

La passoire. 1947.
Oil on wove paper on canvas
46 x 55 cm.
Estimate: CHF 100 000 / 200 000

06 Fautrier’s paintings draw their vitality from the impasto application of paint and the concentration on an isolated motif. The Frenchman is regarded as the most important representative of his country in the non-geometric art informal.

07 The work of the Canadian action painter Riopelle is closely related to the works of the Parisian automatistes and tachistes.

08 The German-American Hans Hofmann, in his role as teacher of the New York school, provided the American Abstract Expressionists with a driving force. Colourintensive gouaches like this one characterise his late work.

Untitled. 1958.
Oil on wove paper on canvas.
79,5 x 59 cm.
Estimate: CHF 50 000 / 70 000

The Tree. 1944.
Oil and gouache on wove paper (double sided).
73,5 x 58,5 cm.
Estimate: CHF 35 000 / 45 000

09 Produced in a small edition, this plate shows Picasso’s ability to create works of art with the simplest of means.

10 The first “Balloon Dogs” were issued by Koons as part of his “Celebration” series in 1993. These playful sculptures – here in a limited edition of porcelain – are now among the most well-known works of contemporary art.

11 Dorazio, trained as an architect, brought abstraction to Italy with his non-objective pictorial language and chromatic structures.

Tête au masque. 1956.
Plate. Ceramic with relief.
Estimate: CHF 5 000 / 7 000

Animals II. 2019.
3 Multiples. Porcelain.
Estimate: CHF 25 000 / 30 000

Mimet. 1962.
Oil on canvas.
46 x 33 cm.
Estimate: CHF 30 000 / 40 000

Quadrate in Bewegung. 1958.
Oil on masonite.
70 x 100 cm.
Estimate: CHF 60 000 / 80 000

12 During his time as a Bauhaus teacher, Itten set up a whole theory of colour types, centred on the relationship between colour and form and between colours themselves. Abstractions such as these squares shaped his work through the post-war period.

Untitled. 1999.
Ink, watercolour and goauche on wove paper.
70,2 x 100 cm.
Estimate: CHF 80 000 / 140 000

Apple. 1985.
Colour screenprint. 165/190.
Sheet size 96,5 x 96,5 cm
Estimate: CHF 50 000 / 70 000

13 For decades, Polke was engaged in watercolour and gouache painting, alternating between abstraction and figuration in a multifaceted and metaphorically charged manner.

14 In 1985, Warhol created a series of ten “advertising” motifs in which famous brand logos – such as Apple’s here – were employed as symbols of mass consumption.

Femme endormie. 1945.
Oil on panel.
24 x 33 cm.
Estimate: CHF 80 000 / 120 000

Magritte’s Parisian Provocation

Preview of the Impressionist and Modern Art Auction on 28 June 2019

René Magritte was very angry. The Belgian, who for years had attempted to curry the favour of his fellow artists and the art-going public in Paris, was repeatedly given the cold shoulder. In 1931, he turned his back on the city, the veritable capital of Surrealism. Then, in 1948, he had a unique opportunity to take his revenge. During just five weeks around the turn of the year 1947/48, Magritte created seventeen oil paintings and twenty gouaches for an exhibition at the Galerie du Faubourg in Paris. These works were painted in a fast and somewhat aggressive style that was new to Magritte, inspired by popular sources such as caricatures and comics, along with stylistic borrowings from artists such as James Ensor and Edouard Manet, Henri Matisse and Joan Miró. The shrill, expressive, rebelliously grotesque images added a new facet to Magritte’s oeuvre.

Paysage de Corbières. Circa 1949.
Oil on panel.
33 x 23,8 cm.
Estimate: CHF 100 000 / 150 000

Ann Windfohr. 1960.
Oil on canvas.
91 x 70 cm.
Estimate: CHF 60 000 / 80 000

Biting mockery

The paintings from this brief “Période vache” – to which “Les voies et moyens” (ill. 4) offered in our 28 June auction belongs – contain a visual vocabulary unusual for Magritte, who adopted the Fauvists’ exaggerated colouring to create pictures infused with biting mockery. With this unexpectedly crude style, he ran counter to his own work, and also to modernist painting. The term “Période vache”, which Magritte himself gave to this short but intense creative phase, was ironically intended to allude to the art of the Fauvists, who were pejoratively labelled as “wild animals” because of their intense palette and expressive manner of painting. In French, the word “vache” not only means “cow”, but also “mean” or “unpleasant”, and “vacherie” signifies a nasty trick.

Magritte clearly intended the exhibition as a provocation to the Parisian public. Through more or less subtle allusions, he poked fun at them for their “narrow-minded self-image as a bastion of high culture” and at the same time mocked his French artist colleagues. “They are works of sparkling freedom, in which the most foolhardy thoughts, the individual style, and the illumination make a frightened noise, where flagrancy mixes with esprit, outrage with amazement, violence with tenderness, wisdom with whimsy” (Louis Scutenaire).

Not surprisingly, the gallery did not sell a single work from the show. Nonetheless, Magritte achieved his goal: the Parisians were horrified by the nearly forty works, and the press lambasted the exhibition. All the pictures from the “Période vache” then disappeared from the public eye for decades, before they were re-evaluated as a modern art-critical manifesto and were again shown in solo exhibitions beginning in the 1980s, most recently in 2009 at the Kunsthalle Schirn in Frankfurt.

Les voies et moyens. 1948.
Gouache and gold on paper.
40,5 x 32,8 cm.
Estimate: CHF 250 000 / 400 000

Autour de la forêt, juin. Circa 1885.
Oil on canvas.
54 x 72,7 cm.
Estimate: CHF 700 000 / 1 000 000

En plein air with Alfred Sisley

Preview of the Impressionist & Modern Art Auction on 28 June 2019

Many of Alfred Sisley’s landscape paintings, such as “Autour de la Forêt, Juin” (ill. 1) offered on 28 June, are deeply calm. Instead of describing the drama of nature and the elements, the artist gently takes viewers by the hand, in order to show us something special in the seemingly ordinary.

Les Brisants. 1898.
Oil on canvas.
51 x 65 cm.
Estimate: CHF 50 000 / 70 000

Falaises, côte de Bretagne. 1910.
Oil on canvas.
64 x 79 cm.
Estimate: CHF 60 000 / 80 000

Like most of Sisley’s paintings from this period circa 1885, “Autour de la Forêt” was certainly created in the open air. With the availability of oil paints in portable tubes, artists were liberated from their Paris studios to paint the picturesque landscapes of nearby Île-de-France outdoors. For Sisley, this meant above all, the representation of the sky: “I always start a picture with the sky”, he wrote. In addition to the light palette, the different treatment of the various parts of the picture is typical of Sisley’s style of those years. While he delicately glazes the summer cloud formations, he renders the plants, paths and meadows with skilfully placed impasto brushstrokes. Thus trees, fields and the tall haystack in the foreground appear more intense and lively. Sisley captures the ephemeral, the atmospheric, and the insubstantial as an “Impressionist” who never denied his enthusiasm for Turner and Constable.

Far away from the Zeitgeist

From the early 1870s, Sisley established himself among the painters Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Claude Monet, Paul Cézanne, Edgar Degas and Berthe Morisot, who were later disparagingly referred to as “Impressionists” or “Intransigeants”. Born in Paris in 1839 to English parents, Sisley was one of the founding members of the Société anonyme des artistes, peintres, sculpteurs, graveurs, whose works had previously been rejected by the conservative Paris Salon. He showed two landscapes in the first Impressionist exhibition, held in the studio of the photographer Nadar in the spring of 1874. In the 1882 catalogue of the group show there were no fewer than twenty-seven of his paintings. In the following years, Sisley withdrew more and more from society. The fact that his close friends Renoir and Monet remained at his side until his early death in 1899 must have been a comfort to him, but relatively few of his other contemporaries, with the exception of his fellow artist Camille Pissarro and the energetic art dealer/gallery owner Paul Durand-Ruel, recognized Sisley’s rank among the painters of light. He did not receive the level of attention accorded the other Impressionists until recently, with exhibitions at the Von der Heydt Museum in Wuppertal, Germany, the Bruce Museum in Greenwich, CT and the Hôtel de Caumont in Aix-en-Provence.

Nach dem Bade (After the bath). Before 1912.
Oil on canvas.
80 x 90 cm.
Estimate: CHF 30 000 / 50 000

Panorama von Muottas Muragl. 1898.
Oil on canvas.
Total: 67 x 510 cm
Estimate: CHF 2 800 000 / 4 000 000

As far as the eye can see: Giovanni Giacometti’s Engadine

Preview of the Swiss Art Auction on 28 June 2019

Early one October morning in 1897, the painters Giovanni Segantini and Giovanni Giacometti, accompanied by a photographer, set off on foot for Muottas Muragl, a 2453-metre high mountain southeast of Samedan in the Swiss Engadine. The ridge, which ten years later could easily be reached by funicular – the first of its kind in the Engadine – offers a breathtaking view over the Upper Engadine and the Engadine Lake District. The reason for their excursion was to make preparatory sketches for a gigantic circular painting to be presented at the Paris Exposition of 1900. Segantini had conceived a Gesamtkunstwerk in a circular building that would not only evoke the beauty of the Engadine through painting, but also with physical objects such as trees and alpine roses, waterfalls and bridges. The experience would be further enhanced with wind machines, as well as light and sound effects. Giovanni Giacometti, for whom Segantini (his elder by ten years) was a mentor, had enthusiastically promised his cooperation, and Cuno Amiet and Ferdinand Hodler were also invited to participate. However the project, sponsored by local tourism organisations, was abandoned for financial reasons. Segantini eventually showed the triptych “La Vita – La Natura – La Morte” (Life – Nature – Death) as a smaller project in Paris, with “La Natura” reproducing the view from Segantini’s cabin, slightly above Muottas Muragl.

Skier. 1899.
Oil on canvas.
65,5 x 102 cm.
Estimate: CHF 50 000 / 70 000

Eagle with the landscape of Engadine. 1898.
Oil on canvas laid on panel
44,5 x 82 cm (semicircle).
Estimate: CHF 60 000 / 80 000

Four motifs for the centrepiece

Giovanni Giacometti was able to use his studies made on Muottas Muragl for another commission: in October 1897, Anna von Planta commissioned paintings from him for her chalet in St Moritz-Bad. Of the ten paintings Giacometti subsequently completed, the four-part panorama of Muottas Muragl (ill. 1), to be offered on 28 June, was the centrepiece of the dining room. The first panel shows the view of the Roseg valley to the south of Muottas Muragl. Between Piz Chalchan on the left and Piz Surlej on the right, the snow-capped Sella group rises with the (then still striking) glacier tongues of the Sella and Roseg glaciers. Giacometti painted the view using the Divisionist technique he had learned from his teacher, Segantini. This is particularly evident in the forest areas, whose rich green is interspersed with complementary red. The rock formations, which are not composed of dull grey but of a rich palette of yellow, green, blue and pink, show the artist to be a master of colour.

In the second panel, a shepherd with a herd looks down on Lake St Moritz with St Moritz and St Moritz-Bad. The 3380-metre high Julier massif rises above it, and to the right the Piz Bever, somewhat bulkier than in reality. In other respects as well, the painter took a number of artistic liberties with the topography in this panel. For example, Lake St Moritz is perceived from Muottas Muragl diagonally rather than horizontally. The deviations from reality may be partly explained by the fact that Giovanni Giacometti executed the paintings in the winter of 1897/98 in Oschwand with his friend Cuno Amiet, and not on-site. Although he asked Giovanni Segantini for the photographs taken on Muottas Muragl at the end of 1897, he was apparently not interested in the slavish reproduction of reality, for he wrote in a letter: “I chose the view of Muottas Muragl as the motif for the composition, at least as far as the mountain range and the woods are concerned”. Commenting on a study, Anna von Planta even suspected that Giacometti placed the foreground approximately at the Hahnensee (Lej dals Chöds) below the Piz Surlej, so that the two villages would be Silvaplana and Champfèr.

The foreground of the third panel is dominated by a shepherd surrounded by his sheep. The view now turns to the west, where Piz Saluver appears at the left edge and Piz Ot to its right, marking the highest point of this area at 3246 metres.

The last panel completes the panorama with the view into the Val Bever. Here the horizon is marked on the left by Piz Üertsch, in the centre by Crasta Mora, and on the right by Piz Blaisun and the towering massif of Piz Kesch. What is striking is the absence of a distant view of Silvaplanersee, Silsersee and the Bergeller mountains – a segment that would actually be expected between the first and second panels. The reasons for this are unknown. In the correspondence with Anna von Planta there is explicit mention of four panels. However, a privately-owned study suggests that Giacometti had initially planned to show the lakes. The break in the continuum of space, however, is hardly noticed by the viewer and in no way diminishes the overall pictorial impression. Giacometti succeeds in this by a creating a unified panorama of the terrain in the foreground, through the horizontal strips of the lakes, as well as by the symmetrical positioning of the sheep in relation to the shepherd in the centre of the composition.

In dialogue with the client

The letters Anna von Planta wrote to Giacometti reflect her great interest in the progress of the works. It seems that the painter took his client’s criticism of the sketches partly into account in the execution of the pictures. Von Planta wrote: “The background of high mountain peaks is very pretty, but the mountain peaks might have calmer forms & less jagged & craggy, more in keeping with the character of our Engadine mountains. With regard to the detail of the foreground, I wouldn’t like to see too many alpine roses. One or two strong, flowering plants in the lower corner of the fourth field would probably suffice”. Anna von Planta also requested goats instead of sheep, but on this point Giacometti did not comply.

A few years after the panorama of Muottas Muragl, Giacometti created another monument to the beauty of the Grisons mountains with the panorama of Flims. The three-part composition was auctioned at Koller in 2016 and can now be admired at the Saner Foundation in Studen.

By Paul Müller, co-author of the catalogue raisonné of Giovanni Giacometti

Ruscello alpestre. Circa 1917.
Oil on canvas.
61,5 x 51 cm.
Estimate: CHF 150 000 / 250 000

The fruit harvest (produced in preparation for the Wassmer version). 1912.
Oil on canvas.
103 x 115 cm.
Estimate: CHF 600 000 / 800 000

Cuno Amiet from the Loeb Collection

Preview of the Swiss Art Auction on 28 June 2019

The artist Cuno Amiet (1868–1961) and the Swiss department store entrepreneur and art collector Eugen Loeb (1877–1959) formed a close friendship beginning in the 1930s. Loeb – who like his brother (and Loeb department store co-owner) Arthur, had assembled an important art collection including works by Vallotton, Barraud, Varlin and Gubler, as well as Monet, Pissarro and Renoir – bought dozens of paintings and drawings from the artist. Amiet appreciated Loeb’s expertise and his sure hand in selecting the works. “I never want to you to see anything by me that I didn’t think was quite good”, the artist wrote to the collector in October 1936.

Blue landscape. Circa 1910.
Watercolour on paper.
23,5 x 29,7 cm.
Estimate: CHF 10 000 / 15 000

The Loebs’ enthusiasm extended to important works from Amiet's very early years, acquired partly from the artist himself but probably also through the art trade, such as “The fruit harvest” and “Houses in the sun”.

“Liberation from Nature Painting”

Paintings of apples were a recurring theme throughout Amiet’s career. The motif of the apple or fruit harvest entered his pictorial world in 1907, and studies and numerous variations on the theme developed over the course of a few years – until about 1915 – into a distinctive group of works including the large-format oil on canvas entitled “The fruit harvest (Apple harvest in blue and red)” (ill. 1) to be offered on 28 June. The figure in the landscape exemplifies the artist’s iconographic references to paintings by Cézanne, Gauguin and Matisse. His choice of intense red – “the brightest and at the same time deepest colour that can express the idea of opulence”, as Amiet stated – is inspired by works by Emile Bernard.

Amiet’s palette alternates in his various creative phases: “Thus, as far as the colouring alone was concerned, one would have to speak of a remarkable ability to change”, the Basler Nachrichten stated in its obituary of the artist in 1961. “It could also be seen in earlier periods, for example in those monochrome representations of the apple harvest that, mostly tuned to red, rank among the boldest and most idiosyncratic creations of Amiet”. Already in 1912 Eberhard Grisebach saw in the monochrome motifs a great “progress, a liberation from nature painting” and a “transition to the creative decorative style.” Viola Radlach also noted that the simplified, contoured silhouettes recall the Cloisonnism or Synthetism of the school of Pont-Aven around Paul Gauguin.

The paintings from the Loeb Collection offered here display the intense creative process involved in Amiet’s “Fruit Harvest” works, culminating in three monumental versions. This motif, together with the few monochrome ones, stands out as an indepen­dent work from this series, because Amiet’s spontaneous expressive style in contrasting red/blue is most convincing here. He is at the height of the main artistic currents of the time: the expressionism of the Fauves, die Brücke and Cubism.

A further sixteen works by Amiet from the Loeb Collection will be offered on 28 June, including the small-format watercolour “Blue landscape” (ill. 2), painted in 1910, and two later landscapes, “Spring landscape with yellow flowering trees” (1938), and “Garden gate” (1931, ill. 3).

Gartent(h)or. 1931.
Oil on canvas.
85,5 x 65,5 cm.
Estimate: CHF 70 000 / 100 000


Wrist- & Pocket Watches | Jewellery & Jewels

Patek Philippe Chronograph with Perpetual Calendar, 1998.
Platinum 950. Ref. 3970 E.
Estimate: CHF 95 000 / 140 000

Patek Philippe, Jumbo Nautilus, ca. 1979.
Stainless steel. Ref. 3700/1.
Estimate: CHF 40 000 / 60 000

Rolex Daytona Oyster Perpetual, 2012.
Stainless Steel. Ref. 116520.
Estimate: CHF 12 000 / 18 000


Platinum and white gold.
Estimate: CHF 20 000 / 30 000

Pink gold and silver.
Estimate: CHF 180 000 / 280 00

White gold 750.
Estimate: CHF 150 000 / 200 000


Trompe-l'oeil: putti dancing.
Oil on board laid on panel.
26 x 33,5 cm.
Sold for CHF 44 000

Deceptively real / Really deceptive

Review of the Old Masters Auction on 29 March 2019

To deceive the eye is the explicit intention of trompe l’oeil painting. Such illusions were already well-developed in antiquity, as evidenced by wall paintings in Pompeii. Pliny the Elder recounted a famous competition between the painters Parrhasius and Zeuxis: although Zeuxis attracted birds with his false grapes, he was deceived by a curtain painted by Parrhasius, and he attempted to raise it.

The practise of trompe l’oeil painting was revived during the Renaissance. In addition to illusionist wall and ceiling paintings, it was considered good form in the painter’s guild to master hyper-realistic depictions, for example through so-called “quodlibet” paintings, which featured realistically rendered domestic items. One of the highlights of this fashion is Cornelius Gijsbrecht’s “Back of a Painting” from 1670.

François Ferrière’s “Dancing Putti” (ill. 1) represents a highly original variant of the illusionist painting popular in 17th-century Flanders and 18th-century France. The artist tries to deceive the observer with every means at his disposal. Not only is an illusionistic cast shadow intended to mislead the viewer into perceiving a three-dimensional object, but also its edges are irregularly chipped. At first glance, or perhaps even at second glance, the two-dimensional painting seems to be a fragment of a stone sculpture or a bas-relief plaster cast. The heads and bodies of the putti, which seem to protrude from the pictorial ground, appear amazingly three-dimensional. Ferrière succeeds in manipulating his audience in a masterly manner.

The rescue of Saint Paul after the shipwreck.
Oil on panel.
34,5 x 27,5 cm.
Sold for 72 500

From canvas to stained glass

Review of the Old Masters Auction on 29 March 2019

“The rescue of Saint Paul after the shipwreck” (ill. 2) is one of several detailed preliminary studies by Abraham van Diepenbeeck (1596–1675) for the ten stained-glass windows of the Dominican Church of St. Paul in Antwerp. The windows, which were executed circa 1638 and have since been lost, depicted scenes from the life of Saint Paul of Tarsus. Stained-glass windows by van Diepenbeeck, whose father was also a glass painter, have been preserved in the Loretto Chapel of the Carmelite Monastery and the City Hall in Antwerp. During his years in Antwerp from 1620 onwards, van Diepenbeeck worked closely with his Flemish colleague Peter Paul Rubens (1577–1640), whose stylistic influence can be seen in the preserved oil studies and drawings.

The painting depicts the story of Paul’s journey as a prisoner to Rome, recorded in the Acts of the Apostles by the Evangelist Luke. Paul, who was to be brought before the Roman imperial court in the year 59 or 60, sensed an imminent storm and predicted a shipwreck: “Men, I can see that our voyage will be filled with disaster and great loss, not only to ship and cargo, but to our own lives as well”. The storm did come and the ship ran aground on a sandbank, but Paul, along with the other “two hundred and seventy-six souls”, was rescued on the nearby north coast of the island of Malta, presumably in Salina Bay near the village of Burmarrad. Van Diepenbeeck’s painting captures the scene in which the powerless “apostle of nations” is rescued from the waves and carried to safe ground. In the collection of the Städel Museum in Frankfurt am Main there is a chalk drawing with wash and gouache by van Diepenbeeck showing the same motif in landscape format.

Vagabonds playing dice and a peasant couple, circa 1525-30.
Pen and black ink, partially with wash, on laid paper. Old backing on laid paper.
18,1 x 22 cm. Gerahmt.
Sold for CHF 120 500

With virtuoso pen work

Review of the Old Master Drawings Auction on 29 March 2019

An important Swiss art museum acquired this accomplished 16th-century German ink drawing of vagabonds playing dice at the 29 March auction (ill. 3). Such rural scenes were very much in vogue at the time of its execution: “Depictions of this theme enjoyed great popularity from about 1520 until after the middle of the century. Copper engravings and woodcuts contributed to its widespread use. Pictures of peasant drolleries and bustling church fairs were popular with Dürer’s successors among the Nuremberg minor masters, but were also in demand in the Swabian region” (Fritz Koreny).

The vagabonds’ roadside gambling quite obviously arouses displeasure in the farmers, as suggested by the man pointing at the dice and the couple’s grim facial expressions. The maypole in the background and the peasant’s decorated hat may refer to the couple’s destination.

This drawing was made during a period in which artists such as Martin Schongauer, Albrecht Dürer, Albrecht Altdorfer and others revolutionised the world of motifs and graphic techniques. Executed in pen and ink with wash, on a medium-sized sheet of laid paper, it captivates by the virtuoso pen work of its creator

The attribution to Hans Weiditz the Younger is based on comparisons with woodcuts by Weiditz, such as illustrations to Francesco Petrarch’s On the remedies of good and bad fortune (Augsburg, 1532), in which numerous similarities of motif and style can be identified. Particularly striking are the expressive faces which have been worked through to the last detail, and the garments rendered with the utmost care.

Little is known about the German draughtsman Hans Weiditz the Younger, born around 1500 in Strasbourg or Freiburg, who is sometimes called the Master of Petrarch. Too few of his works have been attribu­ted with certainty. He may have worked in Augsburg, Strasbourg, and finally Freiburg im Breisgau, where documents show his death in 1536. Among the works attributed to Weiditz is a series of botanical watercolours, created in 1529 and subsequently converted into woodcuts illustrating the three-volume edition of Herbarum vivae eicones (Strasbourg, 1530–1536) by Otto Brunfels. The watercolours were rediscovered in 1930 in the collection of the Botanical Institute in Bern.

1 DIAMOND RING, circa 1960.
Platinum 950.
Sold for CHF 137 300


1 The faceted diamond in this classic solitaire ring is distinguished by its extremely fine quality.

2 Adam Willaerts, who was born in London to a family originally from Antwerp, is considered one of the most important marine painters of the Golden Age. From the late 16th century on, he devoted himself to genre and marine painting in the north of the Netherlands.

River mouth with galley ships. 1620.
Oil on panel.
41,5 x 69,7 cm.
Sold for CHF 84 500

Yellow gold 750 and Platinum 900, 114g.
Sold for 28 100

3 The original and amusing frogs in this green-enamelled, highly decorative bracelet were a very successful crea­tion for New York jeweller David Webb (1925–1975).

4 This painting, probably executed for a private Florentine palazzo, was made by a pupil of Lorenzo di Credi, one of the most influential artists of the High Renaissance, who was trained by Leonardo da Vinci.

5 This ointment jar with a portrait of a woman comes from a famous group of maiolica apothecary jars. Some of these so-called albarelli bear the coats of arms of Orsini and Colonna, two of the most influential Roman families of the 15th and 16th centuries.

6 The motif employed by Arnold Böcklin in this 1889 painting refers to Peter Paul Rubens’s “Battle of the Amazons” (circa 1680). This dynamic, powerful composition can be interpreted as a rebellion of Christian morality against the alienated, oppressed masses of the Roman Empire – a clash of different cultures and thus a timeless phenomenon.

Madonna and Child with John the Baptist.
Oil on panel.
57,3 x 53,2 cm.
Sold for CHF 65 300

Castelli d'Abruzzo, workshop of Orazio Pompei (1507-1589).
Circa 1545-1555.
Sold for CHF 13 700

The battle on the bridge. 1889.
Oil on panel.
96 x 149,5 cm.
Sold for CHF 240 500

Merian Maria Sibylla.
Dissertatio de generatione et
metamorphosibus insectorum Surinamensium.
Sold for CHF 132 500

7 Maria Sibylla Merian, daughter of the topographical engraver Matthäus Merian the Elder, was enthusiastic about zoology from a young age. From 1699 to 1701 she trav­elled throughout the Dutch colony of Surinam and cap­tured its flora and fauna in a series of unique watercolours.

8 This painting by the Antwerp mannerist de Cock was recently rediscovered in a private collection. It shows Saint Anthony resisting the temptation of wine offered to him by a noble lady.

The Temptation of Saint Anthony.
Oil on panel.
27,7 x 37,2 cm.
Sold for CHF 168 500

9 Horae B.M.V.
Book of hours.
Latin manuscript on vellum.
Sold for CHF 78 500

9 Seven large miniatures in polychrome and gold with richly executed borders, seventeen splendid five-line initials as well as numerous two-line initials in polychrome and gold adorn this illuminated book of hours, which was probably made around 1480 for a Franciscan commission.

10 In the 18th century, hyper-realistic tableware such as this tureen adorned the tables of noble families. Strasbourg was one of the centres of faience production.

11 This atmospheric depiction of a nocturnal winter landscape with a “snack bar” comes from the collection of TV producer Jef Rademakers, comprised of masterpieces of Dutch and Belgian Romanticism.

12 Meissonier’s sculptural work – about 20 bronzes – was only discovered after his death. The wax original of this bronze statue of Napoleon is in the collection of the Musée d’Orsay.

Strasbourg, Paul Hannong period.
Circa 1745-1754.
Sold for CHF 32 300

Winter landscape by night with skaters and a "koek-en-zopie" 1849.
Oil on panel.
31 x 42,5 cm.
Sold for CHF 90 500

Bronze figure, "Napoléon à cheval" or "Le voyageur", circa 1900.
Bronze with dark patina.
L 59, H 48 cm.
Sold for CHF 180 500

Cloud II. 1984.
Painted wood.
84 x 115 x 6,5 cm.
Estimate: CHF 50 000 / 70 000

The Centre for Artistic Estates

In Zurich, a newly founded institution is dedicated to estates in the fields of art, music and literature

Collectors, artists, musicians and writers: they will all pass on their material and immaterial works and they will all have to deal with similar questions: Who should make the artistic and commercial decisions about the inherited works? What sort of strategy will keep the artistic estate relevant and interesting for future generations? How can the financial value of an artistic estate be estimated and how can the copyright peculiarities relating to immaterial works in an estate situation be dealt with? To ensure that these and other issues surrounding estates in the fields of art, music and literature receive more attention, the attorney Dr Florian Schmidt-Gabain and the literary scholar Prof. Dr Thomas Strässle founded the Zentrum für künstlerische Nachlässe (ZKN), or Centre for Artistic Estates.

Florian Schmidt-Gabain (l.) and Thomas Strässle (r.)
founded the Centre for Artistic Estates and manage
it as President and Vice President.

“The ZKN is a scientific centre that will organise conferences, seminars and lectures”, says Florian Schmidt-Gabain, a specialist in art and inheritance law, describing the activities of the newly founded institution based in Zurich. Thomas Strässle, who is also President of the Max Frisch Foundation, adds: “By focusing on the (visual) arts as well as on music and literature, the ZKN intends to enable a multidisciplinary perspective”. Both founders of the ZKN emphasise that, through their professional activities, they’ve observed a strong need for information and knowledge in the field of artistic estates. “To meet this need, we founded the ZKN”. In addition to future testators and heirs, the ZKN also addresses other persons and institutions associated with artistic estates, such as publishers, museums, galleries, restorers, archivists and lawyers.

The official opening of the ZKN will take place on 21 November 2019 with a conference in Zurich. In the Grand Lecture Hall of the Zurich Kunsthaus, topics will include the estate of the recently rediscovered Swedish pioneer of abstract painting, Hilma af Klint (1862–1944), as well as the estate of one of the best-known Swiss collectors, Emil G. Bührle. Attendees can register for the conference at www.zkn.ch.

Koller Auctions have extensive experience in the valuation and sale of collectors’ and other art estates. We therefore warmly welcome the creation of the ZKN and are pleased to support it as a sponsor.

KOLLERview is published four times a year,

the next issue will follow in June 2019.

Read as PDF

Dear Clients and Friends

We are delighted to look back on a successful auction year, in which we not only achieved excellent prices in many of the specialty areas we offered, but also a particularly impressive percentag e of works sold.

Kees van Dongen’s "Égyptienne" entered a German private collection in June for 1.75 million Swiss francs, after we presented this expressive portrait to a large audience at special previews in Geneva, Düsseldorf, Zurich and Paris. Emil Nolde’s "Doppelbild (Sie seltsames Licht)", painted in 1918, found a new home in an important Swiss collection after a bidding war that finally ended at CHF 1 million (see p. 11).

In March 2018, the bidding reached 538,000 Swiss francs for a 17th century Vanitas still life, the second highest price ever recorded at auction for a painting by Carstian Luyckx. In June, "Kiss", 1979, by John Chamberlain, realised an outstanding 530,000 Swiss francs. These results illustrate the wide range of fine items offered in our auctions, spanning many centuries. Among the thousands of works of art that passed through our hands in the last twelve months were exceptional works by Lehmbruck, Boudin, Spitzweg, Dufy, Kirchner, Dix, Marquet, Renoir, Vlaminck, Chagall, Miró, Klee, Vasarely, Tobey, Warhol, Cragg, Soulages, Gertsch, Picasso, Poliakoff, Lichtenstein and Haring, as well as a veritable “Who’s Who” of Swiss painting ranging from Anker and Zünd to Hodler, Vallotton, Dietrich, Amiet, Giacometti, Segantini and Itten, Lohse and Bill. These were joined by successful auctions of rare works of art from China, exquisite furniture by French ébénistes, collector’s silver, jewellery and rare wristwatches, Romanesque and Gothic sculptures, as well as old master prints and medieval book illumination. From 26 to 29 March 2019, to mark the start of the new auction year, we will present our next series of auctions, dedicated to works from the medieval period to the 19th century.

Auctions of Modern and Contemporary Art, Design, Art Deco and Art Nouveau, Fashion, Photography, Collector’s Watches, Jewellery and Swiss Art will follow in June. Mid-April is the deadline for consignments to these sales. Our specialists in Zurich or in one of our branch offices in Geneva, Milan, Düsseldorf or Munich are at your service should you like to inquire about consigning. Our estimates and offers with regard to our auctions are without obligation and free of charge. We will organise all shipping and customs formalities for you, as well as international marketing for the works of art entrusted to us.

We look forward to working for you and with your artworks!

Yours, Cyril Koller

1 Jan van Noordt.
The encounter of Pretiose and Don Juan
an amorous scene.
Oil on canvas. 131,5 x 172,5 cm.
Estimate: CHF 100 000 / 140 000

Artistic Elector, sensitive Don Juan

Preview of the Old Master Paintings auction on 29 March 2019

Lucas Cranach the Elder and the assistants in his well-organized workshop created six different portraits of his patron Duke Frederick the Wise (1463–1525), Elector of Saxony, friend of the arts and sciences. Cranach also served the Duke by cataloguing his important collection of 19,000 relics and recording them in woodcuts. The present portrait on beech wood (ill. 2) was probably painted in 1525, the year of Duke Frederick’s death. The last time it was shown publicly was in 1974, in the Basel Kunstmuseum.

2 Lucas Cranach the Elder.
Portrait of the Saxon Elector Frederick the Great.
1525. Oil on panel. 38,7 x 25,3 cm.
Estimate: CHF 90 000 / 120 000

3 Peter Binoit.
Bouquet of flowers in a brown engobe vase.
Öl on copper. 20,5 x 15,8 cm.
Estimate: CHF 80 000 / 120 000

The still-life painter Peter Binoit (1590/91–1632), who was active in Frankfurt-on-Main and in Hanau, reminds us of the transience of our existence with small, almost-hidden signs: in his opulent bouquet (ill. 3) there are not only fresh flowers but also wilting blooms. Benoit’s masterful composition and brushstrokes, as well as the superb colours, breathe life into the bouquet painted on copper.

Jan van Noordt (1623–1681), in his large-format "Encounter of Pretiose and Don Juan" (ill. 1), does not refer to historical models, but creates a completely new motif. Contrary to the cliché of the womanizer from literary models, Don Juan has soft and vulnerable features in this often-published painting.

Cover: Attributed to Hans Weiditz the Younger.
Diceplaying vagabonds and peasant couple, circa 1525–30.
Pen and ink in black, partially with wash, on laid paper,
mounted on old laid paper. 18.1 x 22 cm.
Estimate: CHF 35 000 / 55 000

4 Arnold Böcklin.
The battle on the bridge. 1889.
Oil on panel. 96 x 149,5 cm.
Estimate: CHF 250 000 / 350 000

Böcklin’s power and Rademakers’ eye

Preview of the 19th Century Paintings auction on 29 March 2019

The Swiss painter Arnold Böcklin (1827–1901) was inspired by Peter Paul Rubens for his monumental oil painting "Der Kampf auf der Brücke" (“The Battle on the Bridge”) (ill. 4). As in Rubens’s "Battle of the Amazons" (circa 1618), Böcklin situated the wild battle scene on a bridge, which allowed him to divide the picture into different zones. The struggle between a probably Germanic tribe and a supposedly Roman army fills almost the entire composition. He thus brings the viewer close to the brutal and raw events; the springing horses practically jump out of the frame. Böcklin’s portrayal can be interpreted as a rebellion of Christian morality against the alienated, oppressed masses of the Roman Empire.

5 Oswald Achenbach.
Merry company in the campagna of Naples with a view of Vesuvius
Oil on canvas. 66,5 x 95 cm.
Estimate: CHF 30 000 / 40 000

6 Carl Morgenstern.
Venice with a view of the Doge’s palace. 1863.
Oil on canvas. 54 x 89 cm.
Estimate: CHF 60 000 / 80 000

Carl Morgenstern (1811–1893), one of Carl Rottmann’s pupils and also one of the formative German “Italianists” is represented in the auction by a view of Venice with the Doge’s Palace and Santa Maria della Salute (ill. 6). On numerous journeys, Morgenstern collected impressions which he transformed into atmospherically charged representations of Italian coastal landscapes and cityscapes. The painting offered here, created in 1863, is proof of Morgenstern’s outstanding ability to transfer Mediterranean light to canvas.

Rademakers Collection

Some cornerstones of 19th century Dutch Romanticism offered in this auction come from the collection of former TV producer Jef Rademakers, which comprises more than a hundred paintings of the High Romantic period, mostly by Dutch and Belgian masters. Among the many highlights to be sold in Zurich are "Winter Landscape with koek en zopie ('cookie and hootch') by night" (ill. 7) by Andreas Schelfhout (1787–1870), and a Pronkstilleven still life painted by David Emil Joseph de Noter in 1847 (ill. 8) in Kunstkammerformat. The interest of both artists in the art of the 17th century is evident in these works.

7 Andreas Schelfhout.
Winter landscape with ‘koek en zopie’ by night. 1849.
Oil on panel. 31 x 42,5 cm.
Estimate: CHF 30 000 / 40 000

8 David Emil Joseph de Noter.
Still life. 1847.
Oil on panel. 28,5 x 38,2 cm.
Estimate: CHF 20 000 / 30 000

9 strongbox cabinet with Imperial arms.
stamped Haffner Frères, 8 passage Jouffroy Paris,
probably by C.G. Diehl or G. Grohe. Paris, circa 1860. 100 × 52 × 150 cm.
Estimate: CHF 50 000 / 70 000

Virtuoso craftsmanship, opulent decor

Preview of the Furniture, Porcelain and Silver auction on 28 March 2019

The art of lacca povera or lacquer povera (i.e. “poor person’s lacquer”), perfected in the 18th century in northern Italy and southern France, was inspired by Asian models.

10A Strasbourg trompe l’oeil snipe-form faience terrine.
Circa 1745–1754.
L 28 cm. H 22 cm.
Estimate: CHF 10 000 / 15 000

11 A rare German crucifix-form pendant clock with rock crystal
Probably by Conrad Kreizer, late 16th century.
4.5 × 3.3 × 1.7 cm.
Estimate: CHF 60 000 / 80 000

Chinese and Japanese lacquer works reached Europe in great numbers at this time, and first influenced craftsmen and clients in Venice and Genoa. Through imitation, the craftsmen soon developed their own technique: cut-out coloured engravings were glued to doors and drawers and served as decoration; only the elaborate lacquer finish in Sandarak natural resin was reminiscent of the Asian originals. The figurative and floral decor of a bureau bookcase (ill. 13) in the 28 March auction is exemplary: the people depicted within idealised landscapes have visibly given themselves over to the sweet side of life. A splendidly decorated strongbox cabinet of museum quality and in perfect condition can be attributed to the Parisian ébéniste Charles-Guillaume Diehl (1811–1885) (ill. 9). The mastery of craftsmanship manifested by Diehl and his large workshop caused a sensation at the Paris World’s Fairs of 1867 and 1878. Marquetry furniture created at that time can now be found in the world’s most important furniture collections. The magnificent cabinet that is now being offered is said to have been a gift in 1862 from the city of Paris to Emperor Napoleon III.

12 A Swiss tortoiseshell jewellery box.
Basel, 1714–1744. Maker’s mark of Hans Jakob D’Annone.
12,4x9,2x8 cm.
Estimate: CHF 6 000 / 10 000

13 A rare Italian Baroque “lacca povera” bureau bookcase.
Venice, 18th century. 139 × 58 (92) × 238 cm.
Estimate: CHF 100 000 / 150 000

14 M. S. Merian.
Dissertatio de generatione et metamorphosibus insectorum Surinamensium.
Den Haag 1726. / Histoire des Insectes de l'Europe, Amsterdam, 1730.
Estimate: CHF 60 000 / 90 000

Exotic fauna

Preview of the Books, Manuscripts & Autographs auction on 26 March 2019

and of the Drawings & Watercolours auction on 29 March 2019

The end of the 17th century was marked by an increased interest in nature. Maria Sibylla Merian (1647–1717) grew up in an artistic family; her father, Matthäus Merian the Elder (1593–1650), was one of the most important pictorial chroniclers of his time.

15 Rudolf von Alt.
View of a bedchamber, 1859.
Watercolour over gray ink and pencil, heightened with white.
33 x 40 cm.
Estimate: CHF 7 000 / 9 000

16 Horae Beatae Mariae Virginis.
Book of hours in Latin on vellum.
probably Flanders, circa 1460.
Estimate: CHF 70 000 / 90 000

Maria Sibylla became interested in zoology at an early age. The years she devoted to the study of the flora and fauna of the Dutch colony of Surinam arose from a recommendation: the governor there encouraged Merian to take a research trip through the coastal state. The drawings and objects collected on site by Merian between 1699 and 1701 formed the basis for a series of 60 copper engravings. Published in 1726 in her magnum opus, "Dissertatio de generatione et metamorphosibus insectorum Surinamensium" (ill. 14 and p. 9), they brought the artist posthumous fame in her home country. Two unusual features of the present edition are worth mentioning: first, the volume includes Merian’s two major works, for in addition to the Surinam insects, the famous treatise "Histoire des Insectes de l’Europe" from 1730 is included. Secondly, the ex-libris has been preserved – a copperplate engraving also made by Merian, which suggests that the work was originally owned by someone from her circle.

Magnificent book of hours

A livre d’heures from Flanders, circa 1460, stands out among the selection of rare books and manuscripts in the 26 March auction (ill. 16). The book of prayers and devotions is decorated with 17 magnificent miniatures in polychrome and gold, eight smaller miniatures and 32 border illuminations. Its architectural depictions are knowledgeably executed in a virtuoso manner. This painstakingly illuminated, wide-margined work has not been on the market for almost five decades and is in remarkably good condition.

14 M. S. Merian
Dissertatio de generatione et metamorphosibus insectorum Surinamensium.
Den Haag 1726. / Histoire des Insectes de l'Europe,
Estimate: CHF 60 000 / 90 000

17 Sylvie Fleury.
Be Amazing. 2003.
Multiple. 62/100. 20 × 30 cm.
Sold for CHF 2 200


17 The Swiss artist Fleury has presented her unmistakable yet ironic invitation "Be Amazing" in various forms – here as an elegant brass plaque.

18 Giovanni Giacometti brought the colours for his view of the over 3000-metre-high Sciora Bondasca group onto the canvas in an expressive, almost three-dimensional manner, thus showing himself to be a master of colour at the height of his creativity. The virtuoso handling of light and shadow in mountain landscapes of the region between the Maloja Pass and Chiavenna shaped his life’s work. This painting comes from a Swiss private collection, acquired directly from the artist.

18 Giovanni Giacometti.
Val Bregaglia with a view of the Sciora group. 1931.
Oil on canvas. 75,5 x 80 cm.
Sold for 310 000

19 Pierre Soulages.
Untitled. 1973.
Gouache on paper on canvas. 75 x 54,5 cm.
Sold for 324 000

19 This gouache comes to life via the subtle contrast between the deep black bars and the strong blue that shines in between. Soulages used rubber squeegees to structure his picture’s surface and expose the coloured areas under the opaque black. This technique, which penetrates into the depths of the layers of paint, dynamises the composition of the picture and brings to light striking colour tones. The works created in this way are called outrenoir pictures, i.e. works beyond black.

20 Roth’s bar trolley combines Bauhaus-style forms with the preferred materials of modern industrial design of the early 1930s. The sober chrome steel construction refers directly to the furniture of Mart Stam, Marcel Breuer and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe.

21 Lichtenstein’s striking motifs of the sixties, inspired by contemporary comics, have become icons of post-war art.

22 Two hundred and sixty works by Otto Dix were designated by the Nazis as "degenerate art" in 1937. From then on, the artist devoted himself predominantly to landscape painting. "Winter Day in Randegg" exemplifies this period, during which Dix drew upon historical sources for his painting technique. A German museum acquired this significant painting for its collections.

20 Alfred Roth.
Bar trolley, "1952" model, design 1932 for Embru.
99 × 33 × 73 cm.
Sold for CHF 60 000

21 Roy Lichtenstein.
Crying Girl. 1963.
Colour offset print. 43,2 × 58,4 cm.
Sold for CHF 31 000

22 Otto Dix.
Wintertag in Randegg. 1933.
Mixed media on panel.
Sold for CHF 170 000

23 Emil Nolde.
Doppelbild (Sie seltsames Licht). 1918.
Oil on canvas. 60,6 × 56,2 cm.
Sold for CHF 1 Mio

23 Emil Nolde’s portraits reflect the artist’s particular interest in the human soul, and his intense research into the psychological images of those around him.

24 This Norman landscape was created at the height of Dufy’s career. Typical of this creative phase are both the loose, light-handed execution and the calm, natural motif from a rural area in the north of France.

24 Raoul Dufy.
Paysage en Normandie ou Le Poirier. 1930.
Oil on canvas. 60 x 73cm.
Sold for 115 000

25 Adolf Dietrich.
Abendstimmung am Untersee. 1926.
Oil on board. 32,7 x 42,9 cm.
Sold for 480 000

25 Dietrich employed an exaggeration of colour and motif in this landscape. Evening moods, with their intense colouring, are particularly suited to this approach and are among the artist’s most impressive works.

26 Picasso took great pleasure in painting traditionally shaped ceramics, as in this example from the Madoura pottery in Vallauris in the region of Cannes, where the artist lived in the 1950s.

27 This plate, produced in a small edition, also reveals Picasso’s talent for creating great things with minimal means.

28 Sunsets were among Vallotton’s favourite motifs. This early painting, created near Honfleur, captivates with its exquisite colours. Its reduced forms direct the observer’s gaze to the boldly set, seemingly unreal colour fields.

26 Pablo Picasso.
Hibou. 1968.
Ceramic. 59/500. H: 30 cm.
Sold for CHF 20 000

27 Pablo Picasso.
Tête en forme d'horloge. 1956.
Silver plate. Cast and edited by Pierre and François Hugo. 19/20. D 42.5 cm.
Sold for CHF 36 000

28 Félix Vallotton.
Coucher de soleil jaune et vert. 1911.
Oil on canvas. 54 × 81 cm.
Sold for CHF 880 000

29 Pierre Soulages.
Eau-forte XX. 1972.
Coloured aquatint. 43/100. 50 × 66 cm.
Sold for CHF 23 000

29 Soulages' reduced form is one of several motifs from an aquatint series created in the first half of the 1970s. Here the influence of calligraphic characters from the Far East becomes particularly clear, but unlike in his outrenoir pictures, the contrast to black plays only a minor role.

30 With this small-format colour offset print, Richter quotes his own oil painting "Turned Sheet" from 1965. At the same time, he refers to the enchanting play between illusion and reality in the painting of earlier periods, by presenting the viewer with a depiction of something that does not actually exist.

30 Gerhard Richter.
Blattecke. 1967.
Colour offset print. 593/739. 24 × 18 cm.
Sold for 5 000

31 Edouard Marcel Sandoz.
Groupe de chèvres. 1937.
Bronze. H: 42 cm.
Sold for 54 000

34 Tiffany Studios New York.
Twelve-light “Lily” standing lamp. Circa 1910.
Bronze and Favrile-Glas. H: 141 cm.
Sold for CHF 36 000

31 Born in Basel and active in Paris from 1910 onward, Sandoz is remembered particularly as an animal sculptor; his oeuvre comprised more than 1,800 sculptures and 200 porcelain models. These two bronze-cast goats are exemplary of the artist's realistic depictions, with borrowings from Art Nouveau and Art Deco.

32 This exclusive timepiece was made by Patek Philippe in an edition of only 400, on the occasion of its 175th anniversary. This men’s watch is equipped with an ultra-fine automatic flyback chronograph movement; its new caliber CH 28-520 is an example of the combination of tradition and innovation.

33 The American Marcia Hafif calls her unmistakable style with abstract geometric compositions and monochrome colour surfaces "Pop Minimal". This work was created during her years in Italy, and was acquired by a Swiss museum for its permanent collection.

34 The Twelve-light “Lily” is an example of the decorative floral Art Nouveau style of New York’s celebrated Tiffany Studios.

32 Patek Philippe.
Anniversary chronograph. 2015.
2015. 18K yellow gold. Ref. 5975 J
Sold for CHF 60 000

33 Marcia Hafif.
Brown-yellow. 1963.
Acrylic on canvas. 140 x 140 cm.
Sold for CHF 19 000

35 Pablo Picasso.
Tête de Marie-Thérèse. Nineteenth state. 1933/1961.
Drypoint etching. 18/50. 31,8 × 23 cm.
Sold for CHF 26 000

35 Picasso’s mastery of the drypoint etching technique is demonstrated by many individual sheets and series of etchings. The genesis of the artist’s motifs can only be understood when one observes his prints in their various states. Through the continuous reworking of the copper plates, motifs are created step by step.

36 Theodore Lux Feininger, the youngest son of painter Lyonel Feininger, documented here one of the famous theatrical performances at the Bauhaus in Dessau. The costumes and stage design depicted come from the sketch "Olga-Olga", performed in 1928.

36 Theodore Lux Feininger.
Bauhaus performance at Dessau. 1928.
SVintage gelatin silver print. 29,8 × 23,7 cm
Sold for 13 000

37 Hermann Scherer.
Mendrisiotto. Circa 1925/1926.
Oil on canvas. 112 x 120 cm.
Sold for 200 000

38 Hermès Paris made in France.
Taurillon Clemence leather, from the hides of young bulls, makes this bag robust. Its strong orange colour is particularly striking.
2013. 35 cm.
Sold for CHF 16 000

37 The influence of German expressionist Ernst Ludwig Kirchner on Basel artist Hermann Scherer can easily be seen in this picture. Both worked together in Frauenkirch near Davos and remained friends until Scherer’s early death. This painting was made in the Mendrisiotto region of Ticino.

38 Palladium metal applications. With key, lock, dust bag and rain cover. In original box.

39 These two ear clips, set with fine white natural pearls, are designed in the style of Art Nouveau jewellery from the period around 1910. Each of the pendants is set with four small old mine-cut diamonds and ten octagonal diamonds, the total weight of which is 2.20 ct.

40 Gottardo Segantini’s colour palette and brushstrokes are closely based on the works of his father Giovanni. Both devoted themselves to the colour experiments of Divisionism. In addition, both artists were united by their deeply felt attachment to their homeland, the Engadine, represented in this picture by two of the local Upper Engadine mountains.

39 Natural pearl and diamond ear pendants.
White gold 750 and platinum 950, 25 g.
Sold for CHF 180 000

40 Gottardo Segantini.
Sera d’Inverno.
Oil on canvas. 105 x 152 cm.
Sold for CHF 140 000

Félix Vallotton
La Symphonie. 1897.
Woodcut print. Artist's proof. 32 × 43 cm.
Sold for CHF 8 500

A World in Black and White

Felix Vallotton as Printmaker

“The briefest expression of the greatest content,” is how the esteemed German art critic Julius Meier-Graefe characterized Felix Vallotton’s hand as a graphic artist. Born in Lausanne in 1865, and relocating to Paris when he was seventeen, Vallotton created a sensation with his woodcuts at an early age. It is not a coincidence that his graphic oeuvre was the subject of the first monograph about the artist. His intensive period of print work was relatively brief: between 1891 and 1898 he produced around 200 woodcuts as well as a relatively small number of etchings, lithographs and zincographs, with portraits, landscapes, street scenes and interiors serving as his main focus. Vallotton also created a large number of book and magazine illustrations and caricatures. His later, sporadic graphic works did not achieve the level of this early and enormously intense creative phase.

Félix Vallotton.
Les Petites Baigneuses. 1893. Portfolio mit 10 Holzschnitten.
Vollständig. Je 12,5 × 16,5 cm.
Sold for CHF 168 000

Félix Vallotton.
Les Petites Baigneuses. 1893. Portfolio with 10 woodcut prints.
Complete. 12,5 × 16,5 cm.
Sold for CHF 168 000

Vallotton’s artistic mastery is evident in radically selected image details, virtuoso silhouettes and the overall ornamental effect of his works. He transformed his subjects into flat surfaces, developing his own world of images that were not intended to be representational. Accordingly, the ten-part series on paper "Intimités" was created in the years 1897/98 and is regarded as the "crowning achievement of his woodcut works" (Rudolf Koella). Similarly masterful are his earlier woodcut series of "Musical Instruments" (1896/97), and also "Les Petites Baigneuses" (1893), recently sold at Koller. During this early period, his unique Vallotton-esque manner culminated in a virtuoso approach to the play of black and white. The bathers exude an air of lightness and ease – completely in contrast to the interiors of the “Intimités”, in which the ten scenes are animated by couples who appear tense, as if they were in a spotlight. Vallotton used backgrounds and surfaces in an almost casual manner for his play of ornaments. "These woodcuts are basically nothing more than a satirical moral mirror of the time, maliciously showing what could happen in the intimacy of bourgeois salons" (Rudolf Koella). Vallotton attained international success with these works, receiving invitations to multiple exhibitions.

Vallotton graduated from the private Académie Julian in Paris, where he met Maurice Denis, Pierre Bonnard and others, and with whom he united to form the group Les Nabis in 1889. Vallotton recognized the importance his woodcuts would hold in his oeuvre, as he wrote to his brother in 1892: "Mes bois font paraît-il leur petit chemin dans le monde, et me font beaucoup connaître”. The prints created in Paris were indeed widely disseminated and made a lasting impression on his colleagues, including the Die Brücke artists Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Erich Heckel and Karl Schmidt-Rottluff, as well as Wassily Kandinsky, who initiated an exhibition of works by Vallotton in Munich’s Phalanx in 1904. The significance of the woodcuts lies not only in their influence on other artists, but also in how effectively the Vallotton-esque pictorial formulas mirror the period: "When a style is as immensely strong as the style of these woodcut vignettes, it comprises more than book illustration. It comprises the entire taste of a time – of a future" (Wilhelm Hausenstein).

Incidentally, the artist did not limit himself as Meier-Graefe had advised: "Vallotton has made so much of the woodcut that he that he could safely dispense with the ambition to also count as a painter". On the contrary, Vallotton’s ambition did not slow, and he succeeded as a painter until his death in 1925.

"Les Petites Baigneuses” sold for CHF 168 000 on 8 December 2018, a world record at auction for a graphic series by Vallotton.

Félix Vallotton.
Les Petites Baigneuses. 1893. Portfolio with 10 woodcut prints.
Complete. Je 12,5 × 16,5 cm.
Sold for CHF 168 000

Andy Warhol.
Mickey Mouse. 1981.
Colour screen print with diamond dust. 63/200. 96,5 x 96,5 cm.
Sold for CHF 168 000

The Triumph of Mickey Mouse

Andy Warhol’s “Myths”: Modern American Icons

With the ten-part screen print series “Myths”, 1981, Andy Warhol demonstrated a profound understanding of the society in which he grew up. The 20th century “deities” that he chose had all become icons, representing a consumer society whose sources of inspiration were the media and the Hollywood dream factory, running at full speed.

Robert J. Levin.
Andy Warhol with Myths, New York, 1981.
© Robert J. Levin.

From early on, Warhol detected the most powerful motifs of his time – images that capture the modern imagination, as did the gods and goddesses of ancient times. His selection for “Myths” comprises not only ideal characters, but a representative sample of the shady, the bold, the sly, the humorous and the good, as seen through the lens of cinema and television: Mata Hari, Dracula, Superman and Santa Claus, as well as prototypically American icons such as Howdy Doody, Mammy, Uncle Sam, the Wicked Witch of the West – and of course Mickey Mouse. Most of the examples date from the 1940s and 50s, the years of Warhol’s youth. His insertion of a self-portrait (“The Shadow”) in this prominent series speaks volumes about his self-awareness at this high point of his career.

Mickey Mouse, created by Walt Disney and his early collaborator, Ub Iwerks, is by far the most recognizable cartoon character in the world. Mickey made his debut in the silent short “Plane Crazy”, on 15 May 1928, and in November of the same year the cartoon mouse, this time with sound, was featured in “Steamboat Willie”. Two years later, the first comic book featuring Mickey Mouse was published, beginning an unparalleled triumphal march to fame. Even today, after 90 years, the Mickey Mouse brand is still going strong. No wonder, then, that in 1980 it aroused Andy Warhol’s interest.

Cinematic effect

Warhol had a sure instinct for the objects of everyday culture. Like a sensitive seismograph, he also incorporated contemporary events, stars and starlets in his art. He subjected this “raw material” of an entire era to an artistic metamorphosis and in this way created new icons – now they were his icons. The screen print process proved to be the best technical means for him to produce many repetitive images quickly and effectively. When one thinks of Marilyn Monroe today, Warhol’s portrait series of 1967 inevitably comes to mind. The brand names “Campbell’s” and “Brillo” evoke soup cans and stacks of boxes in the Warhol manner.

The artist eliminated the technical uniformity of the compositions by overlapping and blurring the original models, creating a cinematic effect on the static images. “But on closer inspection, this‘ sensation of time’ is just as illusory as in his early films”, wrote Ernst Beyeler. “It’s always the same shot, and the same silkscreen.” As an adult, Warhol said that he wanted to be a cultural icon like Mickey Mouse. Surprisingly then, this is the first time that Mickey Mouse appears in Warhol’s work. Perhaps this is why he decided to give the print a glamorous diamond-dust finish.

Worl auction record

Today the “Myths” portfolio is one of the most sought-after series of works by Andy Warhol. The ten prints were first exhibited in 1981 at the Ronald Feldman Gallery in Manhattan, where the renowned American photographer Robert Levin documented the opening for the German magazine Stern.

The Mickey Mouse illustrated here achieved a new auction record when it sold in our 8 December 2018 auction for CHF 168 500.

Lina Augustin.
No key, no pressure. 2017/2018.
Acrylic and oil on paper
83 × 62 cm.


Exhibition of young German art from the Munich Academy of Fine Arts

This spring Koller Auctions will introduce "KOLLERNOW", a new exhibition series at our Munich branch that will promote young artists with a link to the Bavarian capital.

Marc Avrel. Blinky da Vinci.
Die Waffe meines Ernstes nach K. Klapheck. 2018.
Mixed media.
80 × 50 × 52 cm.

Ralf Dereich.
Sculp019. 2014.
Gesso, pigment and acrylic.
37 × 36 × 36 cm.

In an art market dominated by global players, young galleries and organisations dedicated to arts development often have a difficult time. For young practising artists, taking those first steps towards recognition and a foothold in the art market has become increasingly complex. New York gallery owner David Zwirner has also recognised how crucial it is for artists to have the opportunity to exhibit at the beginning of their careers: he suggested removing the financial burden for young galleries at art fairs, in order to enable them to experiment artistically.

With "KOLLERNOW" Koller Auctions will offer graduates and current students of the Munich Academy of Fine Arts the opportunity to show new works. For each exhibition, the curator Dina Renninger will invite three to five artists from the classes of Professors Markus Oehlen, Karin Kneffel and Nicole Wermers to participate.

The first exhibition, on view from 14 March to 12 April, includes works by Marc Avrel, Ralf Dereich, Daniel Man and Lina Augustin – graduates and students of Professor Markus Oehlen. With a height­ened encounter between the most diverse concepts of paint­ing, sculpture and drawing, these four young artists will engage in a temporary dialogue.

Marc Avrel’s (*1981) understanding of crossover decisively influences his life and his artworks. Highly rad­ical and passionate, he challenges, comments and reflects on current political, social, digital and artistic developments, blurring the boundaries of artistic disciplines.

Ralf Dereich’s (*1976) works are the product of a spontaneous and subtle process. Intrinsically artistic, and restricting himself to painting and sculpture, the artist has developed a pictorial language that is both universal and unique. His works open up new pictorial spaces and, through their complexity and impulsivity, keep the viewer in a constant state of flux.

Daniel Man (*1969) comes from the graffiti scene, and his works still bear the hallmark of street art. Man’s intensely coloured and pulsating works are now favourably received not only in urban settings, but also in the museum world.

Lina Augustin’s (*1986) works persuasively combine intense images with a simple and thereby vivid language. Poetic visual worlds, working in harmony with Augustin’s texts, invite viewers to construct a story of their own imagining.

Daniel Man.
Total mission. 2017.
Mixed media on canvas.
130 × 190 cm.

Portrait of the Saxon Elector
Frederick the Wise. 1525.
Oil on beech wood panel. 38,7 x 25,3 cm.
Sold for CHF 264 000


Old Master & 19th Century Paintings, Drawings and Prints
Fine Furniture & Decorative Arts – Jewellery – Books, Manuscripts & Autographs

Auctions in Zurich: 26 – 29 March 2019


The Old Masters and 19th Century Paintings auctions at Koller Zurich on 29 March enjoyed a very successful sales rate, with over 100% sold by value. A portrait by Lucas Cranach and his workshop of Cranach’s patron, Frederick the Wise, Elector of Saxony, nearly tripled its pre-sale estimate to sell for CHF 264,000. Arnold Böcklin’s powerfully dynamic “Battle on the Bridge” changed hands for CHF 240,000.

The Temptation of Saint Anthony
Oil on panel. 27,7 x 37,2 cm.
Sold for CHF 168 000

Venice with a view of the Doge’s palace
and Santa Maria della Salute. 1863.
Oil on canvas. 54 x 89 cm.
Sold for CHF 72 000

Further Old Master works included a rediscovered work by Jan Wellens de Cock that fetched CHF 168,000, and a work by Gerrit Dou that realised CHF 156,000. Among the 19th century paintings, a shimmering Venice landscape by Carl Morgenstern sold for CHF 72,000, and a humorous depiction of a butterfly-chasing botanist by Carl Spitzweg fetched CHF 114,000.

The collection of Dutch filmmaker Jef Rademakers achieved very good results, such as the CHF 90,000 realised for Andreas Schelfhout’s nocturnal skating scene.

Other categories during the auction week achieved similar stellar sell-through rates, and strong prices were realized in each auction. The Books & Manuscripts auction on 26 March featured a magnificently illustrated work on the flora and fauna of Surinam by Sybille Merian, which nearly doubled its pre-sale estimate at CHF 132,000, and a lavishly illustrated botanical treatise by Johann Simon Kerner sold for six times its estimate at CHF 72,000.

Ice skaters with “Koek-en-zopie” by night. 1849.
Oil on panel. 31 x 42,5 cm.
Sold for CHF 90 000



The Battle on the Bridge. 1889.
Oil on panel.
96 x 149,5 cm.
Sold for CHF 240 000

The Herring Seller with a Young Woman.
Oil on panel.
46 x 36,2 cm.
Sold for CHF 156 000

Dissertatio de generatione et metamorphosibus
insectorum Surinamensium.
The Hague, 1726.
Sold for CHF 132 000


The butterfly catcher (Botanist). Circa 1836/37.
Oil on canvas.
29,8 x 24,5 cm.
Sold for CHF 114 000

Vagabonds playing dice and a peasant couple.
Circa 1525-30. Pen and black ink, partially with wash, on laid paper.
Sold for CHF 120 000

Bronze figure, “Napoléon à cheval”
or “Le voyageur”, circa 1900.
L 59 cm, H 48 cm.
Sold for CHF 180 000



Koller is the leading Swiss auction house, with offices in Munich, Dusseldorf, Genoa and Beijing. Each year Koller holds over eighty auctions, covering all of the major collecting categories in the fine and decorative arts, jewelry, wristwatches, Asian art and wine. Koller regularly sets record prices and benefits from a large base of international bidders. With its team of highly experienced specialists, the family-owned auction house combines the distinct advantages of an internationally active auction house with Swiss reliability and efficiency.