A study of the head of a mon looking upwards.
Oil on panel. 47,5 x 37,7 cm.
Sold for CHF 336 000


Old Master & 19th Century Paintings auctions at Koller Zurich, 28 September 2018.

Rediscovere Old Masters Highlight at the auctions at Koller Zurich.

One of the most captivating works in the Old Master Paintings auction at Koller Zurich was also an interesting discovery: a oil study of the head of a monk, recently identified as the model for a work by Peter Paul Rubens. Representing the head of Saint Dominic in Rubens’ 1618 altarpiece “Saints Dominic and Francis Saving the World from Christ’s Anger”, today in the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Lyon, the painting on panel is striking in its use of minimal brushstrokes and highlighting to create a fascinating portrait which still, after four centuries, appears distinctly modern. Itsold to a private collector, following spirited bidding, for CHF 336,000.

The Visitation. Circa 1639.
Öl on panel. 23 × 17,3 cm.
Sold for CHF 30 000

The Temptation of Saint Anthony.
Oil on panel. 45 x 57 cm.
Sold for CHF 204 000

Other highlights among the Old Masters include a winter landscape by Joos de Momper and Pieter Brueghel the Elder which fetched CHF 144,000, and a mid-16th century depiction of the Temptation of Saint Anthony by a follower of Hieronymus Bosch, which sold for CHF 204,000. A print by Martin Schongauer on the same theme from circa 1469-73 doubled its estimate in the Old Master Prints auction to sell at CHF 58,000.

Among the 19thCentury works on sale, an arctic landscape by Russian painter Ivan Federovic Choultsé is particularly interesting, as it was painted from the sketches he made while on an expedition to Spitsbergen in 1907/08. Choultsé painted a dozen paintings following this expedition, some of which were used as diorama backdrops for the Alexander Koenig Natural History Museum in Bonn. This view of a glacier has now entered a private Russian collection for CHF 120,000.

The 19th Century Paintings auction was led by a still life of apples by Gustave Courbet with an impressive provenance, which sold for more than five times its estimate at CHF 138,000. A plein-air view of the Maas at Dordrecht by Eugène Boudin also exceeded its pre-sale estimate, selling at CHF 118,000.

Glacier in Spitsberg. 1911.
Oil on canvas. 60,5 x 90,7 cm.
Sold for CHF 120 000


A selection of Highlights

Winter landscape with figures.
Oil on panel. 45 x 68,5 cm.
Sold for CHF 144 000

Still life with apples on a plate and wine on a table.
Circa 1846–47. Oil on panel. 45,5 x 55 cm.
Sold for CHF 138 000

View of the Maas at Dordrecht.
Oil on canvas. 46,5 x 65,3 cm.
Sold for CHF 118 000


Saint Anthony tormented by demons.

Circa 1469–73. Copper engraving.
Sold for CHF 58 000

Portugal, probably circa 1480.
Ivory. L 40 cm.
Sold for CHF 96 000

Fête de l'Assomption, dans le bassin.
Oil on canvas. 67 x 82 cm.
Sold for CHF 87 000


Madonna dell'Umiltà. Circa 1375.
Tempera and gold ground on panel. 90,5 x 50,5 cm.
Sold for CHF 96 000

With signature L. BOUDIN.
Paris, circa 1760/65. 104 x 40 x 144 cm.
Sold for CHF 78 000

Nuremberg, early 17th century.
Maker's mark Esaias zur Linden. Height circa 44 cm.
Sold for CHF 144 000


Ein Memento Mori Stillleben von Carstian Luyckx

Für eine grössere Ansicht, bitte ins Bild klicken.

Dieses beeindruckende Gemälde, das kürzlich in einer Schweizer Privatsammlung wiederentdeckt wurde, ist ein Vanitas-Stillleben, das den Betrachter dazu ermutigen soll, über die Vergänglichkeit des Lebens, und über die Eitelkeit irdischer Genüsse zu sinnen. Das Memento Mori zählte in der Kunst dieser Zeit zu den vergleichsweise häufig verwendeten Themen und so waren ihre Betrachter auch mit den dazugehörigen Symbolen, die auf die Vergänglichkeit des Lebens verweisen, vertraut. Doch abseits des Offensichtlichen vollzog sich eine subtilere und für die Zeit weniger übliche soziokulturelle Entwicklung, die unter anderem auch Einzug in die Thematiken des Stilllebens hielt: eine Abscheu vor den Schrecken des Krieges, und eine Verurteilung des Allmächtigen französischen Königs, Louis XIV (1638-1715).

Diese unterschwellige Symbolik bezieht sich eindeutig auf die geschichtsträchtige Invasion der spanischen Niederlande durch die französischen Truppen unter Ludwig XIV. in den Jahren 1667/68. Der junge französische König nutzte die Gunst der Stunde und erhob nach dem Tod des spanischen Königs Philipp IV. (1605-1665), Anspruch auf Ländereien, die ihm, wie er behauptete, durch seine Eheschliessung mit Maria Theresia, Philipps Tochter, rechtmässig zustanden.

KOLLERview is published four times annually.

Next issue: November 2018

Read as PDF

Dear Readers,

Did you know that pure yellow diamonds are known as “canary diamonds”? Or that Andy Warhol collected wind-up toys? And did you know that an altarpiece has stood in an important Antwerp church for almost four hundred years, whose authorship can only now be fully clarified following the rediscovery of a small oil study?

I am pleased to present the first issue of our new publication, KOLLERview, which will be published four times annually, before each auction series in March, June, September and December. In each issue we will not only present highlights from our upcoming auctions, but also review our recent past auctions and inform you of forthcoming consignment deadlines, preview dates and further activities and news about our company.

This issue’s cover depicts a life study of a monk’s head that was the model for the head of Saint Dominic in Peter Paul Rubens’ 1618 altarpiece Saints Dominic and Francis Saving the World from Christ’s Anger, today in the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts in Lyon, France. This is a good example of the “modernity” that high-quality artworks of the past still possess today.

As always, the focus of our autumn auctions is on fine and decorative arts from past centuries. Old Master paintings from the 14th to 19th centuries, fine furniture, silver and porcelain from the Renaissance to the revival styles, and books and manuscripts are on exhibit in our galleries from 19 – 23 September 2018. Each auction series throughout the year also features a fine selection of jewellery.

In the second section of KOLLERview, we take a look at our June 2018 sales , which featured fine examples of Asian Art and a large selection of modern and c ontemporary European and American art. We are currently accepting consignments for our sales in November and December 2018 and would be happy to arrange a no-obligations appointment to provide an estimate of works you may wish to offer in view of these auctions.

We hope you enjoy reading this issue. If you have questions about any of the items featured in this publication, please don’t hesitate to contact our staff of specialists.

Cyril Koller

Willem Benson.
The Virgin and Child.
Oil on panel. 66 × 49,4 cm.
Estimate: CHF 200 000 / 300 000>

Discoveries with Roots in Antwerp

Preview of the Old Master and 19th Century Paintings auction

on 28 September 2018

Among the approximately 100 Old Master works offered at the 28 September auction is an outstanding Madonna and Child by Flemish artist Willem Benson (1521 – 1574) (ill. 6). This intimate image of high artistic quality is a valuable addition to the scant body of known works by Benson. Created presumably after 1555 in Bruges, this oil painting on oak panel is indebted to the tradition of Flemish artists such as Gerard David.

Simon de Vos.
The Visitation. Circa 1639.
Oil on panel. 23 × 17.3 cm.
Estimate: CHF 10 000 / 15 000

Hans Vredeman de Vries.
A Gothic church interior. 1594.
Oil on panel. 24.5 × 39.7 cm.
Estimate: CHF 80 000 / 120 000

An attractive early work by the Dutch marine and landscape painter Simon de Vlieger (1601 – 1653), a seascape tondo from circa 1626/27 (ill. 4), has recently been discovered in a Swiss private collection. The pictorial form and language point to the influence of de Vlieger’s teacher Jan Porcellis, as well as Hendrick van Anthonissen and Hans Goderis. Nothing in the tondo is arbitrary – in fact, the artist has arranged his composition with a pronounced sense of order in a fine example of classic marine painting.

Also rediscovered in a Swiss private collection is a panel depicting The Visitation (ill. 2). A noteworthy addition to the oeuvre of the Antwerp painter Simon de Vos (1603 – 1676), the composition is identical to that of an altarpiece in St James’ Church in Antwerp, which until now had been considered to be a work by Victor Wolfvoet. The Antwerp altarpiece was produced circa 1639 for the private chapel of the family of the Portuguese consul Franco Lopez Franco. Recent art historical research has identified the painting presented here as a study by Simon de Vos for the altarpiece itself. Simon de Vos was active as a painter and art collector, and specialised early on in cabinet paintings and genre scenes in the style of the Utrecht Caravaggisti. From circa 1640 onwards he increasingly painted large-format religious, allegorical or historical scenes in the style of Peter Paul Rubens and Anthony van Dyck. One of de Vos’ pupils was Jan van Kessel the Elder.

From the 16th to the 18th centuries, St James’ Church was the most important parish church in Antwerp and also formed a pantheon of Dutch and Flemish painters. Famous and affluent figures are buried there in custom-built chapels, including Peter Paul Rubens and his wife Helena Fourment, the artists Jan and Hendrick van Balen, as well as Jan Boeckhorst and Cornelis Schut. Hans Vredeman de Vries (1527 – 1609) began his career as an architect before turning to painting. The depiction of a church interior offered here (ill. 1) is not only the first known by the artist, but also one of the oldest depictions of this type in the history of art, and comes from a German private collection. The auction also presents a high-quality example of Utrecht Caravaggism by Johannes Moreelse (ca. 1603 – 1634). With its typical Caravaggesque effects of light and shadow combined with highly realistic rendering of figures, Moreelse’s large-format oil painting depicts an alchemist engaged in an experiment (ill. 3). Also from the 17th century is a rediscovered work by Meindert Hobbema (1638 – 1709). The painting was part of the prestigious collection of the Earl of Lonsdale before entering a Swiss private collection and has not been presented on the art market since the 1960s.

Among the 19th century works is a compelling Arctic landscape by Russian artist Ivan Fedorovich Choultsé (1874 – 1939) that was created based on preliminary studies made during an expedition he took to Spitsbergen in 1907/08. Additional highlights include: a large painting of Venice in splendid colours by Felix Ziem (1821 – 1911), a view of the Maas at Dordrecht painted in 1884 by Eugène Boudin (1824 – 1898), and three attractive small landscapes by Carl Spitzweg (1808 – 1885), exemplifying this period’s exploration of plein air painting.

Simon de Vlieger.
Marine with sailing ships near the coast.
Oil on panel. Diameter 40 cm.
Estimate: CHF 50 000 / 70 000

Johannes Moreelse.
An Alchemist.
Oil on canvas. 90.5 × 107.5 cm.
Estimate: CHF 200 000 / 300 000

A Louis XVI double globe clock by Philipp Mathhäus
Hahn, the glazed case possibly by Nikolas Friedrich von
Thouret, Echterdinge. Circa 1785. 39,5 × 20 × 40,5 cm.
Estimate: CHF 250 000 / 450 000

A Certain Fascination with the Universe

Preview of the Fine Furniture auction on 27 September 2018

Among the more than 300 lots of furniture, clocks, sculpture and decorative arts in the Fine Furniture auction on 27 September is an elegant and spectacular double-globe clock created by Philipp Matthäus Hahn (1739 – 1790) in Echterdingen, Germany in the second half of the 18th century (ill. 2). A brilliant example of the fascination with complicated mechanisms exhibited by many monarchs of the time, including the French king Louis XVI, the clock can be seen as an expression of Enlightenment themes. The desire to understand the workings of the entire universe is illustrated by the presence of both a terrestrial and a celestial globe. It also represents the need to advance knowledge, research and learning ever further; it is significant that the movement of this double clock, rather than hidden inside a clock case, is visible behind glass, allowing all a view into its intricate workings. The ebonised vitrine for this chronometer, which has been in a private collection for decades, is attributable to Nikolaus Friedrich von Thouret (1767 – 1845).

A Louis XIV Boulle marquetry
armoire by Nicolas Sageot.
Paris circa 1715 / 25. 150 × 55 × 257 cm.
Estimate: CHF 250 000 / 450 000

A pair of Louis XVI ormolu-mounted
porcelain vases.
The porcelain China, Kangxi circa 1700,
the bronze mounts Paris, circa 1765 / 75. H 40.5 cm
Estimate: CHF 100 000 / 200 0000

Another outstanding piece is an important bibliothèque en armoire veneered with tortoiseshell and brass Boulle marquetry, created during the first quarter of the 18th century (ill. 3). Its maker, the master craftsman Nicolas Sageot (1666 – 1731), counted among his clients Parisian collectors, members of the French aristocracy, Maximilian II, elector of Bavaria, as well as the Swedish royal court. Although the forms and dimensions of Sageot’s cabinets and bookcases varied widely, his elaborate marquetry remained nearly identical from one work to another. This allows for a firm attribution of even unsigned pieces – such as the one offered here – to Sageot’s oeuvre. Sageot employed a large variety of ormolu mounts according to the individual desires of his clientele. The present piece displays mounts from the workshop of renowned cabinetmaker André-Charles Boulle (1642 – 1732) alongside laterexamples from the 18th and 19th centuries. With the exception of the very few pieces which remain in private hands, the majority of Sageot’s works are found in important museums such as the Musée National du Château de Versailles, the Musée du Petit Palais in Paris, the Bayerischen Nationalmuseum in Munich, and London’s Victoria and Albert Museum.

A pair of Chinese porcelain vases and covers from circa 1700 with Parisian ormolu mounts from 1760 / 65 (ill. 1) likewise boasts an important provenance: they were formerly in the remarkable collection of the French-Iranian connoisseur Djahanguir Riahi.

Another highlight is a lacquer fall-front secretary by Léonard Boudin (1735 – 1807), executed in Paris during the period of 1760 / 65. An extraordinary piece of furniture, it is veneered overall with Coromandel lacquer panels. This type of lacquer has its roots in the late Ming Dynasty, and combines the arts of lacquer and carving in a technique that involves the painstaking application of coat upon coat of lacquer in various colours, followed by selective carving through the layers to create a polychrome, multi-dimensional scene – in this case, figures in an idealised landscape with gardens and pagodas.

Louis XV, with signature by L. BOUDIN.
Guild stamp Paris ca. 1760/65.
Estimate: CHF 50 000 / 70 000

Plenarium. Augsburg, Anton Sorg.
Estimate: CHF 22 000 / 35 000

Schongauer, a Model for an Entire Generation of Artists

Preview of the auctions of Books & Autographs and Old Master Prints on 24 and 28 September 2018

The Augsburg printmaker Anton Sorg (circa 1460 – 1530) was one of the most productive members of his guild during the last quarter of the 15th century. His editions of books illustrated with woodcuts were particularly valuable even at the time they were produced, and have become exceptionally rare collectors’ pieces over the centuries. The plenarium presented here – published between 1478 and 1483 (ill. 2) – is a collection of Bible passages which were designated as readings for church services throughout the ecclesiastical year. The plenarium is the precursor of the later postil, in which Biblical texts and sermons were published. Among the works on offer on 24 September is an early example of a devotional book in the vernacular, of which only a handful of complete copies can be found in public libraries.

Martin Schongauer. Saint Anthony tormented by demons. Circa 1469 – 73. Copperplate engraving. 31,4 × 23,8 cm. Estimate: CHF 25 000 / 35 0000

A highlight of the auction of Old Master Prints on 28 September is the copperplate engraving Saint Anthony Tormented by Demons produced by Martin Schongauer circa 1470 (ill. 1). This famous engraving shows the saint serenely gazing at the viewer while wild demons tear at his limbs, clothes and hair, and strike at him with cudgels. Schongauer has depicted these imaginary beings most convincingly, the naturalistic rendering of their scales and fur indicating direct observation of animals. With images such as these, Schongauer (circa 1445 / 50 – 1491), called the hübsche Martin (handsome Martin), produced some of the most fanciful and simultaneously most grotesque works in the history of printing. The drama found in Schongauer’s images was innovative for the art of that period, and although this is one of the earliest of the artist’s 116 prints known today, it became one of his most influential works. Albrecht Dürer and Lucas Cranach the Elder made direct reference to Schongauer in their graphic works, and Giorgio Vasari recounted the story of Michelangelo, who at the age of thirteen produced a painting based on this extraordinary motif. Michelangelo’s oil on panel was rediscovered several years ago and is now in the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth, Texas.

A Böttger stoneware teapot.
Circa 1710. H 10,5 cm.
Estimate: CHF 12 000 / 18 000

Centuries Old yet Fresh to the Market

Preview of the Porcelain and Silver auction on 25 September 2018

The Böttger teapot offered in the 25 September auction is among the earliest Meissen pieces that one can acquire (ill. 3). This stoneware example – which dates to 1710, the year the Meissen factory was founded – also possesses a stellar provenance. Formerly in the prestigious Ludwig von Darmstaedter collection in Berlin, it was acquired at the important Munich auction house of Hugo Helbing in 1930 by a private Basel collector, in whose family it has remained until now. In an early inventory from 1711 of the famous Saxon porcelain factory, this delicate model was described as an 8bassiger Thee-Krügel mit Adler-Schnäutzgen. Comparable teapots can be found in many of the world’s most important museums.

A Neoclassical Russian partial service, patinated and gilt copper.
Ural, Demidoff Copper Manufactory.
Circa 1770.
Estimate: CHF 10 000 / 15 000

The auction will also present a set of tea caddies with tray that were produced in 1770 by the Demidoff copper factory in the Russian Ural – an identical model to a table service which was sold in the legendary Yves Saint Laurent auction in Paris in 2009. Demidoff copper held a well-established reputation for exceptional purity. These elegant collectors’ pieces with gilt and patinated copper surfaces exhibit a level of workmanship that is rarely found (ill. 1). A Maiolica plate likewise presents a unique type of decoration (ill. 2). Mannerist figures executed in a restrained palette occupy the entire pictorial space of this 44 cm plate, covering the centre as well as the rim, depicting the biblical scene known as La strage degli innocenti (the Massacre of the Innocents). This attractive piece was made approximately 450 years ago in central Italy and has been featured in various publications.

A very rare Italian Renaissance Maiolica plate
“La Strage degli Innocenti”.
Castelli d’Abruzzo, probably the workshop of Orazio Pompei,
circa 1561 – 1565. D 44 cm.
Estimate: CHF 60 000 / 80 000

A pair of fancy intense yellow diamonds. Radiant cut.
3.04 carats and 3.07 carats, IF.
Estimate: CHF 80 000 / 120 000

Rarities in Canary Yellow

Preview of the Jewellery auction on 25 September 2018

Treasures by Buccellati, Cartier, Tiffany & Co., Bulgari, David Morris and others are featured in the Jewellery auction on 25 September. Among the items on offer, a fine pair of yellow diamonds is particularly striking (ill. 1). Decisive factors in the value of a diamond, alongside the purity of the stone, are its weight, colour and cut. Colourless diamonds with a high degree of purity are particularly rare. However, non-standard and intensely coloured diamonds – known as Fancy Diamonds, very rare gemstones outside the familiar colour spectrum – are also sought after and often very valuable, for example those in saturated pink, blue, red, green or yellow.

A pearl, sapphire and diamond brooch, circa 1900.
Estimate: CHF 5 000 / 8 000

Yellow, the second most common fancy colour for diamonds, is caused by the inclusion of nitrogen within the lattice of carbon crystals. Yellow diamonds come in a broad range of colour density, from fancy light to fancy and fancy dark to fancy deep. The most intense and strongest tones are graded fancy intense or fancy vivid and are sometimes termed “canary”. Some of the most famous Fancy Diamonds are yellow, such as the Kahn Canary, the Cora Sun Drop and the Canary worn by Audrey Hepburn in the promotional photos for Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Both diamonds offered here at auction are graded fancy intense yellow, weigh 3 carats each, and are an almost perfect pair, which is reflected in their estimate. Further highlights of the auction are a ring with a fine-quality emerald-cut diamond weighing 6.95 carats; a collectable minaudière by Buccellati set with diamonds, a pair of rare sapphire and diamond earclips by Harry Winston in the form of starfish, and a modern bracelet set with yellow diamonds. Upon purchasing a piece of jewellery or a precious stone at Koller, you will receive a comprehensive guarantee as outlined in our Auction Conditions with regard to quality, size, colour and material. Our jewellery specialists – qualified gemmologists – examine and evaluate each individual item. When necessary, the items at auction are checked by internationally recognised gemstone and diamond testing laboratories, independent experts, jewellery archives, or the Swiss Precious Metal Control.

Platinum, 10% Iridium, 35g.
Estimate: CHF 10 000 / 15 000

Karin Kneffel. Untitled. 2005.
Oil on canvas. 120 x 190 cm.
Sold for: CHF 105 000

From Kirchner to Warhol

Review of the Modern & Contemporary Art auctions on 29 and 30 June 2018

Unwavering interest continues for works of Modern and Contemporary German art. Twice a year Koller offers a broad range of German art – from Liebermann and Corinth to Kirchner, as well as artists active from the mid-20th century to the present. Contemporary art was well represented in the 30 June auction with works by Katharina Grosse (b. 1961) and Karin Kneffel (b. 1957). As an artist who mostly produces vast installations, pictures by Grosse rarely appear on the market. Kneffel’s untitled work from 2005 is a typical example of her slow and intensively elaborated artworks (ill. 1). Artists of an earlier generation whose works brought strong prices in the 29 June auction of Modern Art include Imi Knoebel, Georg Baselitz and Franz Gertsch. The Swiss painter and art theorist Johannes Itten is particularly known in Germany for his close relationship with the Weimar Bauhaus, and his works are sought after by collectors.

Tony Cragg.
Red Square. 2007.
Bronze, coloured
70 × 80 × 66 cm.
Sold for: CHF 140 000

Keith Haring
Pop Shop I-IV. 1988.
Lot of 4 colour screenprints. 183 / 200.
Varying image sizes on wove paper. 30.5 × 38 cm.
Sold for: CHF 50 000

John Chamberlain
Kiss #14. 1979.
Painted steel. 68,5 x 59,5 x 61 cm.
Sold for: CHF 526 000

The life-size bust illustrated here (ill. 3) is a detail of the full-figure sculpture Emporsteigender Jüngling (Rising Youth) produced in 1913, a key work by Wilhelm Lehmbruck (1881 – 1919). The sculpture in cast stone with a reddish finish captivates through its level of detail, which only this and two other known casts possess. It was originally acquired directly from the artist by a collector in Duisburg, in whose family it remained until now. Also featured were two exceptional works by Die Brücke artist Ernst Ludwig Kirchner (1880 – 1938), a contemporary of Lehmbruck. Two exceptional sculptural works by this artist came to auction: a bronze panel cast from a double-sided wooden relief, Tanz zwischen den Frauen / Alpaufzug auf die Staffelalp (Dance between the women / Cattle drive to the Staffelalp), from 1919 and a carved wooden fruit bowl, Obstschale II, from circa 1910 (ill. 7). Sculptural works have a central role in Kirchner’s creative production. Schooled in the technique of woodcut printmaking, the artist soon progressed towards three-dimensional work and created objects of everyday use, in addition to his own picture frames. These highly personal objects rarely appear on the market and consequently achieve high prices.

Works by Pop Art artists such as Warhol, Lichtenstein and Haring are very popular today and clearly a large audience is able to relate to their pictorial worlds of everyday objects, contemporary iconic figures and consumer brands from the post-war decades. The motifs themselves are easily recognisable, transforming key works of Pop Art into icons within ust a few decades. With his “Readymades”, Marcel Duchamp is seen as one of the early precursors of this movement. Towards the end of the 1950s, and especially in the subsequent decade, Pop Art engaged in the theme of the trivial as a reaction to and a conscious shift away from the tendencies of intellectual Abstract Art. In the early 1980s, Andy Warhol (1928 – 1987) began his “Toy Series” at the suggestion of the Swiss gallery owner Bruno Bischofberger. Warhol, who had also made his mark as a successful commercial artist, collected children’s toys in their original packaging. They served as models for many motifs in this group of works, such as the small-format Clockwork Panda Drummer from 1983 (ill. 6). Keith Haring (1958 – 1990) began his career as a street artist, became politically active, and infused his work with humour more than any other Pop artist. Alongside his early tags on the sides of buildings and his Subway Drawings, Haring’s “Pop Shop” became famous in New York’s trendy SoHo district. In this forerunner to today’s pop-up shops, the artist sold his original works and multiples on the street from 1985 onwards. Typical of Haring, who was a close friend of Warhol, were drawings with continuous lines, as can be seen in the figures in his colour screenprints (ill. 4). Kiss #14, 1979, a prototypical work by American artist John Chamberlain (1927 – 2011), points to the Abstract Expressionist’s interest in the transformation of everyday objects – in this case, two oil drums which he remodelled and painted, thereby creating a unique piece (ill. 5). British sculptor Tony Cragg’s (b. 1949) brick-red metal sculpture Red Square, 2007, is from his Early Forms series (ill. 2). The recently revived interest in the work of Hungarian-French Op Artist Victor Vasarely (1906 – 1997) was apparent in a hammer price which far exceeded the estimate for his 1968 / 75 work Kezdi-Domb, sold by a Swiss private collection.

Wilhelm Lehmbruck. Büste des Emporsteigenden Jünglings (Bust of the Rising Youth).
1913. Caststone, lifetime cast. H 53,3 cm.
Sold for: CHF 320 000

Andy Warhol
Clockwork Panda Drummer. 1983.
Synthetic polymer and screenprint on canvas.
Sold for: CHF 192 000

Saint Anthony Tormented by Demons (detail). Circa 1469-73.
Copper engraving. 31.4 x 23.8 cm.
Estimate: CHF 25 000 / 35 000


How artists depict the eternal internal struggle

Are human beings basically evil, and only do good things because of the pressures of society, or are we basically good people who are occasionally commit bad acts because of weakness and temptation? This debate has raged for thousands of years and is not ready to be settled tomorrow, but there is one thing upon which most people agree: as much as we try to be good, temptation sometimes gains the upper hand, and even saintly figures have a difficult time resisting.

Artists throughout history have treated the subject of temptation, and their hands-down favourite tempted saint is Saint Anthony. An 3rd/4th century ascetic, Anthony went into the Egyptian desert for many years to live as a hermit. Legend has it that during this time he was visited by all sorts of demons, who tempted him with boredom, laziness, and thoughts of women, even at times beating him senseless.

In Martin Schongauer’s mid-15th century engraving to be offered in the Old Master Engravings sale, Saint Anthony is surrounded by terrifying creatures straight out of the artist’s worst nightmares, and is clawed, pawed and pummeled mercilessly while his expression remains transcendently serene. The powerful imagery and harmonious composition of this print has made it one of Schongauer’s most enduring images.

Circa 1550
A nocturnal landscape with the temptation of Saint Anthony. Oil on panel. 45 x 57 cm.
Estimate: CHF 180 000 / 250 000

Approximately a century later a Flemish artist depicted the same theme, this time inspired by the legendary Hieronymous Bosch and his scenes of hell. In a dark atmosphere lit only by raging flames, Saint Anthony attempts though prayer to ward off the countless demons which seem to have set up permanent camp around him. The artist here has given free rein to his darkest and most frightening fantasies, in a cathartic process not dissimilar to what the ascetics themselves strived to produce through their prolonged isolation and fasting.

François Rémond, the maker of a pair of Louis XVI ormolu candelabra in the Fine Furniture auction, chose a more lighthearted way to illustrate the theme of temptation. Two cherubic putti, representing Love, are playfully seated on the backs of two mountain goats. Goats were traditionally symbolic of unbridled sexual impulses, and are often depicted in Bacchanalian scenes. Here, the docile position of the goats seems to suggest that even the most wayward Casanova can be tamed and made to behave by the power of love.

Louis XVI, by François Rémond.
Paris ca. 1765/70. H 61.5 cm.
Estimate: CHF 38 000 / 58 000



Circa 1700. 18K gold (medallion) and 24K gold 999 as well as precious stones.
A hunting horn and a medallion suspended from two chains, the medallion surrounded by small emerald-coloured stones and two diamonds.
W 8.5; H 9.5 cm.

Estimate: CHF 15 000 / 25 000
Auction in Zurich on 27 September 2018

From the earliest of times, our ancestors used signal instruments to communicate while hunting. These simple signal and communication tools gradually developed into complex musical instruments and also found their way into orchestral music. The chemist and passionate hunter Werner Flachs, who was born in 1930, dedicated himself to the task of describing and documenting this development. Years of research, travel and museum visits not only resulted in the book "Das Jagdhorn, seine Geschichte von der Steinzeit bis zur Gegenwart" (The Hunting Horn, Its History from the Stone Age to the Present), which was awarded with the 1995 Literary Prize of the Conseil International de la Chasse, but also produced a wonderful collection of historical instruments. The collection documents the developmental history of the horn, as an instrument for hunting and as an orchestral instrument, from the earliest prehistoric bone flutes and medieval ivory and horn instruments, to later baroque and modern horns of brass and copper. For important models that were unable to be historically located, the collector had replicas constructed by skilled instrument makers.

The collection was exhibited at the Jagdmuseum Schloss Landshut in Utzensdorf from 1994 to 2017.

We would like to thank Mr. Flachs and his wife for their trust in Koller, and we are pleased to now present this exciting piece of cultural history to you. We wish all hunters, collectors and horn players a successful hunt at the auction!



AUCTIONS 29 – 30 JUNE 2018




Koller’s auctions on 29 – 30 June were marked by strong bidding for Modern & Contemporary works, which often sold far above expectations. The fine art auctions concluded with total sales far exceeding the pre-sale estimates.

Kees Van Dongen
L’Egyptienne. 1910-11.
Oil on canvas.
100 x 73 cm.
Sold for CHF 1.7 Mio.

The saleroom, telephone banks and internet bidding terminals were all extremely active during Koller’s Modern & Contemporary sales on 29 – 30 June, led by a Fauvist work by Kees van Dongen, “Rouge et Jaune (l’Égyptienne)” from 1910-11, which sold to a European private collector for CHF 1.7 million. Another painting by van Dongen from the same private Swiss collection – which was compiled from the 1920s, and included further works by Gen Paul and Maurice de Vlaminck (lot 3231, sold for CHF 204 500) – «Portrait de femme» from 1913, realized CHF 240 500.

Sculpture was particularly sought after in the June sales: a “Bust of a Rising Youth” by German artist Wilhelm Lehmbruck more than doubled its pre-sale estimate to sell at CHF 324 500. A rare carved wooden bowl by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, “Obstschale II”, fetched CHF 186 500, and a striking painted metal sculpture from Tony Cragg’s “early forms” series, “Red Square” from 2007, sold for CHF 144 500.

Bidding from collectors in the US, Germany and Asia for “Kiss #14”, a compressed metal composition by John Chamberlain, was particularly fierce, and it finally changed hands for over twice its estimate, at CHF 526 500. Other Pop Art works also fared well in the PostWar & Contemporary auction, such as Andy Warhol’s smallformat work “Clockwork Panda Drummer”, a small-format synthetic polymer and creenprint on canvas estimated at CHF 80 000 / 140 000, which sold for an impressive CHF 192 500. Among the eight colour screenprints by Keith Haring in the auction, no less than five doubled their estimates, and the others came very close to doing so as well. “Growing” from 1988, for example, sold for CHF 58 100 against an estimate of CHF 25 000/35 000).

A very large colour woodcut by Swiss Artist Franz Gertsch, “Dominique” from 1988, fetched CHF 168 500. “Lord of the Rings I”, a fantasy landscape by another Swiss artist, H.R. Giger – the creator of the reature in “Alien” – more than doubled its estimate at CHF 144 500. And Victor Vasarely’s works continue to enjoy a revival, as “Kedzi-Domb”, a 1968/75 work from a private Swiss collection, changed hands for well above its upper estimate at CHF 198 500.

Contemporary German artists made a particularly strong showing in the PostWar auction, such as an untitled work from 2005 by Düsseldorf artist Karin Kneffel which sold for more than twice its estimate at CHF 106 100 – one of the highest auction prices realised for a work from this series – and a composition by Berlin artist Katherina Grosse, “1020S” from 2006 that fetched CHF 58 100 against an estimate of CHF 15 000 / 25 000, an excellent result for a work of this size by the artist.




Portrait de femme. Um 1913.

Oil on canvas. 65 x 55 cm.

Sold for CHF 240 500



“Rising Youth“. 1913.

Cast stone, lifetime cast.

Sold for CHF 324 500



Obstschale II. Circa 1910.

Wood, red coloured.

Sold for CHF 186 500




Kezdi-Domb. 1968/75.

Acrylic on Canvas. 160 x 160 cm.

Sold for CHF 198 500



Red Square. 2007.

Bronze, coloured. 70 x 80 x 66cm.

Sold for CHF 144 500



L’Allée. Um 1912-14./span>

Oil on Canvas. 66 x 81 cm.

Sold for CHF 204 500



Image 234 x 181 cm n Japan paper by Heizobur 275 x 219 cm.

Sold for CHF 168 500



Lord of the rings I. 1975.

Acrylic on paper on panel. 100 x 70 cm.

Sold for CHF 144 500



Clockwork Panda Drummer. 1983.

Synthetic polymer and screenprint on canvas. 35.5 x 27.7

Sold for CHF 192 500



Growing. 1988.

Colour screenprint. AP 2/15.

Sold for CHF 58 100



1020S. 2006.

Acrylic on Canvas. 142 x 82 cm.

Sold for CHF 58 100



Kiss #18. 1979.

Painted steel. 68.5 x 59.5 x 61 cm.

Sold for CHF 526 500


June auction catalogues with prices realised


Auction calendar 2018


Selling at auction with Koller



Richard Hamilton's tribute to Picasso ... and Velázquez

Please click on the image to make it larger

In this work, Richard Hamilton takes the composition of Diego Velázquez’ celebrated “Las Meninas” and substitutes graphic images from Pablo Picasso’s work. Each image represents a different style employed by Picasso, spanning the first half of the 20th century. This print was made in 1973 for a commission, “Hommage à Picasso”, a portfolio of works by various artists. Although, as Hamilton laughingly admitted in an interview at the Prado in 2010, "The hommage, I think, is slightly in favor of Velázquez."

In the image on the left, some of the different styles represented by the various figures are indicated, as well as their relation to the original painting by Velázquez (you can click on the image to make it larger).


Diego Velázquez, Las Meninas. 1656. Museo del Prado, Madrid.
Please click on the image to make it larger.

"I saw Velázquez’ Las Meninas at the Prado for the first time in 1972 – its reputation as being among the greatest paintings that exist is well founded," said Hamilton. "The temptation to paraphrase Velázquez in Picasso’s styles proved irresistible ... Las Meninas provided an opportunity to run the gamut of Picasso’s ‘periods’ in one plate – from ‘Rose’ through ‘Analytical Cubism’ to ‘Primitive’ to ‘Neo-Classical’ and so on. The stage of Velázquez’ Meninas could carry a lot of action, and the mysterious ambiguities (it seems to contain an infinity of cross reflections with the space the picture confronts), allowed some narrative interplay with substitutions of personalities as well as styles."


(1922 London 2011)
Picasso's Meninas. 1973.
Aquatint. EA 4/5, outside the edition of 90. Image 57 x 49 cm on Rives wove paper 75.5 x 57 cm.

At auction in Zurich 30 June 2018
Estimate CHF 14 000 - 18 000

Koller Auctions invites you to a special preview of a selection of works from our upcoming auctions of Modern & Contemporary Art

Kees van Dongen • Serge Poliakoff • Georges Braque • Pierre Bonnard • Mark Tobey • Maurice Utrillo • Niki de Saint Phalle • Maurice de Vlaminck • Richard Hamilton • Victor Vasarély • Keith Haring • Wilhelm Lehmbruck

17/18 May    9:30am – 6pm
19 May          11am – 6pm
21 May          11am – 6pm

Hôtel Dassault, Artcurial
7 Rond-Point des Champs-Elysées
75008 Paris

The works will be sold in Zurich on 29 & 30 June 2018





Auctions in Zurich: 19 – 23 March 2018


(1623 Antwerp 1677)
Memento Mori still life. Oil on canvas. 73.5 x 92.5 cm.
Sold for CHF 538 000

At times the bidding seemed to know no bounds in Koller’s Old Master Paintings auction on 23 March. Numerous works sold for multiples of their pre-sale estimates, providing ample evidence (if any was needed) that the market for good-quality works in this field is still going strong. The top lot was a memento mori painting by 17th-century Flemish artist Carstian Luyckx, charged with fascinating symbolic imagery related to the politics of war. Estimated at CHF 30 000 – 40 000, the bidding soared to CHF 538 000, the second highest price ever realized by a work by Luyckx at auction. This rediscovered painting was a major revelation within the artist’s oeuvre.


(Antwerp 1599-1641 London)
Portrait of an Italian noblewoman. Oil on canvas. 48 x 37.7 cm.
Sold for CHF 264 500

Another sleeper was Anthony van Dyck’s portrait of an Italian noblewoman. Its imperfect condition prevented it from selling for much more than $50 000 the last time it was offered in New York in 1999, but this time it elicited extraordinary interest, and a battle between two telephone bidders finally ended at CHF 264 500. Further 17th-century works by Bernardo Strozzi, Meindert Hobbema and Clara Peeters also attained six-figure results amidst spirited bidding.


(Schladen 1784-1864 Munich)
Italian Cloister with view of Capri. 1855.
Oil on canvas. 87.2 x 107.7 cm.
Sold for CHF 78 500

Several 19th century paintings also sold well beyond expectations, such as a charming work by German artist Eduard Grützner depicting three monks happily examining an erotic engraving, which doubled its estimate at CHF 102 500, and a luminous Isle of Capri architectural scene and landscape by Leo von Klenze which sold for CHF 78 500 against an estimate of CHF 25 000 – 35 000.

Koller’s next Old Master & 19th Century auctions in September of this year will be a part of their 60th anniversary celebrations, which will commence during the Modern & Contemporary auctions this June.


Selected Highlights


River landscape. Circa 1663.

Oil on panel. 62.5 x 86.5 cm.

Sold for CHF 162 500



The Dominican convent near Amalfi. 1843.

Oil on canvas. 31.8 x 48 cm.

Sold for CHF 36 500



Still life with cat, fish, oysters and crayfish.

Oil on panel. 38 x 48 cm.

Sold for CHF 132 500




Secret study. 1892.

Oil on canvas. 38 x 48 cm.

Sold for CHF 156 500



Portrait of Paolo Gregorio Raggi, Governor of Corsica.

Oil on canvas. 135 x 111 cm.

Sold for CHF 216 500



Model by Johann Gottlieb Kirchner, probably painted by Gregorius Höroldt.

Circa 1727. H 22 cm.

Sold for CHF 78 500



Empire, stamped JACOB D.R. MESLEE, Paris circa 1810.

Created for Marshal-General Jean-de-Dieu Soult.

Sold for CHF 36 500



Campi Phlegraei. Observations on the Volcanos of the Two Siciles.

Naples, 1776-79.

Sold for CHF 78 500



After the Byzantine Triumphal Quadriga at St. Mark's Square

Venice, 17th century.

Sold for CHF 55 700


March auction catalogues with prices realised


Auction calendar 2018


Selling at auction with Koller


Carstian Luyckx's anti-war memento mori

Please click on the image to make it larger

This fascinating painting, recently rediscovered in a Swiss private collection, is a memento mori, intended to encourage the viewer to meditate on the transient nature of life, and on the vanity of pursuing earthly pleasures. The memento mori was a relatively common theme in the art of this period, and the symbols representing life’s brevity would have been clearly recognizable to viewers at the time. But alongside this theme runs a subtler and, for the time, less customary thread: an abhorrence of the horrors of war, and a condemnation of the all-powerful French King, Louis XIV.

The undercurrent of symbolism clearly refers to the invasion of the Spanish Netherlands by French forces under Louis XIV in 1667/68. The young French king took advantage of the death of the Spanish king Phillip IV to take possession of lands which he claimed were rightly his through his marriage to Maria Theresa, Philipp’s daughter. Thanks to a Spanish army weakened by a long war with Portugal, as well as savvy pre-invasion alliances the French formed with England, the Dutch United Provinces and the Holy Roman Empire, what became known as the War of Devolution turned out to be a series of relatively easy victories for Louis XIV’s army.


Adam Frans van der Meulen. Louis XIV with his army at the siege of Courtrai in 1667.

Although Antwerp, where Carstian Luyckx lived and painted, was not the scene of a major battle (though there was intense fighting within forty kilometres), the war seems to have profoundly affected the artist, as witnessed by the intense nature of this work, painted only a short time after the conflict.

The memento mori symbolism in this painting is dominated by a skeleton – as a representation of Death – which holds the principal place in the composition. With one hand it snuffs out a candle, and in the other it bears a parchment inscribed with a quote from the letter of St Paul to the Hebrews, Statutum est omnibus hominibus semel mori (“It is appointed unto men once to die”). At the skeleton’s feet lies an open book with scenes of eternal punishment of the damned. The artist sets a series of symbols referring to the pleasures of life against others representing death: three skulls and a series of timepieces (for the brevity of life) are positioned among musical instruments, playing cards, dice and roses – life’s enjoyment cut short by the harsh reality of its sudden end, the cause of which is implied by the nearby presence of a military trumpet.


(1623 Antwerp circa 1677)
Memento mori still life with musical instruments, books, sheet music, skeleton, skulls and armour (detail).
Oil on canvas. 73.5 x 92.5 cm.

Sold on 23 March 2018 for CHF 538 000

But what is particularly striking about the symbolism of this work is the apparent condemnation not only of war in general, but of one man’s role in its cause: the French king Louis XIV. The French crown and sceptre, symbols of Louis’s power, are prominently displayed among skulls and other representations of death. The skeleton stands next to a silk banner bearing the French royal coat of arms and the orders of Saint Michel and the Saint Esprit, but instead of a self-glorifying motto inscribed beneath, there is a stern reminder from the book of Job that Homo natus de muliere brevis vivens (“Man that is born of woman is of few days”). It was common in memento mori paintings to remind the viewer that death makes no distinction between the rich and poor, but the artist’s use here of the French royal arms and accoutrements of war – such as the aforementioned trumpet and the French officer’s suit of armour – as well as their close juxtaposition with common peasants’ implements such as a wooden bowl and a flail, does seem to be a direct condemnation of the author of the recent violence exerted upon his homeland.

Luyckx, who until now was known mainly for a series of still lifes with relatively few objects, is revealed here as a master of complex and finely crafted symbolism, as well as an artist who apparently struggled with the effects of international power clashes upon the humble populace. In the end, it seems he can only take solace in the quote from Horace inscribed on the stone pedestal: Pallida mors aequo pulsat pede pauperum tabernas regumque turres (“Pale death strikes in similar fashion in the huts of the poor and in the palaces of kings”).

The seating furniture of the Maréchal Soult

by Jean-Dominique Augarde

Jean-de-Dieu Soult, Maréchal d'Empire and Duke of Dalmatia, circa 1825

This “meuble de salon”, as it was called at the time, is practically unique in that such sets of furniture – created more than two centuries ago for a particular room in a specific dwelling – have become exceedingly rare today, even worthy of a place in a museum. The execution of the pieces themselves is also quite exceptional.

The seat of seating furniture was ordered by Jean-de-Dieu Soult (1769-1851), one of the most brilliant officers of the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic wars, considered by Napoleon to be “le premier manoeuvrier de l’Europe” (the finest tactician in Europe). Named “Maréchal d’Empire” in 1804, and Duke of Dalmatia in 1808, King Louis-Philippe granted Soult the title of “maréchal general de France” in 1847, a designation which was only awarded seven times over three centuries.

Concerning the Peninsular War, in which Soult was very active, the historian José Cabanis wrote, “Never before had there been so many military art collectors, and among them the Maréchal Soult was the happiest.” Soult amassed an exceptional collection of paintings, which along with those of Wellington and Louis-Philippe, was one of the largest collections of Spanish art outside of Spain. The sale of his collection at auction was a major event. The Marquess of Hertford, whose possessions would later form the core of the fabulous Wallace Collection, commented, “As for M. Soult’s pictures I am told they are to be put at such prices that it will be impossible to make a bid & I rather think I shall do nothing in that quarter”. Murillo’s Immaculate Conception was sold to the French government for the then-unheard-of sum of 586 000 francs.


Empire, stamped JACOB D.R. MESLEE, Paris circa 1810.
Comprised of six fauteuils "en gondole", two chaises "en gondole", a large divan and a pair of small "tête-à-tête"canapés.
Auction: 22 March 2018
Estimate: CHF 30 000 – 60 000

Soult’s collection was displayed on the walls of his sumptuous residence, the hôtel de Chalais, on the rue de l’Université (no longer extant), which he acquired in 1803. Built by Le Boursier in 1786 for the prince of Chalais, it was renovated and redecorated for Soult by François-Nicolas Hanry, known as Trou. The renovations continued throughout the reign of Napoleon. Among the rooms there were a large Salon Doré, a Salon de Flore, a Salon d’Été, a Salon Militaire, a Salon de l’Empereur, a Salon des Aides de Camp and a gallery. The principal artisans read like a Who’s Who of French master craftsmen of the time : Jacob-Desmalter and Cercous for the furniture, Delafontaine Père & Fils for the clocks, decorative bronzes and fireplaces, Ravrio and Feuchère for the chandeliers, and Sallandrouze for the carpets.

Of supreme elegance, this complete set of seating furniture is a rare witness to the magnificence and imagination which presided over the decoration of the residences of high-ranking dignitaries during the Empire period under Napoleon I.

Auctions in Zurich: 4 – 9 December 2017


“Well over 1 000 bidders from over 30 countries and a very lively atmosphere in the saleroom – moments like this are what an auctioneer lives for.” – Cyril Koller, auctioneer.

Of the 470 works of modern and contemporary art which came under the hammer during Koller’s auctions on 8 and 9 December, 80% found buyers. The total result of 8 million Swiss francs exceeded the total of low estimates by 15%. Bidders in the standing-room-only saleroom competed with numerous telephone bidders, as well as online bidders who were often active into the five figures.


Thinking Nude, State I. 1994.
Colour relief print. 89.9 x 142 cm.
Sold for CHF 222 500 (auction record for this print)

With a result of CHF 222 500 (EUR 190 000), Roy Lichtenstein’s colour relief print “Thinking Nude, State I” (lot 3731) became the highest-priced print from this series ever to be sold at auction. The successful bidder for a work on paper by Mark Tobey, “Blue Interval” (lot 3414) was spontaneously applauded by the saleroom after a long bidding war ended at CHF 140 900 (EUR 121 000), more than 12 times the pre-sale estimate. A Chinese collector won the bidding for two works by an important representative of Lyrical Abstraction, Chu The-Chun (lots 3461 and 3462). The paintings were acquired directly from the artist in 1987, and reached CHF 240 000 (EUR 206 000) and CHF 264 000 (EUR 227 000).


Waldgracht mit Segeln (Canal in a forest with sailboats). 1943.
Oil on canvas.
Sold for CHF 503 500

The top lot of the Impressionist and Modern Art auction was Max Beckmann’s landscape, “Waldgracht mit Segeln” (Canal in the woods with sailboats) (lot 3228). Painted in 1932 during the artist’s exile in Amsterdam, it was shortly thereafter purchased from the important dealer Günther Franke by the parents of the present consignors (CHF 500 000 / EUR 430 000). From the same excellent provenance, an expressivefigurative work by Ernst Wilhelm Nay, “Das Duett” (lot 3258) more than tripled its pre-sale estimate at CHF 360 000 (EUR 310 000). An impressionistic landscape by Gustave Loiseau (lot 3212) also tripled its estimate, selling to a German collector for CHF 240 000 (EUR 206 000). The CHF 300 500 (EUR 258 000) paid for “Corbeille de mandarines et bananes” by Felix Vallotton (lot 3057) was one of the highest at auction for a still life by this artist, nicely rounding off the excellent results of this auction series.


Selected Highlights


Untitled. 1987.

Oil on canvas. 73 x 92 cm.

Sold for CHF 264 500



Das Duett. 1946.

Oil on canvas. 56 x 79 cm.

Sold for CHF 198 500



Corbeille de mandarines et bananes. 1923.

Oil on canvas. 50 x 65 cm.

Sold for CHF 300 500



Selected highlights from other departments


Sino-Tibetan, 15th/16th century.

Sold for CHF 156 500



Catchpole & Williams, circa 1890.

Sold for CHF 234 500



Naomi Campbell, New York City, 2011.

Sold for CHF 32 900


December auction catalogues with prices realised


Auction calendar 2018


Selling at auction with Koller


Auction in Zurich, 7 December 2017


The December auction for wristwatches and pocket watches at Koller Zurich recorded a sell-through rate of 94% by lot. A German private collector purchased one of the first automatic wristwatches by Patek Philippe with a perpetual calendar.


Rare wristwatch with perpetual calendar. 1985.
Sold for CHF 210 000

91 lots, 87 sold: yet another excellent result for a Watches auction at Koller Zurich. Since its first stand-alone auction in 2015, Koller’s watch department has managed in just a few years to build up an international clientele, regularly realising top prices for rare models.

The highlight of the December auction was one of the first automatic wristwatches by Patek Philippe with a perpetual calendar. Created in 1985,this ref. 3450 was not only in impeccable condition, but bore the distinguished “Gübelin” name as well as the coveted automatic movement with calibre 27-460QB. The extremely rare timepiece sold for CHF 210 000 to a private German collector (lot 2555). A Rolex GMT Master II from 2015 in yellow gold set with diamonds, rubies and sapphires changed wrists for CHF 46 100 (lot 2542). Also among the top lots were two Rolex Day-Date watches from 2010. The platinum model with a diamond dial sold for CHF 30 500 (lot 2541), and the yellow gold example with a dial set with diamonds and rubies fetched CHF 24 500 (lot 2544). The highest price paid for a pocket watch in this auction was CHF 14 900 for a circa 1800 museumquality watch by Lepine in pink gold with fine enamel decoration (lot 2566).


Highlights since 2016


GMT Master II with diamonds, rubies and sapphires. 2015.

18K yellow gold. Ref. 116758.

Sold in Dec. 2017 for CHF 46 100



Day-Date with diamond-set dial. 2010.

Platinum. Ref. 218206.

Sold in Dec. 2017 for CHF 30 500



Museum-quality enamel digital jump-hour pocket watch.

Circa 1800. Rose gold.

Sold in Dec. 2017 for CHF 14 900




II Destriero Scafusia "Grand Complication", 1990s.

Limited edition, ref. 1868, no 15/125.

Sold in June 2017 for CHF 92 900



Daytona "Double Swiss", circa 1964.

Stainless steel. Ref. 6239 / 6238.

Sold in June 2017 for CHF 108 500



Rare perpetual calendar. 1951.

Rose gold. Ref. 1526.

Sold in June 2017 for CHF 114 500




Jumbo Nautilis. 1978.

18K yellow gold. Ref. 3700/1.

Sold in June 2017 for CHF 46 100



Complicated minute repeater with fly-back chronograph and minute counter, circa 1911.

Sold in Dec. 2016 for CHF 30 500



Very rare chronograph with two-tone dial 1961.

Stainless steel. Ref. 1463.

Sold in December 2016 for CHF 456 500


Catalogue with prices realised


Further information about watches at Koller


A closer look at an imperial temple figure of Cakrasamvara Yab-Yum

Regi Preiswerk, Head of Department for Asian Art at Koller, presents at an important temple figure from the Kangxi period. Learn more about this terrifying-looking deity, and its surprisingly benevolent place within Tantric Buddhism.

See lot

“If I hadn't become a painter, I would have become a gardener”

Silke Stahlschmidt, Head of Koller's PostWar & Contemporary Department, speaks about the fascinating painting by abstract expressionist artist Theodoros Stamos, “Very Low Sun Box” from 1964/65. She explains how through the use of shimmering colours and the thoughtful positioning of the elements, Stamos creates a powerful and energy-filled work.

See lot

Mira Schendel

Mira Schendel and Little Nothing, London, 1966.
Photo: Clay Perry

Born in Zurich in 1919 to a Jewish family of Italian-German origins, Myrrha Dagmar Dub grew up in Milan. The growth of Fascism in Europe forced her to flee first to Sofia in 1930 and then later to Sarajevo. In 1944 she returned to Italy and then emigrated to Brazil in 1949. Only then did the former philosophy student begin to dedicate herself to art.

In Brazil in the 1950s there raged a passionate debate about the significance of art in a modern post war society. On the one side stood the defenders of figurative art, which was seen as the symbol of nationalism and revolution; on the other side were the supporters of abstraction, which was seen as a unique opportunity for the renewal of art after the experiences of the war.


(Zurich 1919 - 1988 Sao Paulo)
Untitled (from the series: Silver and gold small squares/Quadradinho de oura e prata). 1982.
Silver leaf, charcoal and oil on firm paper.
32 x 21 cm.
CHF 4 000 – 6 000
Auction: 9 December 2017

Mira Schendel was influenced by both sides, but in the end turned to neither group. Starting with figurative work, she turned again and again to abstraction, in which her distinct interest in materiality played a great role. Above all, for her the making of a work – the handmade element – represented a connection between the real world and the artist. The present work from 1982 powerfully demonstrates her love of experimentation, with the use of various types of paper, and the importance of materiality within her work.

Alongside Lygia Clark and Hélio Oiticica, Mira Schendel is one of the most important Brazilian artists of the second half of the 20th century.

Auctions in Zurich: 18 – 22 September 2017

Enthusiastic bidding for Old Masters and antiques at Koller

Koller’s “antiques week” of auctions in Zurich produced impressive results, with several prices in the mid-six figures, and active bidding for both fine and decorative arts from the Renaissance through the 19th century. Cyril Koller, president of Koller Auctions, commented,“What was evident during this auction series is that alongside the success of Modern & Contemporary Art, there is still very much interest – I would say even a growing interest – in the arts of the past centuries. Bidding was particularly strong for good-quality works from private collections”.



(circa 1594 Utrecht 1624)

Violin player with a wine glass. 1623.
Oil on canvas. 80.4 x 67.1 cm.

A rare 17th-century portrait of a violin player by a Dutch follower of Caravaggio sold for over half a million Swiss francs during Koller Zurich’s Old Master & 19th Century Paintings auction on 22 September. The artist, Dirck van Baburen, painted the work during a brief and fascinating period in Dutch painting. Van Baburen was a part of an artistic movement in Utrecht from 1621 – 1626 whose members emulated the dramatic painting style of Caravaggio (1571 – 1610). After travelling to Rome to study the recently departed master’s works, they returned to Holland and employed his stark chiascuro lighting and monochrome backgrounds, becoming known as the Utrecht caravaggisti . Since his career was cut short by his death in his early 30s, very few works by van Baburen are known, which explains the very active bidding at Koller’s auction for this lively portrait, recently rediscovered in a private collection.

Sold for CHF 595 000


(circa 1594 Feodosia 1624)

View of a steep, rocky coast and a rough sea at sunset. 1883.
Oil on canvas. 66 x 103 cm.

An important work by Russian artist Ivan Konstantinovich Aivazovsky also realized over a half-million Swiss francs. “View of a steep, rocky coast and a rough sea at sunset” (1883) demonstrates Aivazovsky’s pure mastery of brushstroke and effect, and rendered it irresistible to its new owner. Another highlight of the sale was a charming genre scene by 19th-century German artist Carl Spitzweg. The smallformat (30 x 14 cm) work, typical for the artist, sold for CHF 300 500 (lot 3218).

Sold for CHF 618 500


Further Highlights, Old Master & 19th Century Paintings:


Crucifixion. 1325-30.

Tempera and gold on panel. 35 x 21 cm.

Sold for CHF 96 500



Still life with Römer, pewter dish and peeled lemon. 1634.

Oil on panel. 41 x 31 cm.

Sold for CHF 198 500



Der Gratulant. Circa 1860.

Oil on oak panel. 28.6 x 14.2 cm.

Sold for CHF 300 500


Catalogue with prices realised, Old Master Paintings.

Catalogue with prices realised, 19th Century Paintings.



Russia, 1667/68.
Sold for CHF 164 900


The F. F. von Uthemann collection of important Russian silver at Koller Zurich on 21 September was a resounding success. The collection of eleven works, which had been in a private family collection for over a century, comprised silver creations from the 17th – 19th centuries, some with royal connections. Altogether, the sale of the collection totalled over CHF 375 000.

The top lots of the collection were two 17th-century silver-gilt kovsh drinking vessels, presented by Russian Czars to their subjects in reward for loyal service: one by Alexis of Russia, and the other by Ivan V and Peter the Great. Such royal gifts are extremely rare today and practically impossible to find outside of museums. The two kovsh sold for CHF 164 900 and CHF 152 900, more than four times their pre-sale estimates.


Louis XV. Venice, circa 1730/40
Sold for CHF 408 500


The Furniture auction featured a North Italian Rococo polychrome decorated commode which sold for an impressive CHF 408 500. The commode, from an Italian private collection, was not only in excellent condition but was one of the highest-quality pieces of its type to come to the market in recent years. In the specially curated section of the auction entitled “Baroque to Belle Epoque”, two lots stood out: a pair of Italian neoclassical marble vases after a model by Piranese (CHF 132 500), and a Louis XV lady’s marquetry writing desk attributed to Pierre Roussel (CHF 101 300).

Further Highlights, Furniture & Decorative Arts:


Louis XVI, after drawings by G. B. Piranesi

Italy, circa 1780/1800.

Sold for CHF 132 500



Moscow 1681/82. TParcel-gilt. The center engraved

with a crowned double-headed eagle.

Sold for CHF 152 900



Paris, circa 1760.

Louix XV, attributed to Pierre Roussel.

Sold for CHF 101 300


Catalogue with prices realised, Furniture & Decorative Arts.

Catalogues with prices realised: Jewellery, Books & Autographs, Old Master & 19th Century Drawings and Prints, Carpets.

Modern & Contemporary Art / Swiss Art

Auctions in Zurich: 30 June – 1 July 2017

Strong results at Koller for Modern, Contemporary and Swiss Art: 126% sold by value

The auctions of Modern, Contemporary & Swiss Art at Koller Zurich realized an impressive score, with total prices well above the pre-sale estimates. Strong results were recorded for an early work by Alberto Giacometti, as well as for German artists such as Max Liebermann, Emil Nolde, Franz von Stuck, and Ernst Wilhelm Nay. This accomplishment comes the day after a white-glove auction of Watches at Koller on 29 June, in which 100% of the lots found buyers and the prices realized totalled over 200% of the pre-sale estimates.

“These sales contained a particularly attractive selection of works, almost all from private collections and for the first time on the market,” said Cyril Koller, President of Koller Auctions and the auctioneer for the sales. “A combination like this is in itself a recipe for success, but we also noticed a strong tendency on the part of bidders to pursue their purchases more tenaciously than in the recent past.” Koller also noted a significant increase in new bidders across the board in their auctions during the first semester.
read more

Selected Results:


Monte del Forno. Circa 1923.

Oil on Canvas. 60 x 50 cm.

Sold for: CHF 940 500



Theodora. 1914.

Oil on Canvas. 125 x 200 cm.

Sold for: CHF 538 000



Mit vielfältigem Gelb. 1958.

Oil on Canvas. 100 x 81 cm.

Sold for: CHF 186 500



Grosse Seestrasse in Wannsee.

Oil on Canvas. 73 x 91.5 cm.

Sold for: CHF 561 000



Kleiner Dampfer. 1910.

Oil on Canvas. 34.5 x 28 cm.

Sold for: CHF 372 500



Simplement Rouge. 1998/99.

Oil on canvas. 300 x 500 cm.

Sold for: CHF 36 500




Spectacular auction results for Asian Art in Zurich:

The 13-14 June Asian Art auctions at Koller Zurich were enormously successful, with a string of top prices for Chinese & Himalayan art, particularly for three rare Chinese Imperial artworks from a private collection - which alone realized 2.64 million Swiss Francs - as well as for lamaistic sculpture from the Himalaya region, which saw very competitive bidding and record prices.

The two-day auction series realized in total 8.4 million Swiss Francs, against a pre-sale estimate of 2.9 million, making it the most successful Asian Art auction of any European auction house this season.

Regi Preiswerk, Head of Department for Asian Art at Koller: "We were thrilled to be able to offer these magnificent works in our auction. Because of an intensive marketing campaign in China, including our presence at the International Antiques Fair in Hong Kong, we attracted a significant number of new bidders and buyers to the auction, whom we are pleased to welcome to Koller’s clientele."

Three important Chinese imperial artworks from a private collection were featured in Koller’s 13 June auction, and their presence created a wave of excitement that was felt as far as Beijing and Hong Kong. The three items - a carved palace partition, a pair of Imperial bronze censers, and a bronze bell with an emperor’s inscription, were in a German private collection for over 100 years and came to the market for the first time in Koller Auction’s sale. The three lots will all very likely return to China.

Antique Chinese bell changes hands for 1.2 million Swiss Francs
Dating from the 18th century, the bronze bell bears an inscription from the Chinese emperor Qianlong (1711-1799). Shepherds found eleven antique “bozhong” bells from a set of twelve in 1761, and they were brought to the imperial court. In order to complete the set of twelve distinct tones, the Emperor had this twelfth bell cast and inscribed. After a prolonged, tense bidding war, the bell sold to a Chinese bidder for CHF 1.2 million.

Masterfully carved room divider realizes nearly a million

According to Koller’s research, the masterfully carved palace partition was very likely made for the living quarters of the Empress Dowager Cixi (1835-1908). This type of partition with pierced carving was a typical element of interior decoration for imperial palaces of the Qing period in China. In Beijing two other examples with octagonal doorways are known: a room divider in the Chuxiugong palace hall, a residential building in the western area of the Forbidden City, and another in the Yiluandian Palace, but which was completely destroyed by fire in 1901. The partition in Koller’s auction is the only one of its type ever offered for public sale, and realised CHF 940 500.

Imperial bronze censers sell for more than eight times the pre-sale estimate The Imperial provenance of this pair of unusual bronze censers was never in doubt, as comparable examples only exist in front of two palaces in the Forbidden City, as well as at the entrance of Beihei Park (which was formerly also part of the Imperial city). Representing mythical dragon-turtles, or Bixi, bidding for the pair quickly rose far above the pre-sale estimate and finally ended at CHF 486 000.

The demand for lamaistic art from the Himalayan region was very strong in Koller’s 13 June auction, and several sculptures made top prices, such as a very early Buddha Shakyamuni from the Pala Empire that sold for CHF 1.17 million, a Nepalese figure from the Khasa-Malla Kingdom that fetched CHF 538 000, and a wonderfully serene Tibetan figure of a standing Bodhisattva that changed hands for CHF 756 000.

For further information and online catalogues, please click here.




China, Qianlong. Dated 1761. H 85 cm.

With inscription by Emperor Qianlong.

Sold for CHF 1.2 million



Northeast India, Pala, 8th / 9th century. H 16.5 cm.

Bronze with silver and copper inlay.

Sold for CHF 1.17 million



China, 19. Jh.

287 x 396 x 11 cm.

Sold for CHF 940 500


Tibet, 14th century. H 27 cm.

Semi-precious stone inlay.

Sold for CHF 756 500


Nepal, Khasa Malla Kingdom, 14th century. H 23 cm.

Sold for CHF 538 000



China, Qing Dynasty. 14.5 x 21.5 cm.

Decorated with eight Luohans and inscriptions.

Sold for CHF 515 000



China, 18th / 19th century. L 42 cm.

Sold for CHF 486 250


China, Ming Dynasty. H 81 cm.

Sold for CHF 288 500


China, early 19th century. H 204 cm.

Sold for CHF 240 500



Tibet, 16th century. H 27 cm.

Sold for CHF 180 500


An important imperial Chinese palace partition
for the first time ever at auction

Regi Preiswerk, Head of Department and Specialist for Asian Art at Koller, presents a magificently carved palace room divider, which comes to auction after over 100 years in a German private collection.

Special catalogue (PDF)

Online Catalogue

Dadamaino and the quest for immateriality


"Dada Maino has overcome the ‘problem of painting’: different parameters inform her work: her paintings are the flags of a new world, they are a new meaning: they are not content with ‘saying something different’: they also say something new”. (Piero Manzoni, 1961)

In the 1950s and 60s the world was in upheaval and, even within art, artists were questioning its traditional concepts. Lucio Fontana was the one who, with a simple slash of the canvas, broke with centuries of artistic tradition, and enabled future generations to experience an unbelievable freedom in their thinking and to put it into practice. This new generation of the avant-garde included Piero Manzoni, Enrico Castellani and Dadamaino. Indebted to Fontana, they demanded and implemented a radical revision of ideas. Manzoni wrote to them in 1961: “The emergence of new conditions and new problems brings with it the need for new solutions, methods, and measures. We cannot leave the ground by running or jumping: we need wings for that. Modifications are not sufficient. The transformation must be total. For this reason, we do not understand the painters who declare themselves interested in new problems, but at the same time still stand before a canvas, with the aim of filling it with forms and colours of more or less good taste. (…) Why should we not finally liberate these surfaces? Why don’t we finally understand that art history is not a history of the painter, but the history of discovery and the one who renews?” (quote from: Flaminio Gualdoni, in: Dadamaino, Leonberg, p.7).


(1930 Milan 2004)
Oggetto Ottico Dinamico. 1965.
Milled aluminium on panel.
50 x 50 cm.
CHF 35 000 – 45 000
Auction: 1 July 2017

These ideas, which were radical for the time, were taken to heart by Eduarda Emilia Maino, known as Dadamaino, who in her first series of works, “Volumi”, cut round or oval forms in the canvas. The influence of Fontana’s “Buchi” (holes) cannot be denied, as she herself said: “I always hated matter and sought immateriality. Of course, Fontana played a decisive role in the history of my painting ... if Fontana had not pierced the canvas, probably I would not have dared to do so either. It totally removed matter to the point of making visible parts of the canvas, to remove any material element, to deprive it of any such rhetoric and return to tabula rasa, in purity.” These works were shown in the same year at her first exhibition at Galleria dei Bossi in Milan. Shortly afterwards she joined Manzoni’s Galerie Azimuth, which was ideally linked to artists in Europe thinking along similar lines: the Zero-Group in Germany with Otto Piene and Heinz Mack, the Nul Group in the Netherlands with Jan Schoonhoven, and the Motus Group in France. In 1961, she took part in an exhibition in the Netherlands, where her name was written wrongly by mistake, which led to her artist name of Dadamaino. In 1962, she joined the group “Nouvelle Tendance”, which included the artist Raphael Soto.

With the series “Oggetto Ottico Dinamico”, from which the present work comes, Dadamaino was turning increasingly towards Op-Art and to a certain extent Kinetic Art. She drew up meticulous specifications on size, shaping, the relationship between the filled and empty parts of a work, and the arrangement of the plates. “The sides of the composite squares create a spherical impression, which produces a flowing dynamic. The particular arrangement of the shaping on the plates cancels out entirely, or only in a section, the overall view of the work, with a series of unstable elements, which change, depending on the position of the viewer in relation to the work. Although the object is static, it arouses an impression of continuous movement and variation.” (quote from, ibid, p. 8).

Koller Auctions sponsors an important exhibition of works by Ivan Federovich Choultsé

Koller Auctions sponsored an important exhibition of the works of Ivan Fedorovich Choultsé in the Mouravieff-Apostol House and Museum in Moscow (17 February – 2 April 2017). The exhibition was organised by Vadim Goncharenko, our representative in Moscow for over 15 years and the author of the first comprehensive monograph on the Russian artist.

The exhibition benefited from extensive coverage by the Russian media, and the opening was attended by thousands of visitors. Choultsé enjoyed such fame in his lifetime, but until recently his works were all but forgotten – and so it is a particular pleasure for Koller to help bring these superb landscapes back into the public eye. In autumn of 2017 a second exhibition is planned in the artist’s birthplace, St Petersburg.

Snapshots from the opening party:













Works by Choultsé in our upcoming March auctions:

IVAN FEDEROVIC CHOULTSE (St. Petersburg 1874-1939 Nice)

Scène d'hiver dans les Alpes. 1923.

Oil on canvas. 54 x 65 cm.

CHF 70 000 - 90 000


IVAN FEDEROVIC CHOULTSE (St. Petersburg 1874-1939 Nice)

Soir doré (Pays Basque).

Oil on canvas. 54.5 x 65.5 cm.

CHF 60 000 - 80 000

IVAN FEDEROVIC CHOULTSE (St. Petersburg 1874-1939 Nice)

Lever de Lune (Méditerranée).

Oil on canvas. 65 x 92 cm.

CHF 50 000 - 70 000

Renaissance documents containing exciting discoveries to be offered in Koller’s Books & Autographs auction on 1 April

A portion of the Tabula Peutingeriana

An exciting group of documents related to Conrad Peutinger (1465-1547) will be offered in Koller‘s April 1st auction of Books & Manuscripts. Peutinger, a humanist scholar, ambassador and politician from Augsburg, exerted considerable influence in his lifetime, but is best remembered today for a map in his collection, the Tabula Peutingeriana. A medieval copy of an ancient Roman map, it is the only surviving example of a Roman mapmaking tradition. Drawn on a parchment scroll 6.75 meters long is the entire network of Roman roads, extending from the southern coast of England to India and even parts of China in the East. Being horizontal in format, the map is necessarily schematic, but distances between points are indicated, making it possible for the medieval traveller to plan a trip from, say, Geneva to Constantinople and to know what lay ahead on each day’s journey.

The Tabula Peutingeriana was left to Peutinger in the last testament of his friend and fellow humanist scholar, Conrad Celtis (1459-1508). Celtis was somewhat vague as to the source of the map, saying that he “found” it in a library. But a document which is offered in Koller’s auction may shed some light on the origins of this discovery (lot 533). In a series of notes about a map belonging to the Matthäus Lang von Wellenburg, Bishop of Gurk and later Archbishop of Salzburg (1468-1540), Peutinger refers to the map as a Carta Magna. In the inventory of his own library, Peutinger refers to the famous map given to him by Celtis as a charta longa. If these “great” and “long” maps are actually references to the same document, this could well be a new and sensational clue as to the origins of this historically unique manuscript.

A contemporary portrait of Conrad Peutinger by Christoph Amberger. 

Another recently rediscovered document by Peutinger in the auction is a treatise on the relationship between royalty and the papacy: a burning issue, particularly at the time this was written – at the height of the Protestant reformation (lot 532). Peutinger was a trusted advisor of Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I (1459-1519), and Maximilian likely took the Augsburg humanist’s historic and legal arguments into account when he broke with tradition and became the first Holy Roman Emperor not to be crowned by the pope in Rome, crowning himself in Trent instead. This document underscores Peutinger’s importance within the power structure and the humanist movement of his time.

The items in this auction related to Peutinger are found under lots numbers 531 - 534. The auction will be held on 1 April 2017 beginning at 2pm CET.

Auctions in Zurich from 30 November - 8 December
Modern & Contemporary Art, Swiss Art, Jewellery, Watches, 20th Century Decorative Arts
, Asian Art

The auctions for Modern, Contemporary & Swiss Art realise 98% by value. The entire week-long auction series attains 91%.

Koller’s end-of-the year auctions saw strong prices realised for works by Keith Haring, Ai Weiwei & Banksy, a work by Albert Anker sold for over one million, and excellent results for the recently created Photographs and Watches departments, including a rare Patek Philippe wristwatch sold for nearly half a million.

Red, Yellow, Blue #22. 1987. Sold for CHF 408 500.

Modern & Contemporary Art
Keith Haring and Ai Weiwei share the stage with Picasso and Renoir

Keith Haring’s “Red, Yellow & Blue #22”, given by the artist to Austrian songwriter, poet and actor André Heller on the occasion of his son’s birth , sold for above its presale estimate at CHF 408 500 (lot 3477). A beautifully crafted pierced sphere by Chinese conceptual artist and dissident Ai Weiwei (lot 3486) fetched CHF 228 500. The series of prints and ceramics by Picasso enjoyed unbridled success, for example the wonderful “Danaé” linoleum cut from 1962 which realized CHF 66 500 (lot 3659). Louise Bourgeois’ virtually unique print “Girl with Hair” changed hands for CHF 60 500 (lot 3744), and “Choose your Weapon”, a colour screenprint by street artist Banksy, sold for CHF 22 100 (lot 3761).

Auguste Renoir’s “Pré, arbres et femmes” from circa 1899 sold for a robust CHF 264 500 (lot 3204), and a new world record for Italian artist Vittorio Zecchin was set for his Klimt-like canvas from 1914, “Le Mille e una Notte”, when it changed hands for CHF 120 500 (lot 3215).

Selected results, Modern & Contemporary Art:


Pré, arbres et femmes. Circa 1899.

Oil on canvas.

Sold for CHF 264 500



Untitled (Foster Divina). 2010.

Sold for CHF 228 500


Danaé. 1962. Linoleum cut.

Sold for CHF 66 500

ALBERT ANKER. Grandmother and sleeping boy. Sold for CHF 1.17 million.

Swiss Art
Albert Anker painting sells for over one million

A touching genre scene by Albert Anker depicting an elderly woman with her grandchild asleep by the hearth realized CHF 1.17 million in the 2 December auction (lot 3032), and a lovely sunset view of the Lake of Geneva by Francois Bocion sold for CHF 102 500 (lot 3016). Highlights from 20th century Swiss artists included a still life by Felix Vallotton (CHF 144 500, lot 3094) and a large portrait of a stylish apprentice by Varlin which fetched CHF 120 500 (lot 3089).

Selected results, Swiss Art:


Vase vert et bol blanc. 1919.

Oil on canvas.

Sold for CHF 144 500



Lueg. 1930.
Oil on canvas.

Sold for CHF 132 500

VARLIN (Willy Guggenheim)

"L'Italiana". 1962.
Oil and chalk on unprimed canvas.

Sold for CHF 120 500

THOMAS HOEPKER. Muhammad Ali showing off his right fist. Archival pigment print, circa 2009.
Sold for CHF 20 900

Success for a new department

Koller’s first stand-alone auction of Photographs in over a decade realised some strong prices, particularly for images of Muhammad Ali by German photojournalist Thomas Hoepker. The dramatic and rare “Right Fist” photo more than doubled its low estimate at CHF 20 900 (lot 1716), and an image of Ali praying before a bout realized CHF 16 100 (lot 1719). Richard Avedon’s unforgettable portrait of Archbishop Desmond Tutu sold for CHF 17 300 (lot 1727), and a series of portraits of Marilyn Monroe taken by Bert Stern realised strong prices, such as “Marilyn Monroe with Jewellery”, a later print which sold nonetheless for CHF 19 700 (lot 1699).

Selected results, Photographs:


Evening at the Lake of Silvaplana. 1919.

Silver gelatin print, after 1950.

Sold for CHF 11 250



"Marilyn Monroe 1961".
Archival pigment print, later edition. Probably 2013.

Sold for CHF 11 250


Marilyn Monroe with Jewellery.
Archival pigment print, later edition. Circa 2009.

Sold for CHF 19 700

PATEK PHILIPPE. Chronograph with two-tone dial, 1961. Ref. 1463. Sold for CHF 456 500.

Watches & Jewellery
Rare Patek Philippe sells for nearly half a million

The Watches auction on 30 November featured an extremely rare Patek Philippe steel chronograph from 1961. A legendary watch for serious collectors, reference number 1463 was Patek Philippe’s first waterproof wristwatch, produced from 1940 through circa 1965 in a total of only about 750 watches. Most were in yellow gold, making the stainless steel examples highly collectible, and the impeccable condition of the watch offered at Koller rendered it practically irresistible to collectors. After an intense bidding battle, the watch sold for CHF 456 500 (lot 2574, est. CHF 180 000 – 300 000).

The rest of the Watches auction was also a resounding success, with 94% sold by lot, and nearly 200% by value. Uwe Vischer, Director of the Watches Department at Koller, commented: “We are very pleased to see the positive evolution of Koller’s Watch auctions – in just eighteen months of stand-alone auctions we have managed to attract a loyal, international clientele, ready to pay top prices such as that achieved for the Patek Philippe 1463.”

The highlight of Koller’s 30 November Jewellery auction was a beautiful Burmese ruby and diamond ring. The unheated 7.05 ct ruby attracted numerous bidders, and it sold for more than double its presale estimate at CHF 228 500 (lot 2122, est. CHF 90 000 – 140 000). Signed pieces continued to sell well, such as a pear-shaped diamond ring by Düsseldorf jeweler René Kern which garnered CHF 168 500 (lot 2024), and a platinum and diamond Art Deco bracelet by Van Cleef & Arpels which sold for CHF 126 500 (lot 2206).

Selected results, Watches & Jewellery:


Very fine oval Burma ruby of 7.05 ct, unheated.

Sold for CHF 228 500



Perpetual calendar. 2001.
Ref. 3940J.

Sold for CHF 35 300


Circa 1930. Platinum.
Sold for CHF 126 500

EMILE GALLE. Vase, circa 1900. Sold for CHF 11 250.

20th Century Decorative Arts
Modern tapestries and Gallé glassware in high demand

Modern tapestries were once again among the most highly sought-after items in the 2 December auction, with a “Dirty Blues” tapestry designed by Alexander Calder selling for CHF 29 300, well above its presale estimate (lot 1249). Classic Emile Gallé glassware also sold well, such as an aquatic-motif vase which garnered CHF 11 250 (lot 1076). The top lot among the Art Nouveau lots was a silver and enamel jewellery box by Josef Hoffmann - its clean design effectively bridges the gap between the art of the turn of the 20th century and Modernism (lot 1093, CHF 28 100).

Selected results, 20th Century Decorative Arts:


"Dirty Blues" tapestry. 

Artist's proof.

Sold for CHF 29 300



A polished steel "Diapason"desk.
Designed 1968 for Studio Most ed.

Sold for CHF 20 900


A silver and enamel jewellery box. Circa 1905.

Sold for CHF 28 100

A RARE PAINTED ARMOIRE. Conrad Starck (1769-1817). Appenzell, 18th century. Sold for CHF 58 100.

The Fröhlich Collection
Success for decorative folk art collection from St. Gallen

The Alpine furniture and decorative arts from the estate the well-known St. Gallen antiques dealer Hansueli Fröhlich found numerous bidders and buyers in Koller West’s 1 December auction. Over 180 lots of the finest of Eastern Switzerland folk art were offered, often brightly painted and always of the highest quality, selected over the decades of the antique dealer’s career. The top lot was a rare painted armoire by Appenzell artist Conrad Starck (1769-1817), which realized CHF 60 000 (lot 4156). Altogether the auction realized almost 150% sold by value.

Selected results, The Fröhlich Collection:


Gothic, Winterthur, dated 1597.

Monogrammed UL (Ulrich and Andreas Liechti).

Sold for CHF 34 100



Grisons, 16th/17th century.

Sold for CHF 6 875


Toggenburg, circa 1800.

Sold for CHF 2 500


Asian Art
Tibetan Buddhas still in high demand, success as well for the jade carving collection

Buddhist sculpture from Tibet realized strong prices during the two-day auction of Asian Art at Koller Zurich on 7 & 8 December. The top lot was a 16th/17th century gilt copper alloy figure of the Vairocana, one of the primordial Buddhas, with a profoundly peaceful smiling expression (lot 115), which attained CHF 144 500 - almost triple its pre-sale estimate. Among other Buddhist figures with notable results were a 15th-century Tibetan figure of the eleven-headed god of mercy, Avalokiteshvara, which sold for CHF 138 500 (lot 111), and an elegant stone-inlaid figure of Maitreya (lot 108), which garnered CHF 62 900.

Huanghuali wood continues to be highly sought-after, as evidenced by the CHF 72 500 paid for a 19th-century two-door cabinet (lot 295). The collection of jade carvings in the sale did especially well, led by a charming Qing Dynasty white and russet jade carving of a recumbent camel which fetched CHF 30 500 (lot 185). Among the porcelain in this auction, two finely copper-red decorated “sanduo” bowls – so-called because of its depiction of the “three abundances” fruit, or “sanduo” (peach, pomegranate and lychee) – attained CHF 72 500 (lot 379).

The top lot among the Japanese and Southeast Asian art was a monumental dry-lacquer Buddha from Burma. This 18th/19th century sculpture, reputedly from a Bellikon Castle in Switzerland, measures almost three metres high and shows the Buddha seated in deep meditation (lot 459, CHF 46 100).

Selected results, Asian Art:


Tibet, 16th/17th century.

Sold for CHF 144 500



China, early Qing Dynasty.
Sold for CHF 30 500


China, Yongzheng six character marks and of the period.
Sold for CHF 72 500

World record for Italian Symbolist Painting at Koller

Vittorio Zecchin

On 3 December, “Le Mille e una Notte” by Vittorio Zecchin (1878-1949) attained a world record price for a painting by the artist when it sold for CHF 120 500.

Vittorio Zecchin was born in Murano; his father worked in a glass factory there. He studied painting at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Venice, but already at the age of 23 he gave up on his career as an artist as he disagreed with what he considered the uninspired style of teaching at the Accademia, and did not believe that anyone would listen to his ideas. He worked for eight years as a civil servant, until he learned of a new artistic movement in Venice which finally convinced him to return to the art world. This group of artists was strongly influenced by Klimt and the Viennese Secession, and displayed their works between 1908 and 1920 at the Museum of Modern Art in Ca’Pesaro in Venice.

Fascinated by the mystical and symbolist painting of the time, as well as the Art Nouveau movement, Zecchin travelled to Vienna around 1910 in order to get to know the artists there and their work in situ. There he met Gustav Klimt, who was to have a lasting influence on his creative work. Zecchin applied his talents not only to painting but also glassware and tapestries, and was director of the Cappelin-Venini glass works from 1921.

Le Mille e una Notte. 1914. 
Oil on canvas.
140 x 110 cm.

Sold in Zurich on 3 December 2016
for CHF 112 500 (world record).

His high point as a painter came in 1914, when he completed "Le Mille e una Notte", a thirty-meter-long wall painting comprising twelve individual works depicting the procession of Aladdin and his entourage, as he goes to ask the Sultan for his daughter’s hand. The work was commissioned by the Hotel Terminus in Venice, which intended to display the painting in its dining room.

The present work was formerly purchased by the antiquarian Giacomo Capellin, and it hung in his showroom in the Renaissance palazzo Da Mula in Murano. The Ca’Pesaro Museum in Venice currently owns six of the twelve paintings, and the six remaining works are in private or institutional collections.

Sam Francis: Light on Fire

Sam Francis in his studio.

Samuel Lewis Francis, born in 1923 in San Mateo, California, decided to become an artist only after a traumatic experience. After studying medicine and psychology at the University of Berkeley beginning in 1941, Francis served in the U.S. Army as a pilot from 1943 – 1945. His impressions during this time of far-reaching landscapes, which from a bird’s-eye perspective create abstract colour and form variations, would later be reflected in his paintings. When his plane crashed in the California desert, he was left with severe back injuries that confined him to a hospital bed for an extended period. At this time he began to paint, and decided to follow an artistic path. From 1945-50 he studied art in California, leaving for Paris immediately after his graduation. There he joined the art scene and felt especially connected to the Canadian artist Jean-Paul Riopelle.

A striking aspect of Francis’ work, as seen in the example offered here, is the impression that it is only an excerpt of a greater whole. The image borders don’t seem to offer any boundaries to his abstract compositions, they rather appear to unfold into the infinite. The idea of the excerpt applies in many ways: the image as excerpt of life, the lengthening of the moment (of painting) into the infinity of time, an excerpt of the inner world (of feelings) into the phenomenon of the visible cosmos. The amorphous, organic shapes recall microorganisms, which Francis probably observed while studying medicine – yet the painted remains abstract.

SAM FRANCIS (1923-1994)
Drift II. 1976.
Watercolour and gouache on paper.
58 x 82 cm.

Sold in Zurich on 3 December 2016 for CHF 72 500

This superb early work clearly shows his process of work and formation: Francis begins by placing the sheet on the floor. First he outlines the geometric ‘fence’ filled with merging watercolours. Then he pours, drips and splashes thick colours onto the background, as crouches over the work. What is remarkable about this technique is that it is very spontaneous and dynamic, but also a reflection of the artist and his action.

Francis’ understanding of colour is strongly influenced by post-impressionism and the Italian masters of the early Renaissance, but his gestural brushwork is based on his time spent in Japan in 1957, where he came into contact with the ink-brush technique haboku. The resulting luminosity of each colour, accentuated by the deep black, imparts the work offered here with a liveliness and lightness that displays the whole energy of his talent as a prominent exponent of the lyrically oriented abstract expressionism.

“Color is light on fire. Each color is the result of burning, for each substance burns with a particular color.” (cit. Sam Francis, in Exh. Cat.: Sam Francis, Los Angeles, 1980, p. 10).


A selection of works from our November-December auctions in Zurich will be available for preview thie weekend in Geneva.

Jewellery · Watches · Swiss Art · Modern & Contemporary Art · Design · Art Deco & Art Nouveau

Preview opening hours:
Saturday 12 - Monday 14 November 2016, 10am - 6pm

Hôtel de la Paix
11, quai du Mont-Blanc
1201 Geneva
Tel. +41 22 311 03 85

ABEL GRIMMER. Five allegories of the months of the year. Oil on panel.
Sold for CHF 745 000.

For our spring 2017 auctions we are currently accepting consignments:
Old Master & 19th Century Paintings & Drawings
Furniture, Silver, Porcelain, Sculpture, Antiquarian Books

Koller is the only Swiss auction house and one of the few in Europe to organize two annual auction series dedicated entirely to the fine and decorative arts of the Middle Ages through the 19th century. During six days in March and September, we hold special auctions of old masters, early sculpture, books & manuscripts as well as antique furniture, silver and porcelain.

Thanks to their decades of experience in these fields, our specialists not only possess a wide knowledge of the works of art but also personal access to the internationally recognized experts for every specialty and for each artist.

The works of art consigned to us are examined in the light of the most recent scholarship, and their age, authorship and authenticity are determined. Because of this rigorous vetting process we are able to fully guarantee the information in our auction catalogues, and have gained the trust and loyalty of the world’s most important art collectors and professionals.

Our next auction series of old masters and antiques will be held in March 2017. We are currently accepting consignments until the end of this year. We gladly appraise and estimate your works of art and advise you concerning the next steps as well as the possibilities of their ideal sale.

For a free, no-obligations estimate and professional advice please contact the following specialists:

Old Master Paintings, Collections and Estates
Cyril Koller

Old Master & 19th Century Paintings
Karoline Weser

Old Master & 19th Century Drawings & Prints
Franz Diegelmann

Furniture & Decorative Arts, Antique Sculpture, Collections and Estates
Luca Raschèr
Stephan Koller

Porcelain, Glass, Estates
Sabine Neumaier

Corinne Koller

Books, Autographs & Illuminated Manuscripts
Andreas Terwey

Recent prices realized for antiques & old masters:


Still life with flowers in a woven basket.

Oil on panel.

Sold for CHF 480 500



Meissen, circa 1731, the model attributed to Johann Gottlieb Kirchner

Sold for CHF 29 300


Astronomicum Caesareum. 1540.

Sold for CHF 660 000


Formerly belonging to the Marquis de Nicolay, Paris circa 1720

Sold for CHF 3.01 million


Les danseurs de Castel_Gandolfo. Circa 1855-60.

Oil on canvas.

Sold for CHF 267 400


Portrait of Prince Alexander Maurocordato.

Watercolor and chalk on paper.

Sold for CHF 30 500



Maker's mark of Heinrich Winterstein.

Augsburg, 1600-1610.

Sold for CHF 444 000



A girl with a basket near the woods (Erdbeerimareili). 1872.

Oil on canvas.

Sold for CHF 1.63 million


Avedon and Tutu : A Meeting of Legends

The Winterthur International ad campaign, 2001.

Richard Avedon’s portrait session with Desmond Tutu in 2001 was truly an encounter between two legends: Tutu, the Nobel Prize laureate and tireless champion for human rights and racial equality, and Avedon, one of the world’s most famous fashion and portrait photographers. It was an advertising campaign for Winterthur Insurance which brought the two men together. The campaign was based on the theme of risk management, and the portrait was to be accompanied by a quote from Desmond Tutu: “Of course, faith is a risk – but one I would never risk living without.”

The theme was quite appropriate, as both Avedon and Tutu were accustomed to taking risks. Desmond Tutu fought for decades against the apartheid system in South Africa, taking advantage of his prominent position as bishop of Lesotho, and later as Archbishop of Cape Town to speak out against the segregation laws, as well as to call for action on other topics such as the Palestinian question, the second Gulf War, and the recognition of rights for homosexuals in South Africa. His quest for justice was not limited to the white rulers of South Africa; he was also a vocal critic of the African National Congress (ANC) leaders when he felt it was needed.

Tutu’s receipt of the Nobel Prize in 1984 conferred a certain stature which he used to aid the struggle against apartheid. "It opened doors which was important for our people," he said. "It was important for our people at that point in our history because we were tending to go off the radar screen and this brought us back spectacularly."

RICHARD AVEDON (1923-2004)
Archbishop Desmond M. Tutu. Original Photograph.
Archival pigment print, printed on an aluminum plate. Vintage. 2000.
circa 120 x 120 cm.

- Given by the photographer to the persons at Winterthur International involved in the project
- Private collection, Switzerland

At auction in Zurich on 3 December 2016

CHF 12 000 / 18 000
Although Tutu is officially retired from public life, he continues to lecture occasionally and is a part of the group “The Elders” including senior statesmen like Kofi Annan and Jimmy Carter, who meet to discuss ways of working toward world peace.

Richard Avedon created and made famous a specific style in black & white fashion photography through his audacious mise-en-scènes, such as his 1955 photo shoot with Dovima, one of the world’s most famous models at the time, at a circus. The result was the still-fascinating image Dovima with Elephants, in which the model poses amongst the pachyderms, wearing a black Dior evening gown. Avedon never shied from photographing some of the world’s most powerful people, and unfailingly produced a telling and emotion-charged portrait, whether or not it met with his subject’s approval.

Like the greatest portrait painters throughout history, Avedon’s name was enough to convince even the most recalcitrant or busy personage to agree to a sitting. Philippe de Montebello wrote, “Much like the great nineteenth-century French photographer, Nadar, whose telling portraits of rare individuals captured the creative genius of his generation, so Avedon, a century later, collected the key players and directed them in a brilliant portrait of an era that was questioning, unruly, and self-consciously alive."

In this portrait rich in contrast, Avedon attempts to convey the intense personality of the sitter. Tutu’s gaze is directed at the viewer, and his hands are folded in front of his mouth as if in prayer. The contours of his body are lost in its surroundings, and the outline of his dark clothing melt into the background. A transcendental amalgamation of image and person takes place here, and the body of the sitter seems to hover in the air like a ghost. Only in the sitter’s eyes does one perceive the flash of the camera at the hand of the photographer, bringing the viewer back to reality. This is a gaze which we will surely never forget.

Tulip Mania

Jan Brueghel the Younger, Allegory of Tulip Mania (detail), circa 1640.

A sharp increase in prices for tulip bulbs in early 17th century Holland not only gave rise to the first economic bubble in history, but also to a series of beautiful watercolours, illustrations to catalogues identifying types of flowers for purchase.

Tulips began to be regularly cultivated in Holland from about 1600. The popularity of this flower coincided with the recent independence of the Netherlands and the rising wealth of its middle class, and tulips soon took on the character of a status symbol. From 1634, demand for certain types of tulips began to rise dramatically and a futures trade was established (possibly the first of its kind), which further encouraged speculation, soon driving prices to dizzying heights: single bulbs sometimes sold for more than the price of a house.

A particularity of tulips that contributed to their collectability was the fact that certain varieties of colour only occurred in a very limited number of plants. Today we know that this was caused by a virus which eventually weakens the bulb, but at the time growers only knew that it these variations were difficult to control and that the number of times they could be produced was limited.

Attributed to ANTHONY CLAESZ
(1607 Amsterdam 1649)
Two depictions of tulips: 1. Red & white tulip
2. Blue & white tulip. Watercolour.

Provenance: Schmitz-Eichhoff collection, Cologne.

At auction on 23 September 2016
Estimate: CHF 5 000 / 8 000

Certain rare colour combinations became especially fashionable, such as the red and white stripes of a variety known as Semper Augustus. At the height of the speculative bubble, one collector desperate for a Semper Augustus attempted in vain to purchase one bulb for 10 000 guilders – at a time when the average annual wage of a skilled Dutch worker was 300 guilders. Fuelled by speculation, the desire for outward signs of wealth, and even the plague – which is often mentioned as a contributing factor to the bubble, as investors may have been encouraged by the proximity of death to enter ever-riskier ventures – the tulip trade produced a wide variety of forms and colour combinations designed to keep up with the fashion while it lasted.

As most tulips were purchased before the actual flowers bloomed, and as Dutch law provided for the possibility of cancelling a contract if the goods were not delivered as described, it became important to define exactly which type of tulip was at the heart of each transaction. This is where artists became necessary. Painters such as Anthony Claesz, Jacob Marrell, and Pieter Holsteyn the Younger were hired to illustrate particular types of tulips so that growers could show them to prospective buyers. This was especially important as the fanciful names given to each tulip specimen (often preceded by titles such as Generael or Admirael) were sometimes assigned to similar types, or more than one name was given to the same type. These beautiful illustrations were bound into “tulip books” and shown to clients who then placed their orders based on them.

The tulip bubble eventually burst, of course, and by late 1637 some prices had fallen as low as 95% of their original value. But the need for tulip illustrations remained, even more so as buyers became increasingly wary of the nature of their purchases. The watercolours offered here, from a prestigious Rhineland collection, are witness to one of the most extraordinary periods in both horticultural and economic history.

Auctions in Zurich, 19 - 24 September 2016

Success for Old Master paintings and trompe-l’oeil faience: a suite of allegorical paintings by Abel Grimmer attains CHF 745 000, and the Baroque faience collection sold at 90% by value.

ABEL GRIMMER (ca. 1570 Antwerp 1620).
Five allegories of the months of the year. Oil on panel. D of each 25 cm. Sold for CHF 745 000.

Old Master & 19th Century Paintings & Drawings
A set of rare late Renaissance allegories of the months of the year surpasses the high estimate

The Old Masters auction on 23 September was led by a very rare series of five allegorical paintings representing the months of February, March, April, October and December by Abel Grimmer (ca. 1570 – ca. 1620). The paintings had been conserved in the same private collection for over 300 years, and their rarity and beauty convinced a private collector to part with CHF 745 000 in order to obtain the series (lots 3033A – 3033E, estimate CHF 500 000 – 700 000).

Other highlights of the paintings auctions included a Madonna and Child by Tommaso di Credi (active in Florence circa 1490-1510) which sold for CHF 96 500 (lot 3012), and a Bathing Nymph by German artist Carl Spitzweg (1808 Munich 1885) that also changed hands for CHF 96 500 (lot 3232).

Two works by Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo (1727 Venice 1804) sold well in the Drawings auction on 23 September: an oil sketch depicting the Rest on the Flight into Egypt (lot 3425) attributed to the master was possibly made as a model for Tiepolo’s workshop. It garnered CHF 24 500. A brown ink drawing of a standing figure in Oriental dress (lot 3452), remarkable for its spontaneity, sold for CHF CHF 8 750.

TROMPE-L'OEIL PLATE WITH EGGS. Northern France, mid-18th century.
Sold for CHF 9 375.

Furniture and Decorative Arts
The Schmitz-Eichhoff Collection: trompe-l’oeil ceramics in high demand

The wonderful Baroque trompe-l’oeil ceramics collection of Marie Teres Schmitz-Eichhoff aroused international interest, and the 19 September auction registered a total of over 90% sold by value. The catalogue contained approximately 250 faience trompe-l’oeil wares and animal figures from the 18th century: cabbage-form tureens, covered dishes in the shape of bundles of asparagus, and plates with eggs, beans and nuts. Many of these items were the subject of an exhibition in 1999 in the Museum of Decorative Arts (MAK) in Cologne, and again at the Hetjens Museum in Düsseldorf in 2006.  

Among the highlights of the auction were a mid-18th century French trompe-l’oeil platter with eggs (lot 1751) which sold for CHF 9 375 against an estimate of CHF 4 000 – 6 000; a large mid-late 18th century cabbage-shaped terrine from Brussels (lot 1758, sold for CHF 9 375) and a Höchst porcelain covered vase decorated with insects and flowers, the bidding for which rose to CHF 10 625 (lot 1783).


The Furniture & Sculpture auction on 22 September featured a pair of Régence/Louis XV ormolu-mounted porcelain vases (lot 1089) of extraordinarily fine quality, which went to a new owner for CHF 156 500. A 14th/15th century northern Italian polychrome sculpture of a Madonna and Child sold for CHF 42 500 (lot 1027), and a Louis XV ormolu-mounted porcelain clock in the form of a smiling Chinese “magot” (lot 1095) changed hands for CHF 62 900.

LYUBOV POPOVA. 5 x 5 = 25. (Catalogue of the Moscow exhibition, 1921). Sold for CHF 42 500.

Books & Autographs
Fossils and Erotica

The first illustrated work on fossils ever published was sold in the Books & Autographs auction on 24 September for more than five times its low estimate, CHF 74 900 (lot 428, estimate 14 000 – 20 000). Richly illustrated by Swiss naturalist Conrad Gessner, it was published in 1565-66.

The erotica collection in this auction was a solid success, including the CHF 58 100 paid for the Marquis de Sade’s first published work, La nouvelle Justine, written while he was imprisoned in the Bastille (lot 191).

Among the more modern works in the sale, a Russian avant-garde illustration by Lyubov Popova for a 1921 exhibition catalogue, 5 x 5 = 25, sold for CHF 42 500 against an estimate of CHF 4 000 – 6 000 (lot 256).


A Feast for the Eyes and the Body

While browsing the preview at Koller West this week, you can enjoy a delicious meal at the Deli Donkey mobile café, which will be stationed in front of our preview rooms at Hardturmstrasse 121.

Deli Donkey will be present from Wednesday 14 to Friday 16 September, from 11am to 2pm each day.

The Koller West auction features affordable furniture, jewellery, and fine & decorative arts, including a collection of maritime objects such as a radio-controlled model of a Soviet submarine, and industrial-style spotlights that would not be out of place in a Manhattan loft apartment. You can browse the catalogues here.

The Koller West preview is open from Wednesday 14 – Sunday 18 September, from 10am – 7pm. The auctions will be held from 19 – 23 September.

Selected works, Koller West


(1799 Utrecht 1874)

Ships on the high seas.

Oil on panel.


Each of 1 drop-cut jadeite of ca. 14 x 5 mm. L ca. 4 cm.



Dancing Lady model, Gottlieb & Co., USA, 1966

Printed metal, glass and wood. Serial number 6902 on label and also incised.


20th century

Painted wood, plastic and metal

123 x 21 x 22 cm.

A connoisseur’s tip: one of the world’s best places to sell art is right here in Switzerland

True connoisseurs know that one of the best places in the world to sell art is right here in Switzerland. Our country has a long tradition of art collecting, a low VAT rate, reasonable import and export laws, and one of the world’s highest concentrations of millionaires.

Koller Auctions is recognized worldwide for our specialist expertise and long experience in handling international collections. We have demonstrated time and again that the prices realized in our Zurich auctions are on the highest international level. And we are dedicated to making the experience for the seller the best it can be.

Osias Beert, sold for CHF 480 500

Specialist knowledge

Specialists in more than fifteen collecting fields at Koller examine artworks in the light of the latest developments in art research, and establish each provenance through in-depth investigation. Because of this, many hitherto anonymous works have been identified by our team of specialists and sold for prices in the six and seven figures (Guido Reni: CHF 1.22 million; Eglon van der Neer, CHF 510 000; Francisco de Goya: CHF 2.67 million, etc.).

Pierre-Auguste Renoir, sold for CHF 733 500.

Modern & Contemporary results on an international level

Modern works by French, German and Italian artists also regularly sell for top prices to buyers in the international market (Signac: CHF 5.3 million; Dali: CHF 4.4 million; Renoir: CHF 2.7 million, Fontana: CHF 1. 67 million).

Giovanni Giacometti, sold for CHF 4.04 million (world record).

Market leader for Swiss Art

We often set world records in our Swiss Art auctions, as we did last month for a painting by Giovanni Giacometti (CHF 4.04 million) and a drawing by Albert Anker (CHF 1 million).

Anselm Kiefer, sold for CHF 360 500

All of your needs considered

At Koller, we offer an all-inclusive client service: from the preliminary free, no-obligations estimate to the timely payment. All of your needs are provided for by experienced professionals, including shipping, full insurance coverage, impeccable cataloguing, and international, state-of-the-art marketing.

Our clients have direct access to the decision makers in each department as well as to the company’s managing directors, who personally ensure the smooth functioning of the auction process from consignment to sale.

The auctions at our subsidiary, Koller West, are the perfect platform for the sale of purely decorative objects often found in estates and collections. Each work of art is thus presented and sold in its ideal setting.

And last but not least, Koller’s terms and conditions are highly competitive and attractive for consignors.

Bracelet, Lacloche Frères, sold for CHF 264 000

Contact us today

Contact us today for a free, no-obligations estimate – our specialists are always ready to visit you, anywhere in Switzerland.

We look forward to working with you!

Koller sets world record at auction for Giovanni Giacometti: CHF 4.05 million for the Flims Panorama

Zurich, 24 June 2016 – This afternoon Koller auctions realised a new world auction record for a work by Swiss artist Giovanni Giacometti. The Flims Panorama, an important and well-known work by Giacometti, sold in today’s auction of Swiss Art at Koller Zurich to a private Swiss collector for CHF 4.05 million.* With a sale total of CHF 9.2 million for today’s Swiss Art auction, Koller has once again affirmed its position this auction season as the worldwide market leader for Swiss Art.

“We are very pleased that this important work will remain in Switzerland, and that it will once again be periodically available for public viewing,” said Cyril Koller, CEO of Koller Auctions and the auctioneer for this sale.

Giovanni Giacometti, the father of artists Alberto and Diego Giacometti, painted the three-part oil on canvas in 1904 for the luxurious Hotel Waldhaus, now called Waldhaus Flims Mountain Resort & Spa (“Waldhaus Flims”). Shortly after its installation, Giacometti’s painting was removed from the Waldhaus Flims and placed into storage for reasons unknown. For eighty years, the painting’s existence was largely forgotten, until it was rediscovered in August of 1986 and placed on view once again in the hotel. Last year, the Waldhaus Flims was purchased by the investment group Z Capital partners. The proceeds from the sale of the Giacometti will be used for the renovation of the hotel.

Giovanni Giacometti, The Panorama of Flims, 1904. Sold on 24 June 2016 at the Swiss Art auction of Koller Zurich for the world record price of CHF 4.05 million.
Albert Anker's "Armensuppe"

In the same auction, Koller sold Albert Anker’s “Die Armensuppe” for CHF 1.4 million. This painting will also join a Swiss private collection.

In Koller’s Swiss Art auction, not only works by Anker and Giacometti but also Segantini, Amiet, Dietrich and others were sold for a total of CHF 9.2 million. Once again, Koller has registered the highest sale total worldwide for Swiss Art.

Giovanni Giacometti
(Stampa 1868 – 1933 Glion)
The Panorama of Flims. 1904. Oil on canvas.
Monogrammed and dated in the lower left of the central panel:
GG 1904. 150 x 100 cm; 180 x 200 cm; 150 x 100 cm.

Delta 2 - Art in Motion

The street artist Delta 2, born in 1965 in Spanish Harlem, began his career with “subway painting” in New York in the late 1970s. Inspired by seeing entire subway cars covered with graffiti by legendary street artists like Blade, Ban 2 and Lee, he quickly developed his own style and created a name for himself among street “writers”. He founded a small crew, Kings Arrive, and in the early 1980s numerous trains on the number 6 subway line from Pelham Bay to Brooklyn bore Delta 2’s distinctive work.

At this time, the art trade began to recognize the quality of these quick, expressive and flamboyant works of art that flourished all over the city. Delta 2’s work was displayed from 1984 in various European galleries, including the Gallozzi–La Placa Gallery in London, and he participated in Valentino’s 25th anniversary celebration on the Spanish Steps in Rome. After a brief European tour during which he created some of the first train paintings in Europe, Delta 2 retired from street writing and focused on painting on canvas, as well as on pen and ink drawing. He began to develop the latter due to a lack of other supplies while incarcerated for trespassing on NY Metropolitan Transportation Authority property. Today Delta 2 continues to work on commissions, and his work was included in the recent exhibit, “Street Art–Banksy & Co” at the Palazzo Pepoli in Bologna (18.03 – 26.06.2016).

(born in New York in 1965 – lives and works in New York)
Spray paint on canvas.
151.5 x 234 cm.

- Galerie Schurr, Stuttgart.
- Acquired there from the present owner; since then private collection South Germany.

Exhibition: Stuttgart 1984, Galerie Schurr. Graffiti Writers aus New York, 7 July - 31 August 1984.

Sold in Zurich for CHF 9 375 on 25 June 2016

LOVIS CORINTH, Zinnien. 1924.

Technology by  

ARTMYN, a start up from EPFL/LCAV, provides a disruptive solution for highly accurate digitization of visual artworks, with interactive rendering on mobile devices and accessible via a simple web browser. A unique portable scanner captures gigabytes of data describing the artwork in its finest details, which, along with proprietary web technologies, result in a true-to-life visualisation. This completely new experience allows users to embark on an emotional journey where digital replicas can be explored just as if the originals were in their very own hands.
Explore this new technology here



Koller Geneva will hold a special auction of walking canes in cooperation with the association of cane collectors, CANEMANIA. The auction will take place on 16 September during the 10th International Cane Collectors Conference, and will include approximately one hundred original canes, handles and parasols from the 17th to the 20th centuries.

Don’t hesitate to take this opportunity to include your gadget canes, decorative examples and folk art walking sticks in this exceptional auction. Our specialists are now on hand for free and confidential auction estimates.

Contact :
+41 22 311 03 85

Fly me to the stars


(Geneva 1961 - lives and works in Geneva)

First Spaceship on Venus, 1995

Galvanised steel sheet and steel

Height 218 cm

CHF 15 000 – 25 000
At auction 25 June 2016

Sylvie Fleury, born in Geneva in 1961, is an artist who produces objects, installations and performances. Since the 1990s she has attracted attention with her objects and installations based on luxury goods such as cosmetics and fashion. These works, such as “C’est la Vie!” from 1990, with a pile of shopping bags from luxury bands such as Chanel, allude to today’s consumerism and the great power and aura of these ever-present brands. Many see in this a critique or at least an analogy with modern consumerism within art. Even here, many new collectors “consume” art as a luxury item, and, as soon as the vernissage is over, art galleries are already preparing themselves for a new exhibition. Art, like the latest fashion trend, is quickly consumed and rapidly changed. Fleury does not issue a direct critique of this process, but rather presents it as a fact and a reality within the given space. It is left to the viewer to reflect critically upon this matter.

Fleury also introduces something very feminine through her work, in what is a male-dominated art scene. Many of her pieces comprise typically male objects such as cars, motors or rockets, which Fleury clothes in a very feminine material or colour. Thus we find fur-clad or highly polished spaceships in the colours of the latest cosmetics collection, or golden high gloss motors and tyres.

The present piece - a spaceship, made of steel and zinc-plated steel sheeting, with its shimmering polished surface, is a wonderful example of Fleury’s playful use of traditionally masculine objects. Moreover, it provides an opportunity for reflection on cosmic delimitations, the universe and the tensions between art and spheres of belief – another important theme of her work.

Robert Rotar: Art in the Space-Time Continuum

Robert Rotar with his Painting Machine, circa 1963

Robert Rotar was one of the most extraordinary artistic figures of the second half of the 20th century. For four decades, he sourced inspiration from his extremely wide range of interests – from numerology to nuclear physics – to create a synthetical whole distilled into one single form: the spiral.
Born in Berlin in 1926, Rotar first trained as a cabinetmaker, then went on to study painting, the history of furniture, and interior design in Cologne and Bremen. His work as interior designer and manager at the furniture design firm Knoll in Stuttgart and Düsseldorf brought him into frequent contact with contemporary artists such as Joseph Beuys and James Lee Byars, with major architects like Mies van der Rohe, as well as with the leading German gallery owners and art dealers of the 1960s. Rotar was by all accounts an introvert, but maintained long relationships with certain of his acquaintances, especially Beuys and Byars. From 1973 on, Rotar decided to devote himself exclusively to his painting and photography.

(Berlin 1926 - 1999 Düsseldorf) Untitled.
Oil on canvas. 80 x 80 cm.
At auction 25 June 2016
Estimate CHF 15 000 – 25 000

Already in 1947/48 he had begun to work with the spiral in his painting. “I paint spirals in all different forms,” said Rotar. “What fascinates me about them is how they develop through centrifugal force. Just as in the theory of Relativity, I use the phenomenon of time in combination with rotation as a fourth coordinate in space. When I connect two subjective ‘fixed’ points, the spiral tendency becomes visible.”1 In 1963, in the same year that Rotar travelled to New York and met Mies van der Rohe, he even invented a “painting machine” in order to reproduce his concept of the spiral in the space-time continuum.

Since science and philosophy carried the same weight in his world view, his knowledge covered a broad range of topics. In the realm of science, Rotar studied astrophysics, nuclear physics, molecular biology, and brain and genetic research, and was personally acquainted with the leading scientists in these fields. His philosophical interests included hermeticism, ancient magic and astrology, alchemy, the Kabbalah and the Tarot, world religions, neo-platonism, ancient mystery religions and esotericism, runic writing, numerology, and much more.

Rotar’s creative process reflected this marriage of science and philosophical thought, and his painting can be likened to a scientific experiment achieved through meditation. “Painting for me is a risk,” said Rotar in 1978, “because the result cannot be anticipated during the developing work or experiment (…) the feeling of space and time has a higher priority for me than the optical reflection. For these reasons, some important works have been painted with my eyes closed, for it seems to me that this allows the viewer to take part in the meditative reflection.”2

“Rotar often painted in a trancelike, meditative state, entirely concentrated on the spiritual situation,” writes the art historian and close friend of Rotar, Ingrid Skiebe. “His artistic impulse was not directed by spontaneous gestures, but rather by a spiritual dialogue with the spiral motif. The spiral – which symbolized for Rotar the infinite, the primeval and the eternal – was the theme that enabled him to most effectively address fundamental issues about the cosmos and being.


Auctions at Koller Zurich 17 – 23 March

Old Master & 19th Century Paintings, Drawings & Prints – Fine Furniture, Clocks & Sculpture – European Ceramics and Porcelain, Featuring the Max Fahrländer Collection – Silver – Carpets – Rare Books – Photographs – Jewellery

Michaelina Wautier, portrait of Martino Martini,
sold for CHF 480 500.
World auction record for the artist

A new world record in Old Master paintings at Koller

The week of old masters and antiques auctions at Koller yielded numerous excellent results for works by artists such as Caspar David Freidrich and Osias Beert, and the nearly half a million Swiss francs realized by a portrait by Michaelina Wautier set a new world record price at auction for the artist.

Osias Beert, sold for CHF 480 500.

Old Master Paintings

A mid-17th century portrait by Michaelina Wautier was one of the highlights of the Old Masters auction at Koller (lot 3057). Paintings by this Flemish artist are rare: only approximately 25 are known to exist. The last time Koller offered a painting by Wautier was in 2003, and it realized a then-record price of CHF 54 000. That record was left far behind when the portrait in this sale, depicting Jesuit missionary and mapmaker Martino Martini in Asian dress, surpassed all expectations and sold for CHF 480 500. A floral still life by another 17th-century Flemish artist and pioneer of the genre, Osias Beert, shared the leading position in this sale, also realizing CHF 480 500 (lot 3031).

Eduard Grützner, sold for CHF 67 700.

19th Century Paintings

A series of works by Bavarian artist Eduard Grützner of figures in wine or beer cellars fetched prices significantly above their pre-sale estimates, such as the depiction of a brewmaster fully enjoying a quiet moment with a cigar and a beer (lot 3209, sold for CHF 67 700). A late landscape by Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot which was formerly in the collection of the 19th-century Scottish railway engineer James Staats Forbes changed hands for CHF 84 500 (lot 3214), and a magnificent view of the Port of Marseille by Félix François Ziem (lot 3205) sold for CHF 59 300.

Portrait of Alexandros Mavrokordatos,
sold for CHF 30 500


Another “portrait”, this time of a bare-limbed oak tree by Romantic artist Caspar David Friedrich (lot 3457), more than doubled its estimate at CHF 65 300. Formerly in the collection of the Kunsthalle in Mannheim, this work illustrates the intense attention that Friedrich gave to natural subjects. A wonderful depiction of Greek prime minister Alexandros Mavrokordatos (lot 3468) by Suzanne Eynard-Chatelain realized CHF 30 500, triple the pre-sale estimate. Mavrokordatos, a friend of Lord Byron and champion of Greek independence, is dressed as a freedom fighter in this lively portrait.

Meissen Flaming Tortoise plate,
sold for CHF 36 500

Porcelain & Silver

The top lot of the Max Fahrländer collection was the very rare “Flaming Tortoise” Kakiemon-style plate with an inscribed Augustus Rex mark (lot 1737, sold for
CHF 36 500), indicating that it was not only in Augustus III’s personal collection, but was among the wares produced during the Hoym-Lemaire scandal of the 1730s (see detailed article here). Among the other highlights of the auction, also from the Meissen manufactory, are a plate from the Sulkowski service, made for a Polish count who was a childhood friend of Augustus III (lot 1778, sold for CHF 30 500), and an unusually shaped Chinoiserie terrine (lot 1775) which realized CHF 22 100.

Louis Renard,
sold for CHF 90 500

Books & Autographs

The Books and Autographs auction featured a number of beautifully illustrated volumes on natural history from private collections, including an early 18th century work by Louis Renard which was one of the earliest books published with illustrations of exotic fish, made on the spot by seafarers with the Dutch East India Company (lot 353). It sold for CHF 90 500, more than double its estimate. François Levaillant’s work on parrots from 1801-05 was also hotly contested in the saleroom, selling for CHF 102 500 (lot 356). A complete first edition of Diderot and D’Alembert’s Encyclopaedia, including the volumes which were banned by the Vatican, fetched CHF 90 500 (lot 328). Correspondence by artists was highly prized in the Autographs auction, including a large collection of letters between Oskar Kokoschka and the long-time director of the Zurich Kunsthaus, Wilhelm Wartmann (lot 420, sold for CHF 10 000), as well as a series of letters and postcards from Edvard Munch from the 1920s and 30s (lot 421, sold for CHF 23 300.

Marilyn Monroe by Bert Stern,
sold for CHF 23 300


A portrait of Marilyn Monroe from Bert Stern’s famous “last sitting”, hand-coloured by the photographer, more than quadrupled its estimate to sell for CHF 23 300 (lot 561. An album of vintage photos of Rio de Janeiro from circa 1880 by Marc Ferrez fetched CHF 7 500 (lot 525), and a beautiful and mysterious nude by Swiss photographer René Groebli realized CHF 6 875 (lot 557).

Pearl and diamond brooch, Chaumet,
sold for CHF 17 300


The top lot in the jewellery auction was a 13.70 ct Burma sapphire and diamond ring, realizing CHF 192 500 against a pre-sale estimate of CHF 160 000 (lot 2033). Signed pieces by makers such as Cartier, Chaumet and Bulgari continued to garner high prices, such as the cover lot, a pearl and diamond floral brooch by Chaumet (lot 2032, CHF 17 300), and a sapphire and diamond platinum ring signed Bulgari which realized CHF 48 500 (lot 2182).

Louis XV bureau attributed to J.-P. Latz,
sold for CHF 192 500


Prices for furniture of the highest quality were strong in Koller’s 23 March auction, such as the CHF 192 500 paid by a Swiss private collector for an exquisitely inlaid bureau de dame attributed to J.-P. Latz, bearing the “c couronné”-stamped ormolu mounts which indicate a date of fabrication from the mid-late 1750s (lot 1107). A sumptuous Italian Rococo giltwood console (lot 1037) will travel to Russia to be welcomed into a private collection there (CHF 79 700), and a mid-18th century mechanical games table by Genovese craftsman Andrea Torazza will finally return home, acquired by a Genovese collector for CHF CHF 72 500 (lot 1051).

Koller to auction an important work by Giovanni Giacometti: the Flims Panorama

This June, Koller auctions will offer the Flims Panorama, an important and well-known work by Giovanni Giacometti. Giacometti, the father of artists Alberto and Diego Giacometti, painted the three-part oil on canvas in 1904 for the luxurious Hotel Waldhaus, now called Waldhaus Flims Mountain Resort & Spa (“Waldhaus Flims”), to mark the opening of the hotel’s new casino. The painting remains one of Giacometti’s seminal works. The Waldhaus Flims is visible in the central section of the painting, nestled in a light-filled spring landscape depicting the Flims valley against a majestic backdrop of the Swiss Alps. The right-hand section shows the Caumasee lake with its bath house, constructed in 1880, and the left-hand painting depicts another view from the upper part of the lake of the Waldhaus and Bellavista spa and hotel.

Giovanni Giacometti. The Flims Panorama. 1904. The painting will be auctioned on 24 June 2016 at Koller’s Swiss Art auction in Zurich, and is expected to realize between
3 and 4 million Swiss francs.
download images

A key work in Giacometti’s artistic development

The Panorama of Flims was painted at a crucial moment in Giacometti’s career: his mentor, Giovanni Segantini, had died only a few years earlier, and Giacometti was in the process of distancing himself from the older artist’s manner. This is particularly evident in the side panels, in which Giacometti is clearly developing a progressive and personal style. The work is significant not only for its aesthetically pleasing aspect, but because it represents the very beginning of Giovanni Giacometti’s artistic breakthrough.

About the Artwork

Giovanni Giacometti (Stampa 1868 – 1933 Glion) The Flims Panorama.
1904. Oil on canvas.
Monogrammed und dated in the lower left of the central section:
GG 1904. 150 x 100 cm; 180 x 200 cm; 150 x 100 cm.
To be offered in Koller Zurich’s Swiss Art auction on 24 June 2016

Forgotten for 80 years before being rediscovered

Shortly after its installation, Giacometti’s painting was removed from the Waldhaus Flims and placed into storage for reasons unknown. For eighty years, the painting’s existence was largely forgotten, until hotel director Josef Müller rediscovered the work in August of 1986 in the hotel’s deep storage. In the presence of Giacometti’s son Bruno and many members of the press, the work was once more exhibited in the Waldhaus Flims, where it remained until very recently. Last year, Z Capital Partners purchased the Waldhaus Flims and will soon pursue a renovation program that will maintain the tradition of the historic hotel as well as its iconic place within the community of Flims. Z Capital ultimately decided that the artwork will be more properly conserved and celebrated in a private or public collection rather than in a busy and popular hotel.



Koller is the leading Swiss auction house, with offices in London, Munich, Dusseldorf, Genoa, Hamburg, Beijing, Moscow and New York. Each year Koller holds over thirty auctions, covering all of the major collecting categories in the fine and decorative arts, jewelry, 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, as well as its membership in the worldwide group “International Auctioneers,” the family-owned auction house combines the distinct advantages of an internationally active auction house with Swiss reliability and efficiency.