Emilian School, 16th Century (detail)

Sold for CHF 45 000

View sales results

Strong results and active bidding in Koller’s online auctions despite the current climate

The coronavirus crisis did not discourage online bidders from enthusiastically participating in Koller’s “ibid online only” auctions. The sales, which closed on 31 March and 1 April, achieved an overall total of well over 100% of the pre-sale estimates. Koller postponed its March saleroom auctions due to the impossibility of holding a preview, but decided to go ahead with its planned online sales with only a virtual preview. The results for these items of modest value were excellent, in spite of the fact that the items could not be previewed in person, and even in fields for which the demand has been more restrained in recent years: the results for antique furniture exceeded expectations, as did books and porcelain. Old Master paintings did particularly well, and two works – an Emilian School family portrait and a head of an apostle by a follower of Van Dyck – sold for many times their starting prices, at CHF 45 000 and CHF 34 000 respectively.

The current crisis perhaps even contributed to the success of the sales: "I must congratulate you on the perfect organisation of the auction", one buyer wrote to us after the sale. "It allowed my wife and I to experience a few exciting hours despite being under ‘house arrest’".

Koller has been holding ibid online only auctions regularly since 2018, offering works with a broader appeal alongside their main saleroom auctions, and they have proven to be a success not only among Koller’s traditional bidder base but also among a new generation of collectors accustomed to purchasing online. The transparent process, easy access to high-resolution images, condition reports and direct advice from specialists make this a popular way to access an entire range of art and objects, from fine art and design to wine and fashion & vintage.


KOLLERview is published four times a year,

the next issue will follow in June 2020.

Click & Read

In this issue:

• Treasure from Limoges
• Golden Middle Ages
• White gold from Meissen
• 18th-century “Design”
• Astronomical precision
• From Corot to Lieberman



KOLLERview is published four times a year,

the next issue will follow in March 2020.

Read as PDF.

Ladies and gentlemen, dear clients and friends

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ihr Cyril Koller



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

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



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

Comic icons

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

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

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

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

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

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



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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

Dubuffet’s metamorphosis

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

Silent Cézanne, moving Matisse

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

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

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

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

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



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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Auktion: 4.12.2019


Rare split second Chronograph, 1940s.

Stainless steel. Ø 44 mm.

Estimate: CHF 55 000 / 75 000



Flyback Chronograph with calendar, 2009.

Platinum 950. Ø 40,5 mm.

Estimate: CHF 35 000 / 55 000



Daytona "Zenith" Caliber, 1999.

Stainless steel. Ø 38 mm.

Estimate: CHF 20 000 / 25 000




Rare "Perpetual Calendar", 2014.

White gold 750. Ø 37,5 mm.

Estimate: CHF 28 000 / 50 000



Van Cleef & Arpels, NY 1964.

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

Estimate: CHF 20 000 / 30 00



Van Cleef & Arpels, NY, circa 1960.

Yellow gold 750, 54g.

Estimate: CHF 20 000 / 30 000




White gold 750.

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

Estimate: CHF 100 000 / 150 000



Platinum 950, 27g.

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

Estimate: CHF 220 000 / 320 000




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

Between Val Poschiavo and Valtellina

Preview of the Swiss Art Auction on 6 December 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

East meets West

Preview of the Asian Art Auction on 3 December 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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



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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Compulsory auction: 5.12.2019

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

* Please note the special auction conditions in the catalogue.


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

Ca. 4,8 cm Ø. H ca. 2,8 cm.

Minimum hammer price: CHF 3 500



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

Ca. 11,4 cm.

Minimum hammer price: CHF 93 000



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

Ca. 7,4 x 3,9 cm.

Minimum hammer price: CHF 146 000




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

Ca. 5 cm Ø. H ca. 1,5 cm

Minimum hammer price: CHF 200 500


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


Ca. 6,5 cm Ø.

Minimum hammer price: CHF 1 500



Gelbgold. Early 17th century.

Ca. 4,2 x 4 cm.

Minimum hammer price: CHF 80 000




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

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

Minimum hammer price: CHF 150 500



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

Ca. 4,8 x 2,4 cm.

Minimum hammer price: CHF 49 000




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

Modern & Contemporary Art
Compulsory auction: 5.12.2019

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

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


KOLLERview is published four times a year,

the next issue will follow in December 2019.

Als PDF lesen

Dear Clients and Friends

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

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

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

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

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

I wish you, dear readers, an informative read.

Yours, Cyril Koller

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

Fools say what the wise man only thinks

Preview of the Old Master Paintings Auction on 27 September 2019

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

© akg-images

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

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

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

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

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

Preview of the Old Master Paintings Auction on 27 September 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

A forerunner of computer technology

Preview of the Books Auction on 24 September 2019

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

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

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

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

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

Accurate to one-tenth of a millimetre

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

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

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

Immersed in light

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Technical elegance

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4.8 million for an incense burner

Top results for Asian art

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

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

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

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

Phoenix and peonies

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Swiss Printmakers

Results for Swiss prints

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Founder and grand seigneur

Pierre Koller dies at the age of 94

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

KOLLERview is published four times a year,

the next issue will follow in June 2019.

Read as PDF

Ladies and gentlemen, Dear clients and friends,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

With warm regards

Cyril Koller

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

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

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

American Avant-garde after 1945

Preview of the PostWar & Contemporary Auction on 29 June 2019

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

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

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

Emancipation from Europe

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Magritte’s Parisian Provocation

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

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

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

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

Biting mockery

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

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

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

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

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

En plein air with Alfred Sisley

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

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

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

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

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

Far away from the Zeitgeist

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

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

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

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

Preview of the Swiss Art Auction on 28 June 2019

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

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

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

Four motifs for the centrepiece

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

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

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

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

In dialogue with the client

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

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

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

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

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

Cuno Amiet from the Loeb Collection

Preview of the Swiss Art Auction on 28 June 2019

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

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

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

“Liberation from Nature Painting”

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

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

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

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

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


Wrist- & Pocket Watches | Jewellery & Jewels

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

Deceptively real / Really deceptive

Review of the Old Masters Auction on 29 March 2019

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

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

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

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

From canvas to stained glass

Review of the Old Masters Auction on 29 March 2019

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

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

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

With virtuoso pen work

Review of the Old Master Drawings Auction on 29 March 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Centre for Artistic Estates

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

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

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

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

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

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

KOLLERview is published four times a year,

the next issue will follow in June 2019.

Read as PDF

Dear Clients and Friends

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

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

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

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

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

Yours, Cyril Koller

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

Artistic Elector, sensitive Don Juan

Preview of the Old Master Paintings auction on 29 March 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Böcklin’s power and Rademakers’ eye

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

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

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

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

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

Rademakers Collection

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

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

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

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

Virtuoso craftsmanship, opulent decor

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Exotic fauna

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

and of the Drawings & Watercolours auction on 29 March 2019

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

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

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

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

Magnificent book of hours

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A World in Black and White

Felix Vallotton as Printmaker

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Triumph of Mickey Mouse

Andy Warhol’s “Myths”: Modern American Icons

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

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

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

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

Cinematic effect

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

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

Worl auction record

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Auctions in Zurich: 26 – 29 March 2019


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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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


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

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

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


KOLLERview erscheint viermal jährlich,

die nächste Ausgabe folgt im März 2019

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Dear Readers,

The digital age has led to an economic and societal revolution the likes of which mankind has seldom seen – and it is not over yet. With our new “online only” auctions – beginning in November 2018 under the label “ibid” – we will offer works online which until now have appeared in our “Koller West” auctions. The lots in our ibid auctions in November and December are from such diverse collecting categories as Fashion (with handbags and accessories by Hermès, Chanel and Louis Vuitton), Design (including works by Eileen Gray, Le Corbusier and the Milan firm Danese), Silver, Wine, Paintings, Prints and Asian Art. You can read more about these auctions on page 22. We hope you will enjoy browsing our new ibid online catalogues beginning on 26 November. Important artworks, precious jewellery and rare Asian sculpture will continue to be featured in our classic saleroom auctions. We are especially pleased to present two well-known and rarely offered sunset paintings by Felix Vallotton and Adolf Dietrich in the same auction, on 7 December (page 7). One of the most important scholars of Vallotton and Dietrich, Rudolf Koella, will give a talk (in German) on the work of these two exceptional artists at our preview vernissage on 27 November. Please be sure to reserve early, as space is limited.In closing, we draw your attention to the numerous works of art from past centuries featured in this issue that were offered in our 2018 auctions (page 14 ff). We are currently accepting consignments for our March 2019 auctions of Old Masters and 19th Century Fine & Decorative Arts. We would be very pleased to hear from you.I hope you enjoy the magazine and look forward to welcoming you back soon to Koller, either in our salerooms or via our website.

Cyril Koller

Roy Lichtenstein.
Crying Girl. 1963.
Two colour offsets. 43,2 x 58,4 cm.
Estimate: CHF 20 000 / 30 000

The cosmos behind the black

Preview of the Modern Prints and PostWar & Contemporary Art Auctions

on 8 December 2018

On 24 December 2018, the painter and graphic artist Pierre Soulages, one of the leading figures of French contemporary art, will celebrate his 99th birthday. Together with German artist Hans Hartung (1904–1989) and Russian painter Serge Poliakoff (1900–1969), Soulages influenced an entire generation of abstract artists. His early interest in prehistoric and Romanesque art was followed by an intense dialogue with the works of Rembrandt, Courbet, Cézanne and Picasso. With his friends Hartung and Francis Picabia, he participated in the Salon des Surindépendants in 1947, and one year later his works went on tour with the exhibition “Französische Abstrakte Malerei”. Since that time, his works have achieved international recognition.

Pierre Soulages.
Untitled. 1973.
Gouache on paper mounted on canvas. 75 x 54,5 cm.
Estimate: CHF 80 000 / 240 000

Marcia Hafif.
Untitled. 1963.
Acrylic on canvas. 140 x 140 cm.
Estimate: CHF 8 000 / 12 000

The art of the 20th century is also represented by several ceramic works by Pablo Picasso (1881–1973) and prints by Swiss artist Lili Tschudi (1911–2004). “KASS-II”, 1973, an acrylic painting by Hungarian art­ist and student of Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, Victor Vasarely (1906–1997), possesses all of the characteristics of the Op-Art style which Vasarely co-founded. With its seemingly spatial geometric structure, it sheds its two-dimensionality and tests the limits of the viewer’s perception.

The German Luitpold Domberger, along with his son Michael Domberger, are considered pioneers and developers of the screen printing technique in Germany. Through “Edition Domberger”, they edited countless artists’ works. In the current auction are featured a series of printed works by 20th-century artists from the Domberger collection such as the Bauhaus artist Anni Albers (1899–1994) and the American minimal­ist painters Sol LeWitt (1928–2007) and Robert Mangold (*1937).

Alessandro Guerriero.
Unique piece for Alchimia.
Laminated wood with polychrome decoration. 147 x 28 x 174 cm
Estimate: CHF 35 000 / 55 000

Emil Nolde.
Doppelbild (Sie seltsames Licht). 1918.
Oil on canvas. 60,6 x 56,2 cm
Estimate: CHF 600 000 / 900 000

Life choices in the time of ostracism

Preview of the Impressionist & Modern Art Auction

The post-1933 landscapes of Otto Dix (1891–1969) were made during the period of “inner emigration” after the Nazi accession to power in Germany. Dix, who was one of the first art professors to be dismissed from the Kunstakademie in Dresden, witnessed the systematic removal of 260 of his artworks from German museums and their subsequent inclusion in the infamous “Degenerate Art” propaganda exhibit in Munich in 1937. The artist, who considered himself to be one of the founders of the Neue Sachlichkeit (“New Objectivity”) movement, and whose work during the years of the Weimar Republic was marked by scenes bitingly critical of society, withdrew to Randegg castle in southern Germany. There, in view of political conditions, he devoted himself above all to landscape painting. “I was banned to the countryside. I fled into the countryside, and painted and painted.” he noted.

Otto Dix.
Wintertag in Randegg. 1933.
Mixed media on panel. 60 x 80 cm.
Estimate: CHF 70 000 / 100 000

Christian Schad.
Angelika Herrschmann. 1947.
Oil on canvas backed with masonite. 41 x 34 cm.
Estimate: CHF 25 000 / 35 000

“Wintertag in Randegg”, 1933 (ill. 2.), to be offered in the 7 December auction, is an excellent example of this phase of Dix’s work. Painted in a glazed mixed media technique, Dix employs the savoir faire of the Old Masters to depict the atmosphere of the southern German countryside near the Lake of Constance and the Upper Rhine. He drew inspiration from the Danube School painters, from Romantics such as Caspar David Friedrich, as well as from the painterly technique of Pieter Brueghel the Elder. At the same time, the choice of these peaceful motifs speaks to his forced withdrawal from big-city life and a society that had suddenly so fundamentally changed.

Dix’s contemporary and fellow countryman Emil Nolde – actually Hans Emil Hansen (1867–1956), who in 1902 adopted the name of his Northern Schleswig (and from 1920 Danish) birthplace – is considered to be one of the greatest watercolour artists of the 20th century. In 1937, this important Expressionist was surprised and dismayed by the defamation of his works by the Nazis.

Portraits not only hold a major place within the body of Nolde’s work, they are also a fascinating reflection of the artist’s profound interest in the human spirit. Nolde was not a portraitist in the classic sense, but rather sought to render a psychological image. His subjects were often friends and close family members. An example of this is “Doppelbild (Sie seltsames Licht)”, 1918 (ill. 1.), to be offered on 7 December. The characteristics of the individuals depicted led him towards a free, universally valid representation in strong colours and distinctive forms. “Duality held an important place in my paintings and graphic works. Together or in conflict, man and woman, delight and sorrow, deity and devil. The colours were also set in contrast: cold and warm, light and dark, weak and strong,” wrote the artist in 1948.

Pablo Picasso
Hibou. 1968.
Vase. Painted ceramic. 59/500. H 30 cm.
Estimate: CHF 8 000 / 12 000

Giovanni Giacometti.
Mountain landscape. 1931.
Oil on canvas. 75,5 x 80 cm.
Estimate: CHF 120 000 / 180 000

The drama of landscape

Preview of the Swiss Art Auction

on 7 December 2018

The art of landscape painting has continually undergone transformations throughout its long history. Naturalistic representations with geographically identifiable elements, which existed in Europe from the 15th century, subsequently branched out towards idealised landscapes. These compositions contained symbolically charged visual inventions or motifs which communicated the atmospheric qualities of the original visual content while subtly imbuing it with human perceptions. Landscape painting, especially in the waning years of the 19th century, eventually freed itself from optical and formal fidelity to nature. The Barbizon school with its paysage intime and the Impressionists rediscovered the landscape and attached completely new meanings to the colour spectrum and analytical painting techniques. With the Expressionist movements in the early 20th century, these tendencies were given a further stimulus, leading to the next metamorphosis in landscape painting.

Gottardo Segantini.
Sera l'inverno. 1919
Oil on canvas

. 105 x 152 cm.
Estimate: CHF 120 000 / 180 000

Adolf Dietrich’s (1877–1957) impressive lake view in the 7 December auction of Swiss Art (ill. 3) shows intriguing parallels to the landscape paintings of Swiss artist Félix Vallotton (1865–1925) (ill. 4), even though Dietrich was not familiar with Vallotton’s work. Remarkably, both artists arrived separately at similar creative solutions. Like Vallotton, Dietrich was seeking intensification of colour and motif in the portrayal of landscapes. For both artists, the focus was less on a realistic rendering than on a symbolically charged depiction, which occasionally recalls dream sequences, references to which are clearly found in Metaphysical Art.

The Untersee at twilight was a favourite subject for Dietrich, especially in the mid-1920s and the early 1930s. In 1926, he filled two almost identically sized fields with this motif, with an eerily exact reflection of the sky in the perfectly still water. The static equilibrium is unsettling for the viewer; it symbolises the diminishing light after sundown and the transformation from day to night, which will never be fully realized in this artistically captured moment. Time is suspended. The subject of this painting is not a specific place (in this case a part of Lake Constance), but rather the expression of a particular mood. Dietrich’s landscape paintings were preceded by numerous pastel studies from his early career, in which he captured the diversity of light effects on Lake Constance. The expressivity and colour of the pastel works are intensified in the oil paintings, rendering them even more dramatic and imaginative. The painting featured on 7 December was first auctioned by Koller in 1994 and has remained in the family collection of the purchaser. It can be classed among a series of comparable views in which Dietrich worked exhaustively on depictions of the Southern German landscape.

Rembrandt Bugatti.
Le flamant en marche. Circa 1912.
Bronze with black patina. H 33,5 cm.
Estimate: CHF 70 000 / 100 000

Animals, with empathy

Preview of the Art Nouveau & Art Deco Auction

on 6 December 2018

Fascinating animal sculptures were Italian artist Rembrandt Bugatti’s (1884–1916) signature creations. The name Bugatti would become world famous because of the automobile company founded by the artist’s elder brother Ettore. It was not by chance that Bugatti’s parents followed the suggestion of his godfather, established sculptor Ercole Rosa, to christen their new-born child “Rembrandt”, thus predestining him to an artistic future. In the Bugatti family and circle of friends there were already numerous artists, beginning with his grandfather who worked as a sculptor; his father, a furniture and jewellery designer; Rembrandt’s uncle, none less than the artist Giovanni Segantini, and among the family’s friends was the composer Giacomo Puccini.

Edouard Marcel Sandoz.
Groupe de chèvres. 1937.
Bronze with brown patina. H 42 cm.
Estimate: CHF 45 000 / 60 000

Tiffany Studios N.Y.
«Twelve-light-lily» floor lamp. Circa 1910.
Gilt bronze and Favrile glass. H 141 cm.
Estimate: CHF 30 000 / 40 000

A self-taught artist, Rembrandt Bugatti learned bronze casting from the Parisian gallerist and bronze founder Adrien-Aurélien Hébrard, whose clients included such artists as Edgar Degas and Auguste Rodin. Bugatti – who from his youth had demonstrated considerable artistic talent and already enjoyed commercial success with his exhibitions – was an animal lover who obsessively studied the natural world in the zoological gardens of Paris and Antwerp. He was especially drawn to the exotic wild animals in these zoos, which resulted in an impressive array of sculptures of elephants, peacocks, camels, anteaters, yaks, kangaroos, and countless feline predators. The flamingo offered in the 6 December auction (ill. 4) is one of approximately 300 animal sculptures that Bugatti created. This genre was very popular in the years around 1900 and sculptors, known as animaliers, made animals in every imaginable shape, size and material. These were not only destined for high-society sitting rooms, but also for the private and public collections of the time.

Unlike other artists who worked primarily from sketches, Bugatti modelled his clay figures directly on site in zoos, and even sometimes in the animals’ enclosures. He was able to reproduce the animals with astonishing realism, yet always with sensitivity and individuality. Many of his sculptures still bear the marks of his fingerprints on their surfaces – “as if he wanted to capture the fleeting movement of an animal with his two hands.” The nervous energy of these years before the First World War is latent beneath the pelts, feathers and skins of his subjects.

Rembrandt Bugatti’s work, much celebrated in his lifetime, was forgotten soon after his early death. After a modest exhibition in the Hamburg Museum für Kunst und Gerwebe in 1983, this injustice was finally rectified with a comprehensive retrospective in the Alte Nationalgalerie in Berlin in 2014. It showed Bugatti as a virtuoso and empathetic sculptor in the tradition of the 19th century, who left his own unique mark on the history of European art.

Erwin Blumenfeld
Hat Fashion, Dior, New York. 1946.
Silver gelatin print. Vintage. 33 x 26,7 cm.
Estimate: CHF 20 000 / 30 000

A limited edition Patek Philippe
anniversary chronograph. 2015.
18K yellow gold. Ref. 5975 J.
Estimate: CHF 40 000 / 60 000

Cartier, Bulgari and Patek Philippe

Preview of the Watches and Jewellery Auctions

on 5 December

Over 400 lots of Jewellery and Watches will be offered on 5 December, including numerous diamonds and coloured precious stones, High Jewellery by Chopard, Harry Winston, Bulgari and Cartier, and fine pieces by Van Cleef & Arpels, Boucheron, Lalaounis, Vourakis and Buccellati. Of special note are a pair of ear pendants with two large, pear-shaped natural pearls, and a natural pearl brooch from the family of the Marquise Bevilacqua Ariosti

Natural pearl and diamond brooch.
Circa 1900.
Silver and pink gold
Estimate: CHF 30 000 / 50 000

Emerald and fancy diamond corsage brooch
Circa 1950. 18K white gold. Suspending a
Colombian pear-shaped emerald of ca. 59.00 ct.
Estimate: CHF 120 000 / 180 000

Other lots of particular interest are a very decorative diamond brooch with a pinkish-orange pear-shaped 6.93 carat fancy diamond; a Colombian emerald, circa 59 carats, suspended as a pendant, and an octahedron diamond with a captivating asterism effect.

Harry Winston. Diamond bracelet, platinum 950.
Set with 10 pear-shaped, 30 marquise-shaped and
220 brilliant-cut diamonds totalling ca. 38.00 ct.
Estimate: CHF 80 000 / 120 000

A Bhuta mask of Panjurli
India, Karnataka, Tulu Nadu
18th/19th century. Bronze. H circa 27 cm.
Estimate: CHF 4 000 / 6 000

Magic masks

Preview of the Asian Art Auctions

on 3 and 4 December 2018

Ritual masks play a central role in the religious celebrations of the southwestern Indian coastal region of Tulu Nadu. These elaborately crafted masks do not represent popular Hindu deities such as Shiva and Vishnu, but rather local gods and heroes like Daiva and Bhuta. Through theatrical dance performances, professional dancers bring the honoured deities to life. During these trancelike enactments by the Pambada, the gods take possession of the dancers, who then – endowed with superhuman qualities – accept offerings and wishes, resolve conflicts, administer justice and heal the sick. Along with the sacred masks, the ritual involves opulently decorated costumes and majestic structures, up to several meters high. Behind these expressive mask dances lies the fascinating mythology of the relatively small geographic region in which Tulu culture thrives, recounted in music and song during the festivities. The myths are passed on orally from one generation to the next. The elaborate religious celebrations mark the annual calendar, and ritual masks are frequently part of the performances. In the 4 December auction, a Panjurli mask from the 18th/19th century is rendered as a stylised head of a wild boar (ill. 1), while Pilichandi masks always take the form of a tiger (ill. 2).

A large Pilichandi Bhuta mask.
India, Karnataka, Tulu Nadu.
18th/19th century. Bronze. H 38.5 cm.
Estimate: CHF 5 000 / 8 000

A fine Dehua figure of Manjushr.
China, 18th century
Blanc de Chine. H 22,2 cm.
Estimate: CHF 10 000 / 15 000

A much more introspective manner of honouring deities is represented by a 16th-century Tibetan figure of Vajradhara (ill. 2). Seated on a double lotus throne, the richly bejewelled, transcendent “primordial buddha” (Adhibuddha) assumes the position of a teacher, with his hands before his chest. In the cosmology of Tibetan Buddhism, Vajradhara is considered the highest essence of all buddhas. His name signifies “lord of the Vajra essence”. Figures like this one were made for temples as well as for private use – for veneration and for meditation.

A pair of elegant two-part cabinets in the 3 December auction (ill. 4) were purportedly made for the sixteenth and last Ming emperor Chongzhen (1611–1644). This information was communicated by the seller, Xu Shoushao, who offered them in Beijing in 1923 to the New York banker and collector Henry H. Wehrhane. The seller’s grandfather, Xu Tong (1819–1900), acquired them from the emperor Guangxu (1871–1908), whom he tutored. The provenance is related in a notice translated into English in 1923 by J.C. Fitzhugh, which was given to Wehrhane when he purchased the cabinets. Many families among the nobility and civil servants found themselves in difficult financial straits after the fall of the Qing dynasty, and were forced to sell all of their valuables. The cabinets are of the finest quality and typical of the lacquer workshops of Yangzhou, which brought this style, with its multicolour stone inlay – the so-called “hundred treasures” inlay – to perfection in the later years of the Ming dynasty. Pieces of this quality of craftsmanship seldom appear on the market.

A splendid pair of Yangzhou style lacquer two-part
cabinets. China, late Ming dynasty. Overall height 173 cm.
Estimate: CHF 120 000 / 180 000

Carstian Luyckx
Memento Mori still life.
Oil on canvas. 73,5 × 92,5 cm
Sold for CHF 538 000

Death and the devil

Review of the Old Master Paintings Auctions in 2018

Phantasmagorical scenes became prominent in the visual arts in the early modern era. Various artistic motifs were developed to address the passage from here to the beyond, the uncertain transition from life to death. Themes such as the “temptation of Saint Anthony”, representations of Purgatory, apoc­alyptic horsemen announcing the end of the world, illustrations of the Last Judgement, and vanitas paintings all allowed artists to breach the established canons of motif and figure and to explore a new world of imagery. Paintings, woodcuts and sculpture during the last years of the 15th century were particularly laden with symbolically charged images of death and the devil, evil, corruption and sin personified as hybrid creatures, gnomes and monsters. Such scenes increased the omnipresence of death in art, while bringing the confrontation of the viewer with his or her own transience to a new level.

Albrecht Dürer.
The four horsemen of the apocalypse.
Circa 1497/98. Woodcut. 39,6 × 28 cm.
Sold for CHF 54 000

Follower of Hieronymus Bosch. Circa 1550.
he temptation of Saint Anthony (detail).
Oil on panel. 45 x 57 cm.
Sold for CHF 200 000

One of the central figures in this pictorial narrative is the Christian monk Saint Anthony, also known as Anthony the Great. Legend has it that during his long isolation in the desert he was continually assailed by torturous visions that tempted him to abandon his existence as a hermit. Anthony had to resist the devil, who appeared to him in the forms of a knight and a seductive woman, as well as suffering physical injuries inflicted by a host of demonic beasts. The numerous representations of his ordeals – from 10th century frescoes, early illuminated manuscripts, and paintings by Hieronymus Bosch and Mathias Grünewald, to works by Max Ernst – are based on written accounts, especially the Vita Antonii by Evagrius of Antioch. Anthony’s trials also found echoes in literature, for example in works by E. T. A. Hoffmann and Gustave Flaubert. These impressively demonstrate how profoundly Anthony became enshrined as the “divine man” (theios aner)

The visual arts possess an entire lexicon of emblematic vanitas symbolism related to the fleeting nature of earthly existence, designed to remind viewers that we have no power over life and death. The skull, the lifeless snail shell, empty glasses and staged ruins are somewhat one-dimensional ways of communicating this message, while mirrors and parrots (as symbols of abhorrent vanity), masks (which stand for the absence of their wearers) and playing cards (representing the tendency towards pointless pastimes) represent more complex relationships. Within the context of art, a crucial distinction remains between the illusory trappings of immediate sensuality and indirect religious symbols.

A maiolica “ghirlanda di frutta".
A Florence, Della Robbia workshop, probably 15th/16th century
D 62 cm/41 cm/11 cm
Sold for CHF 118 000

A conversation among artworks

Review of the Fine Furniture, Silver and Porcelain Auctions, 25 and 27 September 2018

“The true collector is an artist, squared. He chooses pictures and hangs them on the wall. In other words, he paints himself a collection.” This quote by conceptual artist and Dadaist Marcel Duchamp presciently describes a recent trend in collecting. The history of collecting includes both the eclectic diversity of princely cabinets of curiosities as well as coin collectors, who strive to assemble complete collections. Today’s art buyers often make their decisions based on their own personal criteria and acquire works with which they are ready to enter into a dialogue, which contain their own stories, and will help to advance the story of the entire collection. In this type of collecting, breaking down borders is not discouraged, but positively sought after: periods, styles and categories confront one another and ignite a wholly subjective debate. Classicism meets Bauhaus, Baroque encounters Mid-century, furniture seeks paintings, and precious metals find their counterparts in porcelain. This kind of internal osmosis has the greatest chance for success when the artworks meet each other face-to-face.

An ivory hunting horn/olifant.
Portugal, probably circa 1480.
L 40 cm.
Sold for CHF 95 000

Collectors take the objects of their desire out of the river of time, and also out of their context; at the same time there is a new context in which the artwork is allowed to develop. Although the plenitude of the cabinet of curiosities remains the inspiration, more important than the accumulation of curiosities and precious items is the authenticity of the objects and their individual idiosyncrasies. Each acquisition stands alone, yet corresponds to its neighbor. With this opportunity comes a facilitated access to others – in the words of Goethe, “Give much, and then to each one something passes. And each one leaves the house with a happy heart.”

The 27 September Fine Furniture auction offered a large, superbly carved console “à la coquille” made over 300 years ago in a Parisian master workshop. This striking piece is a fine example of the Régence style and the transition from the rigid, architectonic and monumental forms typical of Louis XIV furniture to lighter, scrolling and serpentine outlines. Further developments in this direction would lead in the following decades to the Louis XV style. This console is thereby an eloquent witness to the evolution of form in French furniture from the Baroque to Rococo among the French royal court and nobility in the early years of the 18th century. Splendidly gilded like the console, an impressive silver drinking vessel in the form of an exquisitely detailed sailing ship changed hands in the Majolica, Porcelain & Silver auction on 25 September. Created a century earlier than the console, it was made by the Nuremberg goldsmith Esaias zur Linden (active from 1609 to 1632), who most likely crafted the piece for a particular client who wished to demonstrate his social rank by possessing such a precious object. Some of the most important museums dedicated to the decorative arts, such as the Hermitage and the Victoria and Albert Museum, possess drinking vessels by zur Linden, and another of his ship-form drinking vessels was in the Yves Saint Laurent collection.

A large Régence carved giltwood console “à la coquille”.
From a Parisian master workshop.
Circa 1710/20
Sold for CHF 78 000

Félix Ziem.
«Fête de l'Assomption, dans le bassin».
Oil on canvas. 67 × 82 cm.
Sold for CHF 86 000.

The century of change

Review of the 19th Century Paintings Auctions in 2018

Before circa 1800, periods in Western art can be seen as a series of alternating styles. In the course of the 19th century, this evolutionary process was increasingly superseded by a pluralism of styles, in which several different artistic movements vied for the public’s attention at the same time. The art contained contradictions, was fast-moving and multi-dimensional – much like the Industrial Revolution that occurred during the same period – and was often disharmonious. Art became categorized by various “isms” and styles that no longer followed one another but existed simultaneously: Classicism, Biedermeier, Romanticism, Realism, Naturalism, Historicism and Impressionism. On the threshold of the 20th century, Post-Impressionism, Symbolism, and especially Art Nouveau set forth their own artistic premises, but even these main movements left ample room for numerous sub-movements to develop.

Carl Spitzweg.
Vor der Stadt. 1875–80.
Oil on panel. 16 × 30 cm.
Sold for CHF 68 000

Eugène Louis Boudin.
“Dordrecht, bateaux sur la Meuse”. 1884.
Oil on canvas. 46,5 × 65,3 cm.
Sold for CHF 118 000

Central to 19th century art, throughout all of its techniques and styles, is the treatment of light. William Turner (1755–1851) and John Constable (1776–1837), both outstanding English landscape painters, influenced the ensuing generation of artists, above all the Barbizon school, with their plein air painting techniques. The close link between technical advancements and artistic developments at this time is best illustrated by the influence of photography on the visual arts. The ground-breaking discovery of photographic principles and the invention of processes to conserve the resulting images – on paper by Henry Fox Talbot in 1834, and daguerreotypes on silvered copper plates in 1839 – opened completely new horizons for painting, such as the colour analysis works of the Divisionists, including Georges Seurat (1859–1891).

A fine example of the treatment of light in the Barbizon school is the view of Venice by French painter Felix Ziem (1821–1911), sold in September 2018. The composition, in effervescent colours, is dominated by an imposing sailing ship. Ziem creates a sunny, Mediterranean atmosphere through rapid brushstrokes and impasto. Carl Spitzweg (1808–1885) is considered one of the most important representatives of the 19th-century Munich school. The September auction featured a typical landscape by Spitzweg, created – as was often the case – in plein air. With rapid, almost ephemeral touches and in a small format, he succeeded in conveying the airy feeling that pervades the landscape. Eugene Boudin (1824–1898) was called by some of his contemporaries the “king of the skies”. He was also fascinated by light and shadow, and their effect on the perception and artistic rendering of landscapes. Boudin always paid particular attention in his work to the true-to-nature depiction of sky and water, as in “Dordrecht, bateaux sur la Meuse”.

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

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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.

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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 Munich, Dusseldorf, Milan, Moscow and Beijing. Each year Koller holds over sixty 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, the family-owned auction house combines the distinct advantages of an internationally active auction house with Swiss reliability and efficiency.