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 December 2019.

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Dear Clients and Friends

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

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

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

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

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

I wish you, dear readers, an informative read.

Yours, Cyril Koller

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

Fools say what the wise man only thinks

Preview of the Old Master Paintings Auction on 27 September 2019

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

© akg-images

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

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

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

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

JSaint 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

TTechnical 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 de l’électeur de Saxe.
Frédérick le Sage. 1525.
Huile sur panneau de hêtre. 38,7 x 25,3 cm.
Vendue pour CHF 264 000


Tableaux, Dessins et Gravures de Maîtres anciens et du XIXe siècle
Mobilier et Arts décoratifs – Joaillerie – Livres, Manuscrits & Autographes

Ventes aux enchères à Zurich du 26 au 29 mars 2019


Chez Koller à Zürich, les enchères de tableaux de Maîtres Anciens & du 19e siècle tenues le 29 mars ont rencontré un véritable succès, avec un taux de vente supérieur à 100% en valeur. Un portrait peint par Lucas Cranach et son atelier de Frederick le Sage, Electeur de Saxe et mécène de Cranach, a vu son estimation presque tripler en atteignant CHF 264’000. La « Bataille sur le Pont » d’Arnold Böcklin, puissante et dynamique, a changé de mains pour CHF 240’000.

La Tentation de Saint Antoine.
Huile sur panneau. 27,7 x 37,2 cm.
Vendue pour CHF 168 000

Venise avec vue sur le Palais des Doges
et Santa Maria della Salute. 1863.
Huile sur toile. 54 x 89 cm.
Vendue pour CHF 72 000

Les tableaux de Maîtres Anciens comptaient également un tableau redécouvert de Jan Wellens de Cock, qui a atteint CHF 168’000, et une oeuvre de Gerrit Dou, qui a atteint CHF 156’000. Parmi les tableaux du 19e siècle, un paysage vénitien chatoyant de Carl Morgenstern a été vendu pour CHF 72’000, et la représentation humoristique d’un botaniste chassant des papillons par Carl Spitzweg a atteint CHF 114’000.

La collection du réalisateur hollandais Jef Rademakers a également connu d’excellents résultats : une scène de patinage nocturne peinte par Andreas Schelfhout a notamment atteint CHF 90’000.

Pendant cette semaine d’enchères, toutes les catégories de vente ont réalisé d’excellents taux et des prix forts. Les enchères de Livres & Manuscrits du 26 mars comprenaient un ouvrage sur la flore et la faune du Surinam, magnifiquement illustré par Maria Sybilla Merian, dont le prix d’estimation a doublé. L’ouvrage a ainsi été vendu pour CHF 132’000. Pendant ces mêmes enchères, un traité de botanique de Johann Simon Kerner, somptueusement illustré, a été vendu pour CHF 72’000, soit le sextuple de son estimation.

Patineurs avec “Koek-en-zopie” la nuit. 1849.
Huile sur panneau. 31 x 42,5 cm.
Vendue pour CHF 90 000



La lutte sur le pont. 1889.
Huile sur panneau.
96 x 149,5 cm.
Vendue pour CHF 240 000

Une vendeuse de hareng avec une servante dans une niche.
Huile sur panneau.
46 x 36,2 cm.
Vendue pour CHF 156 000

Dissertatio de generatione et metamorphosibus
insectorum Surinamensium.
La Haye, 1726.
Vendue pour CHF 132 000


Der Le chasseur de papillons (botaniste). Vers 1836/37.
Huile sur toile.
29,8 x 24,5 cm.
Vendue pour CHF 114 000

Joueurs de dés et un couple de paysans.
Vers 1525-30. Encre noire, partiellement avec lavis.
Vendue pour CHF 120 000

Sculpture en bronze : “Napoléon à cheval”
ou “Le voyageur”, vers 1900.
L 59 cm, H 48 cm.
Vendue pour 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


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. Diamet er 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

La Tentation de Saint Antoine (détail). Vers 1469-73.
Gravure sur cuivre. 31,4 x 23,8 cm.
Estimation : CHF 25 000 / 35 000
En vente le 28 septembre 2018


La tentation dans l'art

Les êtres humains sont-ils fondamentalement mauvais et ne font le bien que sous la pression de la société, ou sommes-nous de bonnes personnes à l’origine, commettant occasionnellement de mauvaises actions par faiblesse et tentation? Ce débat dure depuis des milliers d’années et n’est pas prêt de se terminer. Cependant il existe un point sur lequel la plupart des gens s’accorde: même si nous essayons d’être bons, la tentation prend parfois le dessus, et même les figures saintes ont de la difficulté à résister.

Les artistes ont traité cette thématique séduisante au fil des siècles et la Tentation de Saint Antoine reste probablement leur sujet favori. Ascète du III et IVe siècle, Antoine s’est retiré en tant qu’ermite dans le désert égyptien pendant de nombreuses années. La légende raconte que durant cette période, toutes sortes de démons lui ont rendu visite et l'ont tenté assidument par le biais de l’oisiveté, la paresse et les visions de femmes, le battant même parfois cruellement et sans raison.

Dans la gravure de Martin Schongauer datant du milieu du XVe siècle, Saint Antoine est entouré de créatures terrifiantes issues des pires cauchemars de l’artiste. L’imagerie puissante et la composition harmonieuse de cette estampe en ont fait l’une des œuvres les plus célèbres de Schongauer.

Paysage nocturne avec la Tentation de Saint Antoine (détail).
Huile sur panneau. 45 x 57 cm.
Estimation : CHF 180 000 / 250 000
En vente le 28 septembre 2018

Près d’un siècle plus tard, un artiste flamand a illustré le même thème, inspiré par le légendaire Hieronymous Bosch et ses scènes de l’Enfer. Dans une atmosphère obscure, éclairée uniquement par des flammes déchaînées, Saint Antoine tente de repousser par la prière les innombrables démons qui semblent immuablement installés autour de lui. L'artiste a laissé libre cours à ses fantasmes les plus sombres et les plus effrayants, dans un processus cathartique similaire à celui que les ascètes s'efforçaient d’établir eux-mêmes par leur isolement et leur jeûne prolongés.

Louis XVI, par François Rémond.
Paris vers 1765/70. H 61,5 cm.
Estimation : CHF 38 000 / 58 000
En vente le 27 septembre 2018

François Rémond, maître-artisan d'une paire de chandeliers Louis XVI en bronze doré, présentés dans la vente aux enchères de mobilier de prestige, a choisi une manière plus légère pour illustrer ce thème de la Tentation. Deux chérubins, représentant l’Amour, sont assis sur le dos de deux bouquetins. Ces animaux sont traditionnellement le symbole des impulsions sexuelles débridées et apparaissent souvent dans les Bacchanales. La position docile des bouquetins semble suggérer que même le Casanova le plus rétif peut être apprivoisé et soumis au pouvoir de l'amour.



Vers 1700. Or 750 (médaille) et or 999 ainsi que pierres précieuses.
Suspendus de deux chaînes sont un cor de chasse et un médaillon oval, entouré d'une rangée de petites pierres couleur émeraude et deux diamants.
L 8,5; H 9,5 cm.

Estimation : CHF 15 000 / 25 000.
Vente à Zurich le 27 septembre 2018

Depuis la nuit des temps, nos ancêtres utilisaient des cornes d'appels pour communiquer pendant la chasse. Ces simples outils de communication sonore se développèrent progressivement en instruments de musique complexes. Cette mutation instrumentale permit de passer d’une simple musique d’écurie à une musique de salon et d’orchestre. Werner Flachs, chimiste et chasseur passionné, né en 1930, s'est consacré sa vie durant à décrire et documenter ce développement dans l’histoire. Des années de recherches, de voyages et de visites muséales ont non seulement abouti à la publication du livre "Das Jagdhorn, Seine Geschichte von der Steinzeit bis zur Gegenwart" (le cor de chasse, son histoire de l'Âge de pierre jusqu'à nos jours), qui a reçu le prix littéraire du Conseil International de la Chasse en 1995, mais a également abouti à réunir une merveilleuse collection d'instruments historiques. Cette collection offre un regard exclusif sur ces témoins de l’histoire comme l’étaient les anciennes flûtes osseuses préhistoriques et les olifants médiévaux d’ivoire et de corne, en passant par des pièces témoignant du développement du cor comme instrument de chasse et comme instrument d’orchestre, avec pour finir des cors baroques et modernes de laiton et de cuivre. Pour les modèles importants qui ne pouvaient être historiquement localisés, le collectionneur avait fait faire des répliques par des luthiers qualifiés, qui sont des pièces uniques à part entière.

La collection a été exposée au Jagdmuseum Schloss Landshut à Utzensdorf de 1994 à 2017.

Nous aimerions remercier M. Flachs et sa femme pour la confiance qu’ils nous témoignent et sommes heureux de pouvoir vous présenter, dans notre prochain catalogue de ventes, ce passionnant « morceau d’histoire ». Nous souhaitons d'ores et déjà à tous les chasseurs, collectionneurs et joueurs de cor une chasse couronnée de succès lors de la vente aux enchères!







Les ventes aux enchères de la maison Koller des 29 et 30 juin dernier ont été marquées par une grande effervescence lors de la mise en vente des oeuvres d’art moderne et d’art contemporain – qui se sont souvent vendues à des prix dépassant de loin leurs estimations. Les deux jours d’enchères se sont clos sur un total de vente qui laisse loin derrière lui les estimations de prévente.

Kees Van Dongen
L’Egyptienne. 1910-11.
Huile sur toile.
100 x 73 cm.
Vendu pour CHF 1.7 Mio.

Une activité inusitée régnait dans la salle des ventes durant les enchères d’art moderne et d’art contemporain qui ont eu lieu les 29 et 30 juin dernier chez Koller, due aux opérateurs téléphoniques et aux offres d’Internet qui crépitaient de manière ininterrompue. Le tableau fauve de Kees van Dongen, “Rouge et Jaune (l’Égyptienne)” datant de 1910-11, a été adjugé pour CHF 1,7 million à un collectionneur privé européen. Un autre tableau de Kees van Dongen, provenant de la même collection privée suisse, « Portrait de femme », datant de 1913, a changé de mains pour CHF 240 500 ; il faisait partie d’une compilation d’oeuvres des années 1920 qui incluait d’autres oeuvres importantes de cette époque, telles celles de Vlaminck (lot 3231, vendu pour CHF 204 500) et de Gen Paul.

Les oeuvres sculptées ont été particulièrement recherchées lors des ventes aux enchères du mois de juin : le « Bust of a Rising Youth » de l’artiste allemand Wilhelm Lehmbruck s’est envolé pour la somme de CHF 324 500, à savoir plus du double de son estimation. Un rare bol en bois gravé par l’artiste Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, « Obstschale II » (Coupe à fruits II) a atteint la somme de CHF 186 500 et une étonnante sculpture en métal peint de Tony Cragg faisant partie de la série «Early Forms » (Formes premières), intitulée « Red Square » (Carré Rouge) et datant de 2007, s’est vendue pour la somme de CHF 144 500.

Les enchères émanant de collectionneurs résidant aux Etats-Unis, en Allemagne et en Asie pour « Kiss #14 » (Baiser #14) – une composition de métal compressé de John Chamberlain – ont donné lieu à une joute d’enchères particulièrement féroce et la sculpture a fini par être vendue pour plus du double de son estimation, soit à CHF 526 500. D’autres oeuvres de Pop Art se sont également bien comportées lors de la vente aux enchères d’art d’après-guerre et d’art contemporain, telles que le « Clockwork Panda Drummer » de Andy Warhol, un polymère synthétique et sérigraphie sur toile de petit format estimé à CHF 80 000 / 140 000, qui a réalisé la somme impressionnante de CHF 192 500. Parmi les huit sérigraphies en couleur de Keith Haring mises en vente lors de ces enchères, pas moins de cinq d’entre elles ont doublé leur estimation et les autres ne furent pas loin de réaliser le même exploit. « Growing », datant de 1988, par exemple, s’est vendu pour CHF 58 100 contre une estimation préalable de CHF 25 000 / 35 000.

Une gravure sur bois de grande dimension de l’artiste Suisse Franz Gertsch, « Dominique », datant de 1988, a atteint la somme de CHF 168 500. « Lord of the Rings I », un paysage fantastique d’un autre artiste suisse, H. R. Giger – le créateur de la créature du film « Alien » – a plus que doublé son estimation pour atteindre la somme de CHF 144 500. Quant aux oeuvres de Victor Vasarely, elles continuent de connaître un regain de faveur, comme c’est le cas de « Kezdi-Domb », une oeuvre de 1968/75 provenant d’une collection privée suisse, qui a changé de mains pour une somme bien supérieure à son estimation la plus haute, à savoir pour CHF 198 500.

Les artistes allemands contemporains ont fait une apparition très remarquée lors des enchères d’art d’après-guerre, telle que Karin Kneffel qui vit à Dusseldorf et dont une oeuvre sans titre datant de 2005 fut adjugée pour plus du double de son estimation, soit à CHF 106 100, ce qui fait de cette enchère l’une des sommes les plus élevées jamais réalisées pour une oeuvre de cette série ; mentionnons également une composition de l’artiste berlinoise Katharina Grosse « 1020S » datant de 2006, qui s’est vendue à CHF 58 100 contre une estimation préalable de CHF 15 000 / 25 000, ce qui représente un résultat remarquable pour une oeuvre de cette dimension par cette artiste.




Portrait de femme. Vers 1913.

Huile sur toile. 65 x 55 cm.

Vendu pour CHF 240 500



Buste de jeune homme ascendant. 1913.

Pierre moulée, réalisée du vivant de l'artiste.

Vendu pour CHF 324 500



Obstschale II. Vers 1910.

Bois peint en rouge.

Vendu pour CHF 186 500




Kezdi-Domb. 1968/75.

Acrylique sur toile. 160 x 160 cm.

Vendu pour CHF 198 500



Red Square. 2007.

Bronze coloré.. 70 x 80 x 66cm.

Vendu pour CHF 144 500



LL’Allée. Vers 1912-14.

Huile sur toile. 66 x 81 cm.

Vendu pour CHF 204 500



Dominique. 1988. FGravure sur bois en couleurs. 7/18.

Représentation 234 x 181 cm Sur japon de Heizoburo 275 x 219 cm.

Vendu pour CHF 168 500



Lord of the rings I. 1975.

Acrylique sur papier sur bois. 100 x 70 cm.

Vondu pour CHF 144 500



Clockwork Panda Drummer. 1983.

Polymère synthétique et sérigraphie sur toile. 35.5 x 27.7

Vendu pour CHF 192 500



Growing. 1988.

Sérigraphies en couleur. AP 2/15.

Vendu pour CHF 58 100



1020S. 2006.

Acrylique sur toile. 142 x 82 cm.

Vendu pour CHF 58 100



Kiss #18. 1979.

Métal peint. 68.5 x 59.5 x 61 cm.

Vendu pour CHF 526 500


Catalogues avec résultats, vente de juin 2018


Calendrier des ventes, 2018


Vendre chez Koller



Un hommage de Richard Hamilton à Picasso ... et à Velázquez

Pour la voir en grand, veuillez cliquer sur l'image.

Dans cette œuvre, Richard Hamilton prend comme point de départ le célèbre tableau « Las Meninas » de Diego Velázquez et substitue certains éléments par des compositions graphiques issues du travail de Pablo Picasso. Chaque image représente une période stylistique dans l’œuvre du maître catalan. Cette estampe fut créée en 1973 pour un portfolio illustré par divers artistes intitulé « Hommage à Picasso ». Toutefois, comme Hamilton avouait en souriant lors d'un interview au Prado en 2010, « L'hommage, je crois, penche légèrement en faveur de Velázquez. »

Dans l'image à gauche, le style graphique de certaines figures est décrit, ainsi que leur relation au tableau d'origine de Velázquez (cliquez sur l'image pour la voir en grand).


Diego Velázquez, Las Meninas. 1656. Museo del Prado, Madrid.
Pour la voir en grand, veuillez cliquer sur l'image.

« J'ai vu Las Meninas au Prado pour la première fois en 1972 – sa réputation en tant qu'un des meilleurs tableaux qui existent est bien fondée, » dit Hamilton. « La tentation de reformuler Velázquez à travers les styles de Picasso m'a été irrésistible ... Las Meninas a fourni une opportunité de montrer la totalité des 'périodes' de Picasso en une planche – de la période ‘rose’ au ‘cubisme analytique’, du ‘primitif’ au  ‘néoclassique’, etc. La scène des Meninas peut supporter une grande quantité d'actions et ses ambiguïtés mystérieuses (il semble y avoir une infinité de reflets transversaux dans l'espace du tableau), ont permis une interaction narrative comprenant des substitutions aussi bien de personnalités que de styles. »


(1922 Londres 2011)
Picasso's Meninas. 1973.
Aquatinte. EA 4/5, en dehors de l'édition de 90. Image 57 x 49 cm sur vélin de Rives 75,5 x 57 cm.

En vente à Zurich le 30 juin 2018
Estimation CHF 14 000 / 18 000


Koller Ventes aux Enchères vous invite à découvrir l'exposition des highlights de ses prochaines ventes d'art moderne et contemporain

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 mai   9:30 – 18:00
19 mai        11:00 – 18:00
21 mai        11:00 – 18:00

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

Les œuvres seront vendues aux enchères à Zurich les 29 et 30 juin 2018






Enchères débridées pour des Maîtres anciens chez Koller

(1623 Anvers 1677)
Memento Mori nature morte. Huile sur toile. 73,5 x 92,5 cm.
Vendu pour CHF 538 000

Les enchères semblaient parfois ne pas connaître de limite lors de la vente aux enchères de Maîtres anciens chez Koller Zurich le 23 mars dernier. De nombreuses oeuvres ont vu leurs estimations tripler, voire décupler, démontrant une fois de plus que la demande pour des oeuvres anciennes de qualité est actuellement très soutenue. Le lot phare était un memento mori du XVIIème siècle de l’artiste flamand Carstian Luyckx, plein d’imagerie symbolique servant de commentaire sur la politique de guerre de son temps. Partant d’une estimation de CHF 30’000 – 40’000, les enchères se sont envolées à CHF 538’000, le deuxième prix le plus haut pour une oeuvre de Luyckx en vente publique. Le tableau, récemment redécouvert dans une collection privée, était une très importante addition à l’oeuvre de l’artiste.


(Anvers 1599-1641 Londres)
Portrait d'une noble dame italienne.
Huile sur toile. 48 x 37,7 cm.
Vendu pour CHF 264 500

Un autre tableau qui a dépassé les attentes était le portrait d’une noble dame italienne d’Antoine van Dyck. Son état de conservation moins que parfait a découragé les acheteurs lors de sa dernière présentation en vente à New York en 1999, où il a à peine réalisé $50’000. Cette fois-ci les enchérisseurs étaient plus enthousiastes, et deux d’entre eux ont poussé les enchères jusqu’à CHF 264’500. D’autres oeuvres du XVIIème siècle d’artistes tels que Bernardo Strozzi, Meindert Hobbema et Clara Peeters ont également réalisé des prix de vente dans les six chiffres.


(Schladen 1784-1864 Munich)
Intérieur d'un monastère italien avec vue sur Capri. 1855.
Huile sur toile. 87,2 x 107,7 cm.
Vendu pour CHF 78 500

Plusieurs tableaux du XIXème siècle ont été également très convoités, comme la peinture charmante de l’artiste allemand Eduard Grützner représentant trois moines examinant avec ravissement une gravure de femme nue. Se vendant à CHF 102’500, il a doublé son estimation. Une scène architecturale située sur l’Isle de Capri par Leo von Klenze a réalisé CHF 78’500 contre une estimation de CHF 25 000 – 35 000.

Les prochaines ventes de Maîtres anciens et du XIXème siècle en septembre 2018 marqueront le 60ème anniversaire de Koller Ventes aux Enchères. Les célébrations de cet anniversaire débuteront avec les ventes de tableaux Modernes et Contemporains en juin.


Autres objets phare des ventes de mars


Paysage fluvial. Vers 1663.

Huile sur panneau. 62,5 x 86,5 cm.

Vendu pour CHF 162 500



Couvent capucine près d'Amalfi. 1843.

Huile sur toile. 31,8 x 48 cm.

Vendu pour CHF 36 500



Nature morte avec chat, poissons, huîtres et écrevisses.

Huile sur toile. 38 x 48 cm.

Vendu pour CHF 132 500




Étude secrète. 1892.

Huile sur toile. 38 x 48 cm.

Vendu pour CHF 156 500



Portait de Paolo Gregorio Raggi, Gouverneur de la Corse.

Huile sur toile. 135 x 111 cm.

Vendu pour CHF 216 500



Le modèle de Johann Gottlieb Kirchner, le décor peint probablement de Johann Gregorius Höroldt.

Meissen, vers 1727. H 22 cm.

Vendu pour CHF 78 500



Empire, est. JACOB D.R. MESLEE, Paris vers 1810.

Réalsié pour le Maréchal de l'Empire et Duc d'Amaldie, Jean-de-Dieu Soult.

Vendu pour CHF 36 500



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

Naples, 1776-79.

Vendu pour CHF 78 500



d'après les chevaux de Saint-Marc à Venise.

Venise, 17ème siècle.

Vendue pour CHF 55 700


Catalogues avec résultats, ventes de mars 2018


Calendrier des ventes, 2018


Vendre chez Koller


ou La Protestation d'un peintre

Pour la voir en grand, veuillez cliquer sur l'image.

Ce tableau fascinant, redécouvert récemment dans une collection privée suisse, est un memento mori, peint dans l’intention d’inciter le spectateur à méditer sur la nature éphémère de la vie et sur la vanité des biens et des plaisirs de ce monde. Le memento mori était un thème très courant dans l’art du XVIIème siècle et les symboles représentant la brièveté de la vie étaient immédiatement reconnus par les spectateurs de l’époque et clairement identifiés. Mais derrière ce thème se cache une autre intention, plus subtile et plus singulière en ces temps-là, celle de l’horreur de la guerre et de la condamnation du tout-puissant roi de France, Louis XIV.

Ce symbolisme sous-jacent se réfère manifestement à l’invasion des Pays-Bas espagnols par les forces françaises du roi Louis XIV en 1667/68. Le jeune roi de France, tirant profit de la mort du monarque espagnol Philippe IV, prit possession de ces terres qu’il clamait lui revenir de droit par son mariage à Maria Theresa, fille de Philippe IV. Grâce à des alliances, habilement nouées avant son invasion, avec l’Angleterre, les Provinces Unies des Pays-Bas et le Saint-Empire romain germanique ainsi qu’à une armée espagnole, exsangue, épuisée par la longue guerre qu’elle venait de mener contre le Portugal, ce que l’on nomma plus tard la guerre de dévolution se transforma pour Louis XIV en une succession de victoires remportées presque sans effort.


Adam Frans van der Meulen. Louis XIV à la tête de son armée devant Courtrai, 1667.

Bien que la ville d’Anvers, dans laquelle Carstian Luyckx vivait et peignait, n’ait été le théâtre d’aucune grande bataille (alors que le combat faisait rage à quarante kilomètres de là !), la guerre semble l’avoir profondément affecté, conférant à ce tableau, qu’il peignit peu de temps après la fin des hostilités, une intensité peu commune.

Dans cette oeuvre, le symbolisme du memento mori se manifeste avec éclat dans le squelette – personnification de la mort – qui domine la composition par sa taille et sa position au premier plan. De la main gauche, il éteint une chandelle (celle de la vie) et de la droite, il tient un parchemin sur lequel est inscrite une citation tirée de la lettre de Saint-Paul aux Hébreux : Statutum est omnibus hominibus semel mori (« Le destin des hommes est de mourir une seule fois »). Aux pieds du squelette gît un livre ouvert laissant apparaître des scènes de damnés, voués au châtiment éternel. L’artiste oppose une série de symboles figurant les plaisirs de la vie à d’autres objets évoquant la mort : trois crânes et une suite de garde-temps (illustrant la brièveté de la vie) sont épars parmi des instruments de musique, des jeux de cartes, des dés et des roses – tous les agréments de la vie soudainement brisés net par la présence toute proche de la trompette de la mort qui sonne le glas des distractions humaines.


(1623 Anvers vers 1677)
Memento mori - nature morte aux instruments de musique, aux livres, aux partitions, au squelette, aux crânes et à l'armure (détail).
Huile sur toile. 73,5 x 92,5 cm.

Vendu le 23 mars 2018 pour CHF 538 000

Mais ce qui fait la particularité du symbolisme qui s’offre à nous dans ce tableau, c’est qu’il condamne, de façon frappante et ostensible, non seulement la guerre en général, mais plus précisément le rôle d’un homme dans cette guerre : Louis XIV, roi de France. Les attributs de la royauté française, à savoir le sceptre et la couronne, emblèmes de la puissance de Louis XIV, sont étalés parmi les crânes et autres figurations de la mort. Le squelette se tient debout près d’un drapeau de soie portant les armes de France ainsi que les ordres de Saint-Michel et du Saint-Esprit, mais au lieu d’une devise triomphante à la gloire de la France, l’on peut y lire un rappel à l’ordre sévère, extrait du livre de Job, disant ceci : Homo natus de muliere brevis vivens (« L'homme, né de la femme, vit peu de temps »). Il était courant dans les tableaux de memento mori de rappeler au spectateur que la mort ne fait pas de différence entre le riche et le pauvre, mais le traitement que fait ici l’artiste des armes de France et des attributs de la guerre – telles que la trompette susmentionnée et l’armure d’un officier français. en bas et à droite du tableau – ainsi que leur étroite juxtaposition avec de simples outils de paysans tels que le bol en bois et le fléau, semble sans aucun doute vouloir porter une condamnation directe contre l’auteur des récentes violences perpétrées à l’encontre du pays de l’artiste.

Luyckx, qui était surtout connu jusqu’ici pour ses séries de natures mortes, plutôt simples, se révèle ici comme un maître dans l’art du symbolisme, qu’il travaille avec finesse et subtilité. Ce tableau nous montre aussi que l’artiste était loin d’ignorer les effets dévastateurs que les affrontements des puissances internationales avaient sur les populations humbles et démunies. Tout compte fait, il semblerait que sa seule consolation se trouvât dans les vers d’Horace, inscrits sur le socle de pierre : Pallida mors aequo pulsat pede pauperum tabernas regumque turres (« La pâle mort frappe d'un pied indifférent les masures des pauvres et les palais des rois »)

l'Ameublement de Maréchal Soult

texte de Jean-Dominique Augarde

Jean-de-Dieu Soult, Maréchal d'Empire et duc de Dalmatie, vers 1825

Ce « meuble de salon », selon la terminologie de l’époque, présente un caractère presque unique tant les ensembles de sièges, livrés depuis plus de deux siècles pour une pièce précise dans une demeure précise, et restés en mains privées, deviennent de nos jours de plus en plus rares. Il a dans ce sens un caractère presque muséal. Sa composition elle aussi est d’une grande rareté.

L’ameublement fut commandé par Jean-de-Dieu Soult (1769 – 1851), un des plus brillants officiers des guerres de la Révolution et de l’Empire, considéré par Napoléon comme « le premier manœuvrier de l'Europe ». Maréchal d’Empire en 1804, duc de Dalmatie en 1808, il fut nommé, en 1847, par Louis-Philippe maréchal général de France, charge qui ne compta épisodiquement que sept titulaires en trois siècles.

José Cabanis à propos de la guerre d’Espagne écrit « jamais on ne vit autant de militaires amateurs d’art, et parmi eux le maréchal Soult fut le plus heureux.». Soult y amassa une exceptionnelle collection de tableaux qui fut avec celles de Louis-Philippe et de Wellington une des trois plus importantes de l’école espagnole en dehors de la péninsule ibérique. Sa dispersion fut événement considérable. Le marquis d’Hertford (qui est à l’origine de la fabuleuse collection Wallace à Londres) constata « 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 » : la seule Immaculée Conception de Murillo fut adjugée au gouvernement français à l’enchère inouïe pour l’époque de 586 000 francs.


Empire, estampillé JACOB D.R. MESLEE
Paris vers 1810.
Comprenant six fauteuils "en gondole", deux chaises "en gondole", un grand divan et une paire de petits canapés, dits "tête-à-tête".
Vente le 22 mars 2018
Estimation : CHF 30 000 – 60 000

Cette collection fut accrochée aux cimaises de l'hôtel de Chalais, rue de l'Université, (aujourd’hui disparu), que Soult avait acquis en 1803. Construit par Le Boursier en 1786 pour le prince de Chalais, il fut réaménagé et redécoré pour le maréchal par François-Nicolas Henry dit Trou. Les travaux d’aménagement ou d’embellissement se poursuivirent pendant tout le règne de Napoléon sous la direction effective de la maréchale. On y trouvait notamment un grand salon Doré, un salon de Flore, un salon d’Été formant chambre d’apparat, un salon Militaire, un salon de l’Empereur, un salon des Aides de Camp et une galerie. Jacob-Desmalter et Cercous pour les meubles, Delafontaine Père & Fils pour les pendules, bronzes d’ornement et les cheminées, Ravrio et Feuchère pour des lustres, et Sallandrouze pour les tapis en furent les principaux fournisseurs.

D’un extrême raffinement, ce meuble complet est un témoignage rare de la somptuosité et de l’imagination qui ont présidé à l’ameublement des résidences des grands dignitaires de l’Empire sous Napoléon Ier.


Koller est la plus importante maison de vente aux enchères en Suisse, représentée à Munich, Düsseldorf, Milan, Pékin et Moscou. Chaque année, Koller organise une soixantaine de ventes d’œuvres d’art, d’objets précieux et de décoration, de joaillerie, d’art asiatique et de vins. La maison Koller obtient régulièrement des records de prix et jouit d’un large réseau d’enchérisseurs internationaux. Avec une équipe de spécialistes expérimentés cette entreprise familiale bénéficie de l’attrait d’une maison de vente aux enchères active à l’international tout en assurant un savoir-faire, une efficacité et une fiabilité suisses.