Sotheby’s Swiss Art Auction in Zurich

. May 12, 2010

Sotheby’s will be holding a spring auction under the heading of ‘Swiss Art’ at its premises in Talstrasse 83, on 14 June 2010. 114 works representing Swiss artistic creativity of the early 20th century will come under the hammer. With an estimate of 13 million Swiss francs, the auction includes masterpieces by 57 artists, among them Ferdinand Hodler, Giovanni Giacometti and Cuno Amiet, a trio of leading representatives of the innovative and avant-garde style in 20th century Swiss art.

‘The demand for market-fresh museum-quality works of Swiss art is persistent. We are all the more delighted that the coming auction gives us an opportunity of bringing together a widely ranging selection of top-quality work by highly regarded Swiss artists, some of it coming from private collections. In fact we have been able to achieve the highest overall valuation since Swiss art auctions were first launched in 1979,’ says Urs Lanter, Sotheby’s Director and Swiss art expert.

The work of the established Swiss painter Ferdinand Hodler (1853-1918) deserves special mention. Hodler was not just one of the leading figures on the Swiss art scene, he was also a pioneer of the modern approach to landscape painting.

The lake landscape GENFERSEE VON CHEXBRES AUS [LAKE GENEVA AS SEEN FROM CHEXBRES], painted in 1911, has for many years formed part of the same private collection. The oil painting was exhibited in 1914 at the gallery of the Frankfurter Kunstverein, and is estimated at CHF 4,000,000–6,000,000 (€2,810,000-4,210,000).

Another privately owned oil painting is SOMMERLANDSCHAFT BEI INTERLAKEN [SUMMER LANDSCAPE NEAR INTERLAKEN], once part of the Arthur Stoll Collection. This is a mountain landscape, painted in or around 1888 and exhibited in numerous exhibitions in New York, San Francisco and Switzerland. The estimated price is CHF 1,500,000-2,000,000 (€ 1,060,000-1,410,000).

This year’s June auction also comprises a group of paintings coming from an important Swiss private collection, including works by famous artists like Cuno Amiet, Giovanni Giacometti, Ferdinand Hodler, Félix Vallotton, Augusto Giacometti and Ernst Ludwig Kirchner.

DIE MAIRA BEI STAMPA [THE MAIRA NEAR STAMPA], an important early work by Giovanni Giacometti (1868-1933), shows a beautifully sparkling play of form and colour representing an autumn river landscape. It is characteristic of Giacometti’s artistic rendering of his impressions of nature, in which both the serpentine arabesques of the Jugendstil and Japanese prints are an influence. In the year 1905 it featured in the IXth International Art Exhibition at the Glass Palace in Munich; a year later it was shown at the Künstlerhaus in Zurich. Executed in the years 1904-05, the monumental picture is valued at CHF 1,800,000 – 2,500,000 (€1,270,000-1,760,000).

Cuno Amiet (1868-1961) was a close friend and associate of Giacometti’s. Several of his works are being offered here. JUNGE FRAU IM GARTEN [YOUNG WOMAN IN THE GARDEN] represents the former actress Amy Moser, an English national who married the businessman and art collector Carl Robert Moser in 1906. Amiet first painted Amy Moser in 1903, and went on to capture her elegant appearance in numerous drawings and paintings right up to 1916. The present oil painting Amy Moser im Garten [Amy Moser in the Garden] boasts glorious colours and is rich in contrasts. It was created in 1910, and was sold by the artist in the following year to the Frankfurter Kunstverein [Frankfurt Art Society]. Later the work became part of the famous collection of Josef Müller in Solothurn (estimate: CHF 700,000-900,000; €491,000-635,000).

MUTTER MIT TOCHTER [MOTHER WITH DAUGHTER] is a notable picture in its combination of the important stylistic and iconographic motifs with which Amiet was engaged in 1913. The close relationship between his wife Anna and her adopted daughter Greti was a central theme of his paintings during this year. Particularly worth emphasising here is Amiet’s creative engagement with the ‘Brücke’ group of artists, as well as with the paintings of Jawlensky – both recognisable as influences in the present oil painting. (Estimate: CHF 100,000-150,000; €70,500-106,000).

The paintings on auction are further supplemented by works of Félix Vallotton, represented here by a park panorama and a landscape picture. The small landscape of the BOIS DE BOULOGNE was painted by Vallotton in 1919. Motifs from the Bois de Boulogne had featured frequently in Vallotton’s painting since 1903. In that year the artist moved into a house in the 16th arrondissement, situated not far from the well-known Parisian recreation area. The present picture, valued at CHF 350,000-450,000 (€246,000-316,000), was such a favourite of the artist’s that he made another version of it in 1925, the year of his death. In 1902 Vallotton spent the summer holidays in Locquirec, a fishing village on the north coast of Brittany. He had an apartment right on the beach, with a captivating view over the bay to the opposite shore. Just this view is shown in Paysage à Locquirec [Countryside at Locquirec]. (Estimate: CHF 150,000-250,000; €106,000-176,000).

In addition to this Giovanni Giacometti, father of the modern maestro Alberto Giacometti, is represented in the evening auction with a further work, a scenically atmospheric representation of the Engadine. AM CAVLOCCIOSEE [ON LAKE CAVLOCCIO] (1921) shows a lake view in an Alpine idyll of late summer, with captivating depth effects. (Estimate: CHF 1,200,000-1,500,000; €845,000-1,060,000).

The genre painter and artist of Swiss folk life Albert Anker (1831-1910) also makes an appearance, with two market-fresh works. STRICKENDE BERNERIN MIT KIND [BERNESE WOMAN KNITTING WITH CHILD] dates from the year 1898. It shows a motif typical of the artist, in which he depicts with great precision persons living in a certain situation which is characteristic of their existence. This work comes from a Swiss private collector, and has an estimated price of CHF 700,000–900,000 (€ 491,000-635,000). The almost exactly life-size BILDNIS MARIE ANKER [PORTRAIT OF MARIE ANKER], dating from 1881, likewise comes from a Swiss private collection. It depicts the nine-year old daughter of the artist. Valued at CHF 300,000 – 500,000 (€211,000-351,000), the portrait has been in the possession of the Reinhart family.

The selection being put up for auction is rounded out by the works of contemporary Swiss artists, including Jean Tinguely, Gottardo Segantini, Irène Zurkinden, Toni Calzaferri and Max Bill.

Category: Fine Art

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