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Sotheby's Sale of the Peter Stuyvesant Collection Realises 13,590,475 Euro
Karel Appel, "Tête Tragique", signed and dated 61. Oil on canvas, 229.5 by 299.5 cm. Est: 120,000 - 180,000 EUR. Photo: Sotheby's.

AMSTERDAM.- This evening, Sotheby’s Amsterdam saleroom was filled to overflowing as the company’s offering of the world-renowned BAT ArtVenture Collection, formerly known as The Peter Stuyvesant Collection became the most heavily sale attended in Sotheby’s history in Amsterdam. The sale - Sotheby’s first auction of 2010 in Amsterdam – exceeded all expectations, achieving the remarkable total of €13,590,475 ($18,597,750 / £ 12,263,600), well in excess of pre-sale expectations (Est. €4,364,200-6,276,300). Presale interest had been huge and more than 500 clients had registered to bid in tonight’s sale – either in person, by phone or by leaving absentee bids -- and the sale established sell-through rates of 97.5% by lot and 99.6% by value. These notable results further build on the outstanding successes recently established by Sotheby’s in the field of Contemporary Art in New York and London.

Mark Grol, Managing Director of Sotheby’s Amsterdam, said: “Sotheby’s Amsterdam made history this evening with the sale of works from one of the most beloved corporate art collections ever formed. The results achieved tonight represent the highest total ever achieved in the Netherlands for a sale of fine art.”

The top lot in tonight’s sale was Martin Kippenberger’s Dinosaurierei, an oil on canvas from 1996 which brought €1,072,750 (Est. €200,000-300,000). The work belongs to the artist’s most iconic series of Egg Paintings and was one of the last masterpieces he completed before his untimely death at the age of 44 in the following year.

The sale offered numerous works by Karel Appel: Tete Tragique, a 1961 oil on canvas which had entered the collection in 1965 brought €492,750 (Est. €120,000-180,000); while Torse de Femme from 1964 brought €432,750 (Est. €150,000-200,000).

Highlighting the group of Zero works in the sale was Jan Schoonhoven’s Square with Diagonals, which carried an estimate of €100,000–150,000 and sold for €456,750. This Dutch artist had been examining how the reliefs can function as containers to express reality for over 20 years. Making two artworks in the early months of 1979 based on this example, this artwork proved to be extremely pivotal in his work, a completion of his quest for truth. Additional ZERO movement highlights include: Günther Uecker’s Grosser Schnee, created using nails and acrylic on canvas laid down on wood, which was executed the year Uecker was selected to represent Germany at the 35th Venice Biennale and acquired by the Peter Stuyvesant collection shortly after, sold for €336,750 (Est. €80,000-120,000); Jesús Rafael Soto’s 1967 painted wood, wire and wooden rods La Colonne Blanche realised €300,750 (Est. €100,000-150,000) and Roman Opalka’s Opalka 1965/1-, Detail 2890944-2910059 brought €312,750 (Est. €50,000-70,000). These results follow on from the hugely successful sale of ZERO Art: Property from the Sammlung Lenz Schönberg at Sotheby’s in London last month, which soared above estimate and set 19 new artist records.

Franco-Hungarian artist Victor Vasarely’s Pal-5 commanded €264,750, above estimate (Est. €80,000–120,000). Vasarely, who settled in Paris in 1930, was the great pioneer of Op-Art, the art form in which optical illusions of depth and movement are suggested by means of perceptively distorted geometrical patterns and colour contrasts of which Pal-5 is an exemplary piece.

Niki de Saint Phalle’s Lili ou Tony from 1965 sold for €408,750 against a presale estimate of €200,000-300,000. De Saint Phalle’s ‘Nana’ sculptures marked a change in the artist’s creative direction and it was this body of works that earned her the widespread international recognition as one of the most unique and innovative artistic voices of her generation. Lili ou Tony was among the first monumental 'Nana' series sculptures that the artist ever produced. All the ideals that Alexander Orlow, the Collection’s founder, wanted to convey through the art of the former Stuyvesant Collection were represented in this ‘Nana’ sculpture.

No fewer than ten bidders competed for Simon Hantai’s M.C.2 (mariale), a 1962 oil and gouache on canvas which brought €480,750 (Est. €100,000-150,000).

The Peter Stuyvesant Collection represents a pioneering approach to using art in a factory setting to inspire workers by transforming their surroundings. This was the concept of the Collection’s founder, Alexander Orlow: his great innovation was to change the context in which art is appreciated. In 1960 Orlow invited 13 artists from 13 different European countries to create paintings for the production hall in the Turmac Tobacco Company in the Netherlands. The theme he chose was “Joie de Vivre” and he specified that the works were to be large in size with vivid colours and shapes, powerful enough to stand out in the large factory halls. While the initial responses of employees ranged from surprise to disbelief, they soon came to enjoy the enhancement to their workplace and Orlow made the serendipitous discovery that productivity actually increased.

Sotheby's | Peter Stuyvesant | Mark Grol |

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