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A Masterpiece by Félix Vallotton Sells for $2,478,584 at Sotheby's Swiss Art Auction
Félix Vallotton Coucher de soleil à Grâce, ciel orangé et violet. Sold for CHF 2,434,500 (Est. CHF 1,800,000-2,500,000). Photo: Sotheby's.

ZURICH.- Tonight’s “Swiss Art” Auction at Sotheby’s Zurich realised CHF 10,665,188 under the hammer of Dr. Claudia Steinfels, Director of Sotheby’s Zurich – within the pre-sale estimate of CHF 9,3-12,9 million. Félix Vallotton’s masterpiece Coucher de soleil à Grâce, ciel orangé et violet sold for CHF 2,434,500 (€1,873,315), surpassing the highest price ever paid for a work from the artist’s sunset series **.

Urs Lanter, Director of the Sotheby’s Swiss Art Department, commented: “It was a huge honour to bring to auction for the first time major works by Vallotton, some of them unknown to the public until now, which represent an undeniable enriching of our understanding of the artist’s creative process. Coucher de soleil à Grâce, ciel orangé et violet is one of the finest works by Vallotton and truly deserves the price achieved this evening. The solid results of tonight’s auction demonstrate the strong demand for works of quality and rarity. Tonight’s sale brings the total of Swiss art sold by Sotheby’s Zurich in 2010 to CHF 26,519,588, one of our best results in this category. This is testimony not only to the good state of the Swiss Art market but also confirms a trend towards greater participation of international collectors in the Swiss Art sales”.

The top lot of this evening’s auction Félix Vallotton’s Coucher de soleil à Grâce, ciel orangé et violet (Lot 19) which sold for the price of CHF 2,434,500 (€1,873,315) (est. CHF 1,800,000-2,500,000/ €1'350'000–1'870'000. This work features a view of the Seine estuary from the Côte de Grâce – a recurring theme in the artist’s work inspired by his numerous summers in Normandy. Dating from 1918, this major work is one of the finest examples of sunsets painted by the artist from 1910 onward. This composition with sharp contrasts of colour demonstrates the inspiration the painter drew from Japanese prints.

Coucher de soleil à Grâce, ciel orangé et violet came from a prestigious Zurich collection. Built over 15 years starting in the 1970s, this collection had never appeared on the market. Other highlights from this collection sold tonight include:

Landscape at Loguivy (Paysage à Loguivy), 1923 – a canvas featuring the small fishing town of Loguivy-de-la-Mer on the north coast of Brittany realised CHF 1,258,500 (€968,399) (Lot 22, estimated at CHF 700,000–900,000/€525,000–675,000)

Testament to Vallotton’s great art of landscape, The Fields, Plateau of the Croix Rouge (Les champs, plateau de la Croix-Rouge) from 1914 found a new owner at CHF 866,500 (€666,760) (Lot 21, estimated at CHF 500,000–700,000/ €374,000–525,000).

Other notable prices of tonight’s sale include:

Giovanni Giacometti’s Piz Duan, a major work dating from 1908. This view of the summit from the Bergell valley during snow-melting had never appeared on the market. It was exhibited only once and had remained in the same collection, unseen by the public since it was bought from the artist in 1908. Estimated at CHF 800,000 1,200,000/€600,000–900,000, lot 31 was bought for CHF 1,082,500 (€832,969).

The portrait Girl with a red hair-ribbon (Mädchen mit roter Haarschleife) by Albert Anker, one of the most important Swiss artists of the 19th century – achieved CHF 506,500 (€389,745). This work, dating from 1868 (lot 8), bore an estimate of CHF 450,000–600,000/€336,000–448,000).

The double portrait of Two Women from Valais (Deux Valaisannes) by Ernest Biéler from 1922 was the subject of much excitement sold for CHF 494,500 (€380,511) (Lot 12, estimated at CHF 100'000– 150'000/€75'000–112'000.

Sotheby’s Zurich holds “Swiss Art” auctions twice a year. The next one will take place in Spring 2011.

** PREVIOUS WORLD RECORD FOR A WORK OF VALLOTTON’S SUNSET SERIES AT AUCTION CHF 2,360,000 for the work Coucher de Soleil, 1911, sold by Sotheby's Zurich: May 29, 2000

Sotheby's | Félix Vallotton | Dr. Claudia Steinfels | Urs Lanter |

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