The September auctions show that the market is in good health. In all sectors there is a strong international interest amongst private collectors. A top price of CHF 2 665 000 was made for the 91.5 x 125 cm painting "Lot and his daughters by Francisco de Goya. For 80 years it was thought to have been lost, until this year it was rediscovered by Koller Auctions
Old Master and 19th Century Paintings
Top price for an early work by Goya
Private bids from Russia, Spain, Switzerland and the Netherlands were made for the painting Lot and his daughters, which Francisco de Goya painted around 1771 on his return from Italy, at barely 30 years of age. In the end it was the bidder from the Netherlands who made the running. The early painting by the great Spanish master, which was thought to have been lost for 80 years, was worth around 2.7 million Swiss Francs to this buyer. The result represented more than three times the upper estimate (lot 3034).
Also hitting the million mark with CHF 1 066 500 was the work Christ and John as children, embracing by Joos van Cleeve from the early 16th century. It went, after a bidding war lasting around 10 minutes, to a Russian collector (Lot 3016). Amongst the other important results in the Old Master auction was the price of CHF 264 000 for a right hand altar wing by Jacques Daret with a depiction of Saint Francis (Lot 3018). A Byzantine icon with a depiction of Christ, known as a Schulterstück, from the second half of the 12th century (Lot 3003) went to London with an auction price of CHF 204 000. A still life with fruits, parrot, shells and insects by Balthasar van der Ast went to a Russian private collection for CHF 164 000 (3041). An interior with a lady and gentleman smoking, which seems almost modern in outlook, by the Netherlands Old Master Pieter J. Elinga, went finally for CHF 117 600 to a Swiss private collection (Lot 3072).
The main lot amongst the 19th century paintings was the picture Broad landscape with settlers by Ivan Aivazovsky from 1856. It reached, with a price of CHF 790 500, the third highest result at auction. Overall, the auction house had a total turnover of CHF 8 million for Old Master and 19th century paintings.
Old Master Drawings and Prints
Top bids for top quality
Bidding was high amongst the Old Master prints and drawings enthusiasts at Koller on 21 September. A surprise result was the copper engraving circa 1600 by Aegidius il Sadeler, which depicted Bartholomäus Spranger and the memorial picture of his deceased wife Christina Müller. A buyer from the USA offered CHF 10 600 including commission, which was ten times the upper estimate for this lot (lot 3538). At more than double its estimate with a price of CHF 18 000 was a finely coloured study sheet with numerous small creatures rendered in watercolour and black pen (lot 3427). A further study sheet in India ink and watercolour by a German master circa 1600 with depictions of frogs, insects and beetles exceeded the upper estimate with a price of CHF 12 000.
The etching of a barrel organ player by Harmensz van Rijn Rembrandt circa 1635 reached a price of CHF 8 800. A pen drawing in brown and grey aus dem with a depiction of a wooded landscape with rocks and caves, was also one of the highlights with a selling price of CHF 10 200 (lot 3430). Two Italian works, a study of four heads from the 17th century in red chalk (lot 3413) and a standing male nude viewed from the back in black chalk, from the 16th century (lot 3402) also made good results with prices of CHF 7 200 and CHF 5 400.
Books and Autographs
William Hamiltons volcanoes soar in price
The two volumes of Campi Phlegraei by William Hamilton with a double-page coloured map and 59 coloured copper engraved plates, which were published in Naples between 1776 and 1779 by Fabris, are not only one of the first, but also one of the finest books on volcanology of the 18th century. The exemplar offered at Koller under Lot 372 emerged then as the top lot of the book auction. A German private collector pursued it to a price of CHF 60 000. Only slightly lower in price at CHF 54 000 was the book narrating the journey in the Orient undertaken by the Russian heir apparent Nikolaus Alexandrowitch between 1890 and 1891. His travelogue, which he penned himself, was published between 1893 and 1897 by Brockhausverlag with two engraved portraits and numerous illustrations (Lot 384). The copy offered here was purchased by a Russian collector. Tripling its estimate, a 134 page prayer book on vellum circa 1420 1430 from the Netherlands sold at a price of CHF 36 000. This was therefore even more sought-after than the World Chronicle by Hartmann Schedel published in Nuremberg circa 1493, which made CHF 28 800. Both the prayer book and the Schedel World Chronicle went to a Swiss private collection (Lot 209).
Furniture and Decorations
A public with a wide range of interests in objects of all periods
The furniture auction at Koller had many highlights to offer an international public with wide-ranging interests. Good results were achieved then for objects of all kinds and from all periods. The main lot of the auction, a Louis XV writing desk à fleurs, made circa 1765 by Barthel in Neuwied, who worked in the circle of the great Abraham Roentgen, was sold to a Swiss private collector for CHF 396 000 (lot 1061). With the second most valuable object a French bidder prevailed against a German bidder: the Louis XVI transforming table attributed to the Paris master A. L. Gilbert in the end doubled its lower estimate with a selling price of CHF 103 200 (lot 1182). To a Swiss bidder in the room on the other hand went a simple and classic but elegant Louis XVI bureau-plat by E. Avril (lot 1159). It made a final price of CHF 72 000.
Bidding for the decorative objects also had an international outlook. To China for example goes lot Lot 1152, a Louis-XVI skeleton clock with moon phase and calendar, from the Paris atelier of Bourret, made circa 1785. A grand Empire basketshaped chandelier from a Paris master workshop was sold to a Russian private collector on the telephone, who was prepared to pay CHF 33 600 for this item (lot 1233A). The most dazzling object of the auction was the large table lamp in the form of an Empire style candelabra made by Odiot after 1972. Five telephone bidders from Austria, Switzerland and France were interested in this item. The final price went in the end to the French private buyer, who at CHF 30 000, offered double the estimate (lot 1233). For a pair of grand Napoléon III enamel vases from France, there was a Swiss, an English and a Russian bidder, also on the telephone, with the English bidder prevailing with a price of CHF 55 200 (lot 1341).
Jewellery and Wristwatches
A blaze of fine-cut gems
The main focus of the auction of jewellery and wristwatches was a number of thrilling bidding wars for the objects with the top estimates. Lot 2158 for example exceeded its estimate by eight times. Estimated at CHF 9 000, the antique gemstone and gold necklace with pendant circa 1880, made in an antique style, reached CHF 52 800. Certainly the highest result was CHF 240 000 for lot 2084. The Fancy Diamond ring by Ziegler-Ardessi with a brilliant-cut diamond of 10.61 ct., in fancy-light-yellow, doubled its estimate. Next came lot 2170 with CHF 162 000: a classic solitaire with a diamond of 5.01 ct. and approximately 50 further brilliant-cut diamonds of 0.10 to 0.20 ct. Also within the range of the estimate was the price of CHF 138 000 for lot 2212, again a classic solitaire ring, with a diamond of 2.53 ct. and 16 smaller diamond baguettes. Just exceeding its upper estimate was an emerald and diamond ring set in white gold with a very fine octagonal Columbian emerald of approximately 8.09 ct. (lot 2080).
Amongst the watches, the ladys models by Harry Winston were especially sought after. A diamond and pink sapphire wristwatch in yellow gold 750 with 12 pink sapphires reached CHF 12 600 (lot 2307). A price of CHF 12 000 was made by lot 2310, also a diamond and sapphire ladys wristwatch with rectangular case. Also by Harry Winston was lot 2315, a sapphire and diamond watch with chronograph and mother-of-pearl dial and numerous diamonds. It reached a price of CHF 16 200. The Rolex gentlemans wristwatch, a Cosmograph-Daytona circa 2008 finally made CHF 13 200 which was over double its estimate (lot 2334).