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Strong bidding for Modern & Contemporary Art at Koller Auctions
Maurice de Vlaminck, L’Allée, circa 1912-14. Oil on Canvas. 66 x 81 cm. Sold for CHF 204 500.

ZURICH.- Koller’s auctions on 29 – 30 June were marked by strong bidding for Modern & Contemporary works, which often sold far above expectations. The fine art auctions concluded with total sales far exceeding the pre-sale estimates.

The saleroom, telephone banks and internet bidding terminals were all extremely active during Koller’s Modern & Contemporary sales on 29 – 30 June, led by a Fauvist work by Kees van Dongen, “Rouge et Jaune (l’Égyptienne)” from 1910-11, which sold to a European private collector for CHF 1.7 million. Another painting by van Dongen from the same private Swiss collection – which was compiled from the 1920s, and included further works by Gen Paul and Maurice de Vlaminck (lot 3231, sold for CHF 204 500) – «Portrait de femme» from 1913, realized CHF 240 500.

Sculpture was particularly sought after in the June sales: a “Bust of a Rising Youth” by German artist Wilhelm Lehmbruck more than doubled its pre-sale estimate to sell at CHF 324 500. A rare carved wooden bowl by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, “Obstschale II”, fetched CHF 186 500, and a striking painted metal sculpture from Tony Cragg’s “early forms” series, “Red Square” from 2007, sold for CHF 144 500.

Bidding from collectors in the US, Germany and Asia for “Kiss #14”, a compressed metal composition by John Chamberlain, was particularly fierce, and it finally changed hands for over twice its estimate, at CHF 526 500. Other Pop Art works also fared well in the PostWar & Contemporary auction, such as Andy Warhol’s smallformat work “Clockwork Panda Drummer”, a small-format synthetic polymer and screenprint on canvas estimated at CHF 80 000 / 140 000, which sold for an impressive CHF 192 500. Among the eight colour screenprints by Keith Haring in the auction, no less than five doubled their estimates, and the others came very close to doing so as well. “Growing” from 1988, for example, sold for CHF 58 100 against an estimate of CHF 25 000/35 000).

A very large colour woodcut by Swiss Artist Franz Gertsch, “Dominique” from 1988, fetched CHF 168 500. “Lord of the Rings I”, a fantasy landscape by another Swiss artist, H.R. Giger – the creator of the creature in “Alien” – more than doubled its estimate at CHF 144 500. And Victor Vasarely’s works continue to enjoy a revival, as “Kedzi-Domb”, a 1968/75 work from a private Swiss collection, changed hands for well above its upper estimate at CHF 198 500.

Contemporary German artists made a particularly strong showing in the PostWar auction, such as an untitled work from 2005 by Düsseldorf artist Karin Kneffel which sold for more than twice its estimate at CHF 106 100 – one of the highest auction prices realised for a work from this series – and a composition by Berlin artist Katherina Grosse, “1020S” from 2006 that fetched CHF 58 100 against an estimate of CHF 15 000 / 25 000, an excellent result for a work of this size by the artist.

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