The seven auctions that opened the 65th Anniversary Year of Ketterer Kunst
yielded total proceeds of more than 28 million. It is both the houses best result ever realized in a spring sale, as well as the best result of the German auction season by far. While the magic 100,000 line was reached or crossed 44 times last spring, a total of 55 six-figure results were accomplished this time. The undisputed star of both the Evening Sale and the German Auction Season is Wassily Kandinsky. He and Andy Warhol provided the only two results in the millions for the first term of the auction year 2019 in Germany.
After the two Auctions of 19th Century Art and Rare Books had already provided excellent proceeds of more than 3.3 million a couple of days earlier, the Auctions of Art of the 20th/21st Century made for the brilliant finale of the first part of the Anniversary Year by grossing more than 25 million on June 7 and 8.
Auctioneer and company owner Robert Ketterer sums up: This is an absolutely sensational result against the general trend.
The lead role in both this auction as well as in the entire auction season in Germany was clearly played by Wassily Kandinskys Treppe zum Schloss (Murnau) (lot 128). A German art lover and his commission honored the important oil painting and its fascinating history with the remarkable result of 2,500,000. A passionate fellow collector and countryman on the phone had to admit defeat. The top result sets a new Record for a work by Kandinsky sold in the German language region and relegates Kandinskys previous record holder Gewebe, sold by Ketterer Kunst in 2014, to second place in the ranking.
Second place in the Anniversary Auction is occupied by Andy Warhols Portrait of a Lady (Enid Beal, lot 168), which eventually soared to heights of three times the calling price of 360,000. It took a collector from Southern Germany the final price of 1,125,000 to halt the bidding frenzy. This way he was able to beat a competitor from the American West Coast on the phone, as well as a high commission placed by a collector from Switzerland.
That very same art lover from Southern Germany had already been quite successful when he made Ernst Ludwig Kirchners impressive work Drehende Tänzerin (lot 144) sure for himself for a result of 625,000* against fierce competition in the saleroom and from a persistent Northern German collector on the phone. The work eventually grossed more than twice its calling price of 300,000.
Expectations for Daniel Richters monumental work Alles ohne Nichts (lot 140) were more than met. With a result of 500,000 it set a new Continental European Record. No surprise, as the grand work from the trending German superstar did not only attract collectors from his home country, but also art lovers from Belgium, Holland, Austria and the USA. In the end a tough phone bidder from the Benelux-Union stood his grounds.
The array of sculptures is lead by Günther Ueckers Baum (lot 114) which was sold to a collector from Baden-Württemberg for a result of 500,000. Works by the ZERO artist generally were in demand, and three more works were sold for six-figure prices. Number one in the trio is Feld der Erwartungen - Hommage à Adalbert Stifter (Los 94), which was popular with bidders from Belgium, Great Britain and Switzerland. However, an Austrian on the phone showed the most staying power by going as far as to a final price of 412.500. Ueckers untitled lot number 103 found a new home in Ireland for 212,500* while his work Hilfe für Vietnam (lot 162) was sold to a Bavarian online bidder for 187,500.
Prices of 437,500 were realized by both Hermann Max Pechsteins Damenbildnis (Luise Mendelsohn, lot 100), which has a Liegender Akt on its reverse side, as well as by Franz Marcs work Zwei Pferde (lot 96), which boasts the nude Zwei stehenden Mädchenakte mit grünem Stein on verso. While the first will go to Northern Germany, the large-size India ink and charcoal drawing the only preserved preliminary work for the destroyed painting Streitende Pferde! will call a private collection in North Rhine-Westphalia its new home.
The interest in E9 (Los 94) by the Warsaw artist Wojciech Fangor was tremendous even long before the auction. As expected, most of the 12 phone bidders came from Poland, however, they faced competition from Germany, Monaco and Liechtenstein when the intense, almost hypnotic oil painting was called up at 100,000. In the end a Southern German private collection carried the trophy home. The result of 400.000 did not only provide more than a three-fold of the calling price, it also set a new continental European record. This way Ketterer Kunst beats its own just one year old record for a work by the artist.
Two fascinating works by Cy Twomblys significant series Wolkenstein will go to Switzerland. Called up at 180,000 each, fierce bidding against competitors from Germany, Great Britain, Hong Kong and the USA doubled the calling price of both works, that is 362,500 for lot number 137 and 375,000* for lot 138.
The results of the five works by Ernst Wilhelm Nay offered in the Evening Sale are also quite remarkable, as four of them reached six-figure sums. While lot 134 Lob des Grau leads the array, it was sold to a Bavarian collection for a price of 350.000, the work Frau mit Tieren (lot 145) was sold to Austria for 337,500*, which is a sensational six-fold of the calling price of 55,000.
A German record for the oil painting Sophie (lot 150) by Alex Katz was set thanks to the great appeal the work had with international art lovers from Italy, Spain, Austrian and the USA. However, for a total price of 350,000 the large-size work will remain with a private collector from Germany.