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Sotheby's Sells a Masterpiece by Ferdinand Hodler for CHF 4 Million
Employees display the painting "Summer Landscape Near Interlaken" by late Swiss artist Ferdinand Hodler (1853-1918), as auctioneer Claudia Steinfels (L) awaits bids during Sotheby's auction of 114 pieces of Swiss art in Zurich June 14, 2010. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann.
ZURICH.- Last night Sotheby’s Zurich sale of Swiss Art, held at its premises in Talstrasse 83, brought CHF 15,854,400, € 11,385,923, within the pre-sale estimate of CHF 13.5 million to 19.1 million, and featured masterpieces by Ferdinand Hodler, Giovanni Giacometti and Felix Vallotton, leading representatives of the innovative and avant-garde style in 20th century Swiss art.

Discussing the sale, Urs Lanter, Sotheby’s Director and Swiss art expert, said: “We are extremely pleased that this evening´s sale achieved such solid results, one of the strongest sale totals ever in this category for Sotheby´s since Swiss art auctions were first launched in 1979. These results demonstrate the demand for fresh-to-themarket, museum-quality works of Swiss art, especially the early 20th Century masters Ferdinand Hodler, Giovanni Giacometti and Felix Vallotton. The market responded to the opportunity to acquire top-quality work by highly regarded Swiss artists, much of it coming from private collections, with special interest in a group of paintings from a notable Swiss private collection.”

A masterpiece by Ferdinand Hodler, a pioneer of the modern approach to landscape painting, GENFERSEE VON CHEXBRES AUS [LAKE GENEVA AS SEEN FROM CHEXBRES], brought CHF 4,002,500, € 2,874,417 (pre-sale estimate CHF 4,000,000–6,000,000* (€2,810,000-4,210,000). Painted in 1911, the lake landscape was a work of exceptional quality, condition and importance, from the artist´s most desirable series, and was fresh to the market as it had been for many years in a notable Swiss private collection.

From the same collection, the oil on canvas SOMMERLANDSCHAFT BEI INTERLAKEN [SUMMER LANDSCAPE NEAR INTERLAKEN] sold for CHF 1,538,500, € 1,104,882 (pre-sale estimate: CHF 1,500,000-2,000,000 (€ 1,060,000-1,410,000). This mountain landscape is highly desirable as it is an early work, painted around 1888, which exhibits all of the elements of Hodler´s mature style.

This year’s June auction was exceptional in offering major works by the artist Giovanni Giacometti. An important early work, executed in the years 1904-05, DIE MAIRA BEI STAMPA [THE MAIRA NEAR STAMPA] sold for CHF 2,994,500, € 2,150,516 (pre-sale estimate: CHF 1,800,000 – 2,500,000 (€1,270,000-1,760,000). Characteristic of Giacometti’s artistic rendering of his impressions of nature, the monumental work displayed a beautifully sparkling play of form and colour representing an autumn river landscape. In the year 1905 it featured in the IXth International Art Exhibition at the Glass Palace in Munich; a year later it was shown at the Künstlerhaus in Zurich.

Another Giovanni Giacometti offered in the evening auction was a scenically atmospheric representation of the Engadine. AM CAVLOCCIOSEE [ON LAKE CAVLOCCIO] which sold for CHF 2,434,500, € 1,748,349 (estimate: CHF 1,200,000-1,500,000; €845,000-1,060,000), and represented a lake view in an Alpine idyll of late summer, with captivating depth effects.

The sale offered two beautiful works by Félix Vallotton: the landscape of the BOIS DE BOULOGNE, painted in 1919, brought CHF 578,500, € 415,453 (estimate: CHF 350,000-450,000 (€246,000-316,000). Motifs from the Bois de Boulogne had featured frequently in Vallotton’s painting since 1903 and the present picture was such a favourite of the artist’s that he made another version of it in 1925, the year of his death. Another work by Vallotton Paysage à Locquirec [Countryside at Locquirec], which dates from 1902 when the artist spent the summer holidays in Locquirec, sold for CHF 194,500, € 139,681 (estimate: CHF 150,000-250,000; €106,000-176,000).

The genre painter and artist of Swiss folk life Albert Anker (1831- 1910) was represented by two works which were fresh to the market: STRICKENDE BERNERIN MIT KIND [BERNESE WOMAN KNITTING WITH CHILD], which dates from the year 1898 and shows a motif typical of the artist, sold for CHF 938,500, € 673,989 (estimate: CHF 700,000–900,000 (€ 491,000-635,000). A nearly lifesize portrait depicting the artist´s nine-year-old daughter BILDNIS MARIE ANKER [PORTRAIT OF MARIE ANKER] sold for CHF 530,500, € 380,981 (estimate CHF 300,000 – 500,000 (€211,000-351,000). The work dates from 1881 and also came from a Swiss private collection.

Cuno Amiet´s MUTTER MIT TOCHTER [MOTHER WITH DAUGHTER] of 1913 deals with a central theme of his paintings during this year, the close relationship between his wife Anna and her adopted daughter Greti. The colourful work which demonstrates the artist´s creative engagement with the ‘Brücke’ group of artists sold for CHF 290,500, € 208,624 against a presale estimate of CHF 100,000-150,000; €70,500-106,000.

* Pre-sale estimates do not include buyer’s premium

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