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Exceptional Collection of Artwork by the Renowned Swiss Artist Albert Anker to Sell at Hôtel des Ventes
Albert Anker (1831-1910), Louvre Paris/ Der Louvre in Paris, 1887, encre et aquarelle sur papier, 8,5x14,5 cm. Exposition: Kunstmuseum Bern, 1931, n°260. Inscription manuscrite au verso: Paris, 18.., par A.An..
GENEVA.-The estate of Albert Anker’s family will finally go under the hammer at the Geneva-based auctioneers on 9th March without reserve prices. This ensemble of over 55 never-before-seen drawings, sketches and watercolours by Albert Anker was recently discovered in a safe in Geneva. The collection will be sold alongside furniture and personal items and has been valued at 200'000 to 300'000 Swiss francs. According to the owner’s last wishes, all sale proceeds will be donated to charitable organisations. Representatives of the Media will have the opportunity to discover this collection with a world preview press presentation on Wednesday 2nd March at 11 a.m. at Hôtel des Ventes.

Auction value of the collection estimated at 200’000-300’000 Swiss francs.
This ensemble of works and portraits belongs to the estate of Jeanine DuBois (1931-2010), wife of Jean DuBois (1907-1983), Anker’s grandson. A Geologist and extensive traveller, DuBois always kept the childhood portrait his grandfather had drawn of him. This work, accomplished using his left hand – due to a paralysis of the right hand – shortly before Albert Anker’s death in 1910, makes for one of the most moving lot of the sale (lot 1377 valued at 3,000-5,000 francs).

The collection mainly consists of wash drawings, watercolours, and pencil sketches of subjects close to Albert Anker’s heart. Some of these are preparatory sketches for major oil paintings featured in his catalogue raisonné. For the most part unseen, these works and portraits demonstrate the exceptional spontaneity of this revered artist.

Anker, an artist deeply impressed with the importance of preparatory drawing
After the untimely deaths of his brother and sister, the young Albert had to fulfill his father’s expectations for all 3 siblings. Foregoing his desire and natural talent for painting and drawing, he went to Bern and studied Theology. Despite his best intentions, and no longer being able to ignore it, his Father finally succumbed in 1853 to his only remaining child becoming an artist.

Heading straight to Paris, the young Anker joined Swiss artist Charles Gleyre’s (1806-1874) studio to appreciate and learn his techniques.

The monochrome sketches and preparatory drawings in this collection prove Anker’s deep-rooted respect and continual practice of what he had learned during his apprenticeship. The accuracy and realism in his oil paintings demonstrate how extensively he studied his subjects before proceeding on to his final interpretation. Even his watercolours depict an affinity with form and contour, only possible through in-depth study.

Having developed into a recognized artist, Anker was slowly drawn back to the quiet Swiss country lifestyle of Anet, taking with him the cultural enrichment Paris had afforded him. Alongside his collaboration with the Deck ceramics factory in 1864 he could finally live off his craft.

A father of six, he was extremely apt at capturing a child’s expression and re-creating the simplistic innocence of their behaviour in his works. Anker’s affection for his subjects is obvious in this collection, ranging from the landscapes he depicted, to his neighbours and family. The furniture and household objects presented in this collection were on occasion used as props in his paintings and sketches such as the large ceramic vase by Deck (lot 1397, valued at 1,000-1,500 francs), a mantel clock (lot 1400, valued at 800-1,200 francs) and the gold thimble with his wife’s initials (lot 1376, valued at 150-200 francs).

Of the works to be auctioned, the following should be mentioned: Le Louvre à Paris, watercolour, 8x14cm (lot 1352, valued at 4,000-6,000 francs), Le jeune auditeur, charcoal on paper, 27x21cm, (lot 1355, valued at 3,000-5,000 francs) as well as Jeune garçon portant un enfant sur ses genoux, watercolour, 19x13cm (lot 1356, featured as catalogue cover, valued at 4,000-6,000). In oils: Etude pour la cuisine, oil on canvas, 36x27cm (lot 1374 valued at 20,000-30,000 francs) and Chemin dans les champs, small oil on canvas, 20x32cm (lot 1390, valued at 10,000-15,000 francs).

This specialized sale of the Albert Anker estate features as part of Hôtel des Ventes Spring Fine Art and Antiques Sale – over 2000 lots including paintings, furniture, silver, Russian and oriental artworks, jewellery and watches to fuel the desires of all connoisseurs.

Auction: 9th March 2011 at Hôtel des Ventes, Geneva

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