Following the exceptional sales of Russian art, the world record for a painting by Biéler (December 2011) and the unprecedented success of the auction of the Lifar collection (March 2012), the Hôtel des Ventes Geneva
resumes its traditional sales, which are one of its main strengths and have established the reputation of the auction house. From 11 to 14 June, an eclectic selection of high quality consisting of more than 2,000 lots will go under the hammer. Its estimated total value is between CHF 2,000,000 and CHF 3,000,000 (EUR 1,600,000-2,500,000; USD 2,100,000-3,100,000). Archaeology, tableware, Art Nouveau, silverware, ancient carpets, furniture, fine arts, Far Eastern art, luxury leatherware, watches and jewels are the main categories for sale at this years summer auction.
Among the flagship lots, amateurs will undoubtedly be attracted by a very fine selection of works by leading the Swiss masters, including two portraits by Ernest Biéler and Maurice Barraud (CHF 10,000-15,000; EUR 8,500-12,500; USD 10,500-15,700) and a magnificent oil painting from the beginning of the XIXth century signed by Wolfgang-Adam Töpffer. The latter work is in the painters catalogue raisonné (CHF 20,000-30,000; EUR 16,000-25,000; USD 21,000-31,300). This ensemble will be auctioned on 13 June from 19h00. Also in this lot will be a vibrant Nature morte à la pastèque by the famous Fauvist painter Maurice de Vlaminck (CHF 30,000-50,000; EUR 25,000-41,500; USD 31,300-52,200), while photographer S. Mendjisky is represented by his Requiem pour un bateau (CHF 4,000-6,000; EUR 3,300-5,000; USD 4,200-6,300). Another highlight is the sale of a sumptuous ensemble of XVIIIth century furniture consisting of impressive pieces from the Louis XV and Louis XVI periods and bearing the trademarks of E. Avril, G. Beneman and L. Peridiez, an Empire period salon by Jacob Desmalter and a rare XVIIIth century console by the famous cabinet maker and decorator Jean Jaquet (CHF 15,000-20,000; EUR 12,500-16,000; USD 15,700-21,000). The specialised auction on the evening of 11 June will give pride of place to Pre-Colombian art and to archaeology. Outstanding items in this section are an imposing Jalisco shaman (CHF 4,000-6,000; EUR 3 ,300-5,000; USD 4,200-6,300) and a gold pendant depicting a stylised Veraguas eagle (CHF 3,000-5,000; EUR 2,500-4,200; USD 3,100-5,200).
The sales of Thursday 14 June are likely to cause quite a stir as they focus on one of the leading icons of the 1950s and 1960s: Brigitte Bardot. The Hôtel des Ventes is offering to the highest bidder an engraved gold ring depicting a very naughty scene that once belonged to the star (CHF 500-800; EUR 400-700; USD 550-850). It is part of 600 jewels and watches bearing brand names such as Audemars Piguet, Boucheron, Breguet, Cartier, Chaumet, Chopard, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Lalaounis, Longines, Omega, Patek Philippe, Piaget, Rolex, Tiffany, Van Cleef & Arpels, Vourakis
Bernard Piguet, director and chief auctioneer of Hôtel des Ventes, Geneva, points out: « Apart from the stand-out pieces in the sale, we are offering more than 1000 quality lots with estimates lower than CHF 400. This means that we can remain accessible to a very large public and continue our philosophy of democratising sales by auction ». He added: « We are very happy to present fine traditional items for auction on this occasion. This has always been an area of particular savoir-faire in our auction house ».
Leading Swiss painters are again a highlight at the Hôtel des Ventes, Geneva
Following the sale in December 2011 of a portrait by Ernest Biéler for CHF 1,155 million (EUR 962,500; USD 1,255 million), a record for a work by this painter, Swiss art again features strongly at the Hôtel des Ventes, Geneva . Wolfgang-Adam Töpffer (1766-1847) takes pride of place on this occasion with an important oil painting from about 1815 entitled « Prédication en plein air, lermite du Valais (Preaching in the Open Air, the Hermit of Valais) ». This painting, with an estimated price of from CHF 20,000 to 30,000 (EUR 16,000-25,000; USD 21,000-31,300), is typical of the genre paintings which established Töpffers reputation works in which the painter places a group of persons in the midst of luxuriant natural scenery. Very often the attention of the public is strongly attracted towards the central figure in the work, thus taking up a style of composition characteristic of Dutch genre painters. This type of representation also underlines Töpffers skill as a landscape painter and a precursor of the practice of open painting. The oil painting offered for auction by Bernard Piguet and his team reflects this artistic virtuosity. It features in the artists catalogue raisonné, and a preparatory sketch for this prédication en plein air is exhibited in the collections of the Geneva Museum of Art and History.
In a different style, the portrait of an unidentified man who commissioned a portrait by Ernest Biéler (1863-1948) is likely to attract considerable Interest. Dated 1887, this oil painting is from the artists Parisian period in which he immersed himself in the styles that were then en vogue in the French capital. Here we can discern the influence of the Impressionnists, and particularly of Manet, in the pictorial spontaneity and the sheer presence of this unknown man (lot 1177, CHF 10,000-15,000; EUR 8,500-12,500; USD 10,500-15,700). The other notable works by Swiss masters include a luminous portrait of a woman with a fan by Maurice Barraud (lot 1171, CHF 10,000-15,000; EUR 8,500-12,500; USD 10,500-15,700), a Barque sur le lac (Boat on a Lake) by Baudit (lot 1173, CHF 3,000-5,000; EUR 2,500-4,200; USD 3,100-5,200), several works by Bosshard and Töpffer, Bieler, Dufaux, Castres, Tinguely as well as an Orientalist landscape by Hermanjat
Wednesdays sale will include a vibrant Nature morte à la pastèque (Still Life with Watermelon) signed by one of the leading lights of the Fauvist movement, Maurice de Vlaminck (1876-1958) (lot 1142, CHF 30,000-50,000; EUR 25,000-41,500; USD 31,300-52,200), as well as several photographs signed Barthet, Quinn and a Requiem pour un bateau (Requiem for a Boat) by Serge Mendjisky (lot 1021, CHF 4,000-6,000; EUR 3,300-5,000; USD 4,200-6,300).
Louis XV and Louis XVI furniture, a moment of perfection in French art
In the XVIIIth century, the decorative arts reached a pinnacle of perfection, elegance and ingenuity in France . Even today, the Louis XV curves and the Louis XVI lines inspire creators and appeal strongly to aficionados. The latter are likely to be attracted by the very fine ensemble of period furniture that will be auctioned by Bernard Piguet on Wednesday 13 June. Particularly notable here are works by B. Lieutaud, Migeon, C.C. Saunier, E. Avril and G. Beneman. The commode of flamed Cuban mahogany by Lieutaud (lot 1003, CHF 10,000-15,000; EUR 8,500-12,500; USD 10,500-15,700) and the card table by Migeon (lot 998, CHF 8,000-12,000; EUR 6,600-10,000; USD 8,400-12,500) typify the elegance and finesse of the Louis XVI style. Also noteworthy is an important Louis XV commode bearing the mark of L. Peridiez (Lot 966, CHF 15,000-20,000; EUR 12,500-16,600; USD 15,700-21,000) as well as a rare Louis XVI console executed by the very famous cabinet-maker and decorator Jean Jaquet, whose work was greatly appreciated by the leading Genevan families at the end of the XVIIIth century (lot 989, CHF 15,000-20,000; EUR 12,500-16,600; USD 15,700-21,000).
Pre-Colombian art and archaeology, an enduring fascination
The Hôtel des Ventes, Geneva usually has one or two archaeology auctions per year and has acquired a loyal clientèle that is fascinated by these ancient civilisations. In June 2012, connoisseurs will have an opportunity to admire the new set of works on display and offered for auction by the Genevan auction house.
Scheduled for Monday 11 June, the highlights of the Pre-Colombian section will be an imposing Jalisco shaman or musician (lot 117, CHF 4,000-6,000; EUR 3,300-5,000; USD 4,200-6,300) and a gold pendant depicting a stylised eagle of the Veraguas culture (lot 134, CHF 3,000-5,000; EUR 2,500-4,200; USD 3,100-5,200). As for archaeological art, significant items include Attic cups and Etruscan objects from Greece , Rome and the Middle East
An Attic terra cotta cup with eye motifs and black figures is a particular highlight (lot 161, CHF 2,000-3,000; EUR 1,700-2,500; USD 2,100-3,100).
Brigitte Bardot, star of the HDV luxury goods sale
An omnipresent female icon in the 1950s and 1960s, Brigitte Bardot was a genuine international star and the inspiration of many contemporary artists. Many photographers immortalised her perfect curves, including Jean Barthet (1920-2000) who photographed her on a window ledge (lot 1008, CHF 300-500; EUR 250-450) and Edward Quinn (1920-1997) who snapped her in an artists dressing room.(lot 1023, CHF 200-300; EUR 150-250). Although BB is no longer in the public eye, many who are nostalgic for this period will certainly try to purchase these symbolic photographs of the period or even a gold ring engraved with an erotic scene that once along to this glamour icon. This ring with an estimated price from CHF 500 to 800 (EUR 400-700; USD 550-850) will be part of a set of 600 jewels and watches by the leading brands, including: Boucheron, Bulgari, Cartier, Chaumet, Chopard, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Lalaounis, Longines, Omega, Patek Philippe, Piaget, Rolex, Tiffany, Van Cleef & Arpels, Vourakis
Several models by leading watchmakers will also be on display such as the Royal Oak quantième perpétuel (lot 1562, CHF 6,000-8,000; EUR 5,000-6,600; USD 6,300-8,400) and a pink gold quantième perpétuel by Audemars Piguet (lot 1567, CHF 8,000-12,000; EUR 6,600-10,000; USD 8,400-12,500). The Tank de Cartier wristwatch in white gold with its diamond white gold lunette (lot 1577, CHF 4,000-6,000; EUR 3,300-5,000; USD 4,200-6,300) and a gold ivy broach, set with more than 25 carat diamonds, will surely delight female connoisseurs (lot 1753, CHF 5,000-8,000; EUR 4,200-6,600; USD 5,200-8,400).
The sale of luxury leatherware will be another major attraction for fashionistas. Two rare models from the prestigious Hermès company stand out here: a Bolide bag in blue jeans crocodile skin (lot 26, CHF 5,000-8,000; EUR 4,200-6,600; USD 5,200-8,400) and a Birkin Shoulder bag in brown leather and denim (lot 25, CHF 2,000-3,000; EUR 1,600-2,500; USD 2,100-3,100). Two other white leather bags by Fendi and Tiffany & Co. will also go perfectly with any summer wear (lot 19 CHF 1,000-1,500; lot 36 CHF 200-300). Finally those planning to set off for exotic destinations this summer can choose from a selection of 12 Louis Vuitton suitcases and trunks to take with them or simply to decorate their living rooms.
Fascinating decorative objects
On 12 and 13 June more than 2,000 lots of sliverware, Art Nouveau, Art Déco, Eastern and Far Eastern Art, sacred art, valuable old carpets, paintings and drawings from the XVIIth to the XXth century will go under the hammer
These items include a rare Gallé vase of red glass and gold and enamel décor depicting a dragon in the Japanese style (lot 319, CHF 10,000-15,000; EUR 8,500-12,500; USD 10,500-15,700) and a very fine pair of silver chandeliers from the Louis XV period by the Parisian goldsmith Nicolas II Outrebon dated 1752-1753 (lot 444, CHF 5,000-7,000; EUR 4,200-5,800; USD 5,200-7,300).