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Meeting of the giants of art in fifteen specialist sales at Koller Auctions in December
Paul Signac (1863 Paris 1935), Les Andelys. Château-Gaillard. 1921. Oil on canvas. Signed: P. Signac. 73x92 cm. Estimate: CHF 3 200 000 / 3 800 000.

ZURICH.- From 3 to 7 December around 2500 lots will be offered for sale in the course of 15 specialist auctions at Koller Zurich. Alongside rare examples of African art, silver, jewellery, fine furniture and clocks, on 5 December this auction house will offer the collection of the animal sculptor Pierre-Jules Mêne comprising 176 objects, and will finish the auction week on 7 December with a paintings auction of the highest level. Alongside top works by Picasso, Signac, Dalì and Nolde amongst the classic modern artists, Anker, Amiet, Giovanni and Augusto Giacometti will also be present in the Swiss art section. The most valuable lot is Paul Signac’s depiction of Château-Gaillard. A sum of 3.2 to 3.8 million Swiss Francs is expected for this masterpiece.

Modern Art
7 December 2012
Works by Picasso, Signac and Dalì priced in the millions

Signac, Picasso, Dalì: the range of classic modern art at Koller on 7 December includes a number of top works, starting with Paul Signac’s crisp depiction of Château-Gaillard in the Norman parish of Andelys. The fortress, erected on a hillside by Richard the Lionheart in the 12th century, has been captured by Signac as viewed from the Seine. It therefore rises even more majestically over the landscape, resplendent in its summer colours. This outstandingly conserved work measuring 92 x 73 cm by an artist who was then assured in his style, will be offered with an estimate of between CHF 3.2 and 3.8 million (Lot 3227).

A further highlight of the modern art auction is the oil painting “La Nue assis appuyé sur des cousin” by Pablo Picasso. The work, painted in 1964, is a depiction of Picasso’s second wife and muse Jacqueline Roque. With her unmistakable black hair and typically penetrating gaze, this work with its striking red and green tones, marks the beginning of Picasso’s intensive series of portraits of Jacqueline. This well-publicised work will be offered with an estimate of CHF 2.2 / 2.8 million (Lot 3257).

Following the successful auction of an early work by Salvador Dalì in June of this year, in December Koller will offer four works by the great Spanish artist. These include “Landscape near Port Lligat with familiar angels and fishermen” made in 1950 after Dalì’s return to his homeland, an oil on canvas, of square format, measuring 61 x 61 cm. A key component of the renowned collection of the New York advertising pioneer Albert D. Lasker and his wife Mary Lasker, this work will now be offered at auction at Koller for CHF 2.8 to 3.5 million (Lot 3238).

Alongside these heavyweights, Koller auctions will also offer numerous fine works such as a drawing by Gustave Klimt (Lot 3219 / CHF 60 000 / 80 000), a watercolour by Emil Nolde with a depiction of marsh landscape from the 1930s (Lot 3214 / CHF 180 000 / 250 000) and a painting by Karl Hofer from 1934, “The green flag” at CHF 120 000 / 180 000 (Lot 3230). At a similar price level Paul Klee’s watercolour “Gebirgs-Gärtlein” will be auctioned at CHF 120 000 / 160 000 (Lot 3242).

Swiss Art
7 December 2012
Major paintings by Anker, Amiet and Giovanni Giacometti

There is also a high concentration of important works by well-known artists at the auction of Swiss Art on 7 December. Again, two important works by Albert Anker come to auction. Koller will offer the still life “Tea service” for CHF 1.5 to 2.2 million (Lot 3012). The painting “Boy writing with little sister” measuring 45 x 58 cm will go under the hammer for CHF1.2 to 1.8 million (Lot 3016). Cuno Amiet is also represented with a number of works. For his early work “Two trees” from 1900 / 1902 a price of between CHF 150 000 and 200 000 is expected (Lot 3042). The picture appeared with great fanfare on the international arena two years after its completion. After exhibitions in Geneva and Prague, it could also be seen at the epoch-making XIX Exhibition of the Union of Austrian Artists, the Viennese Secession in 1904. Then comes a self-portrait by Amiet from 1921 at CHF 100 000 - 150 000 (Lot 3062). From a private collection come some fine works by Augusto Giacometti in oils, pastel and charcoal. Especially noteworthy is a small “Picture in Torcello” from 1933 rendered in gold as well as red and dark blue, with an estimate of between CHF 30 000 and 50 000 (Lot 3043). Highlights also include Lots 3051 and 3060. For Giovanni Giacometti’s depiction of the Corvatsch in winter a price of between CHF 300 000 and 500 000 is expected and for Felix Vallotton’s “War. Study for 1914.1915” the price of CHF 200 000 to 300 000.

Contemporary Art
7 December 2012
Where Botero, Joan Mitchell and Tom Wesselmann come together

In 1992 Fernando Botero created a bronze ballerina in an edition of six measuring 69.5 cm with plinth. Number three of this edition will now be offered by Koller Zurich with an estimate of between CHF 330 000 and 400 000 (Lot 3348). Also to be offered at the contemporary art auction on 7 December at Koller is a diptych by Joan Mitchell in pastel crayon on paper in light blue and green tones. Both sheets will be offered with an estimate of CHF 40 000 / 60 000 (Lot 3328). By Tom Wesselmann comes a work in oils: “Study for nude painting print“ at CHF 140 000 / 180 000 (Lot 3339).

Modern Prints and Drawings
7 December 2012
Prints of the highest standard by Picasso, Chagall, Miro and Häckel

As with the modern paintings, so the range of modern prints and drawings is full of prominent works. Pablo Picasso’s etching “Le repas frugal”, which the artist printed in 1904 in an edition of 250, is the most important lot and is offered with an estimate of between CHF 150 000 and 200 000 (Lot 3413). From Andy Warhol comes a 1982 colour silk screen with a portrait of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe offered at CHF 25 000 / 35 000 (Lot 3516).

Marc Chagall is also represented in the upper price segment with an excellent colour lithograph “Les arums“ from 1975. The lithograph has been estimated at between CHF 20 000 and 30 000 (Lot 3484). Erich Häckel’s colour wood cut “white horses” from 1912 will be auctioned on 7 December at CHF 22 000 / 28 000 (Lot 3418).

The Collection Pierre-Jules Mêne
5 December 2012
A further milestone in the auction of collections at Koller

The auction of 176 bronzes by the animal sculptor Pierre-Jules Mêne marks a further milestone in Koller’s collections-based auctions which have increased in number in recent years. The sculptor Mêne was born in 1810 in Paris and in 1837 founded his first atelier where he produced his first naturalistic figures. Focusing on animals, as well as hunting groups and horses, his work suited exactly the taste of the time and enjoyed commercial success. From 1838 he was represented at the Salon des Beaux Arts and at various world exhibitions. Up to his death in 1879 Pierre-Jules Mêne produced 150 figures. He set great store by the casting, chasing and patination of his works, which he executed himself.

Amongst the highlights of the auction is Lot 1829, a bronze sculpture of a stag beetle. It is the only sculpture of an insect known to have been made by Mêne (estimate CHF 400 / 600). Further unique pieces to come to auction are the 4m high bronze of a lapwing at CHF 400 / 600 (Lot 1858) as well as a vide-poche measuring 18cm, with heads of beasts of prey at CHF 2 000 / 3 000 (Lot 1813). Also shown at the 1874 Paris Salon was the bronze “Faucaunnier Arab a Cheval”, which will now be offered at Koller for CHF 7 000 / 12 000 (Lot 1808). Shown at the 1862 World Exhibition, the piece “Chasse en Ecosse / La Prise du Renard” is now offered at auction for CHF 12 000 / 15 000 (Lot 1887).

Furthermore, on 5 December, there will be also a model by Mêne, which is especially rare. The dog with wooden base and vitrine is estimated at CHF 4 000 / 6 000 (Lot 1948).

Furniture and Decoration
6 December 2012
From the Paris master workshops

The auction of furniture and decorative arts is notable for the number of masterpieces from Parisian ateliers. A Louis XV bureau-plat, attributed to the master cabinet-maker Jacques Dubois, will be offered at auction for CHF 80 000 / 140 000 (Lot 1102). Amongst the most glittering highlights is a mantel clock with an elephant and bronzes and a signed clock movement by Jean Baptiste Baillon, made circa 1747/49. A sum of CHF 130 000 to 180 000 is expected for this item (Lot 1109).

By far the most precious lot is a mantel clock, made of pink porcelain and gilt bronze (Lot 1154). This elegantly cambered piece with enamel painting made by Jean Coteau is offered at auction for CHF 280 000 / 480 000. Amongst the most expensive highlights is also the ensemble made ca. 1750 by L. Cresson (Lot 1107), composed of a canapé and four armchairs. The ameublement is decorated with carved pomegranates and estimated at CHF 200 000 / 300 000.

The impressive desk by J. Sinz might have been built for architects with a sense of high quality and ease of use, it is offered now at auction for CHF 60 000 / 100 000 (Lot 1163). The estimate of the very pretty Louis XV secrétaire with flowers is a little lower - a price of between 28 000 and 48 000 is expected for this small but fine piece, coming from a French private collection (Lot 1125).

Jewellery and Wristwatches
4 December 2012
Large diamonds and fine watches

A loose brilliant-cut diamond of 6.03 carats with an estimate of between CHF 790 000 and 1.2 million is the highlight of the jewellery auction on 4 December (Lot 2084). Alongside a large range of signed jewellery from the famous ateliers, of especial note at this auction are the items in diamonds. Koller is offering a diamond clip brooch from the atelier of Suzanne Belperron circa 1930 for CHF 50 000 / 80 000 (Lot 2143) and a diamond, onyx and emerald brooch by Cartier circa 1980 with panther motif will be offered at CHF 50 000 / 80 000 (Lot 2142). Also of note is the alexandrite and diamond ring at 22.13 carats circa 1960 with an estimate of CHF 40 000 / 60 000 (Lot 2154).

Also amongst the watches diamonds determine the higher values. A lady’s wristwatch by Harry Winston from the 1990s will be offered at auction for CHF 25 000 / 35 000 (Lot 2273). From Girard Perrigeaux comes a gentleman’s wristwatch with automatic, chronograph and eternal calendar made in collaboration with Ferrari, to be offered at CHF 18 000 / 28 000 (Lot 2328).

Tribal Art
3 December 2012
Important cult objects with important provenances

The auctions of African art carried out twice a year in collaboration with Galerie Walu offer opportunities for both experts and new buyers. On 3 December Koller will offer at auction many objects from important provenances. From Nigeria comes the top lot at auction on 3 December. A standing Benin figure made of reddish-yellow coloured ivory with a bell suspended around it and adorned with a moveable chain. Especially remarkable in this finely executed gem are the freely carved moveable necklace and the indentation at the back, which presumably served to attach powerful relics. This muchpublished figure from a Swiss private collection, which was exhibited at the Museum Olten history museum in 1989, will be offered with an estimate of between CHF 50 000 and 70 000 (Lot 1675). Furthermore, Koller will be offering a Njawi Mask from Gabon at CHF 15 000 / 25 000 (Lot 1721). The white mask represents the ghost of an esteemed ancestor and was worn especially at burials. The colour white represents the afterlife and the world of the ancestors. This object also comes from a Swiss private collection. In addition, with an estimate of CHF 20 000 / 30 000 is a Dogon Altar from Mali from the Barbier-Mueller museum in Geneva. Although the form is reminiscent of a stool, the altar was never used for sitting. Rather, the individual elements refer to heaven and earth, which are bound by a tree and point thereby to the complex mythology of Dogon (Lot 1566).

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