This March, Hôtel des Ventes
will have the privilege of auctioning the entire contents of a large Genevan townhouse with no reserve prices! Recently discovered by Bernard Piguet in a 19th century abode situated in the centre of Geneva, the interior had remained virtually unchanged for over 60 years. The collection reflects an eclectic taste varying from Archaeology, Oriental art, the Middle Ages, 17th and 18th century furniture with some pieces of Modern art as well. « Even if some exceptional pieces reach high prices, the fact remains that this sale - having no reserve prices offers many opportunities to collectors to strike a deal », comments Bernard Piguet, CEO and Chief Auctioneer at Hôtel des Ventes.
This collection is integrated into the sales taking place on 11th, 12th and 13th March 2014, along with other specialist sections, notably Antiquarian books, Classical Archaeology, Icons and Scandinavian furniture. The Spring Sales consist of 2,800 lots with a global estimation of approximately 2 million Swiss francs. Over 900 lots of jewellery, watches, paintings, furniture and decorative objects have an estimate below CHF 300 which allows Hôtel des Ventes to continue in its quest to make auctions more accessible to a wider audience.
The contents of a large townhouse sold without reserve prices!
At the end of the 1940s, a couple of young newlyweds set up their home in a large townhouse in the Tranchées district of Geneva. This 19th century troubadour style building became the keeper of a surprising collection. Oriental Art stood alongside objects from the statuary Middle Ages as well as furniture, paintings and works of art from the 17th and 18th centuries.
For 60 years, the interior of this dwelling remained unchanged until Bernard Piguet opened the doors to the luxurious ground floors rooms. Shut away inside were treasures from the Italian and French Renaissance such as a rare pair of 15th century chairs bearing the Strozzi family coat of arms of which a similar example resides at the Metropolitan Museum in New York (lot 898 opposite estimated at CHF 6,000-8,000). Archaeological objects of found include an important marble bust from the Roman era (lot 635 below estimated at CHF 10,000-15,000). During the 1970s, the collection was enriched with modern works of art such as signed lithographs by Miró and engravings by Dalí.
From 11th to 13th March 2014, Hôtel des Ventes de Genève has to honour of auctioning the entire contents of this townhouse with no reserve prices! In other words, no minimum price has been set for the 162 lots from the collection. Even though the prices of certain more important pieces may skyrocket, the auction does offer other opportunities to strike a good deal with 18th century chalet furniture or perhaps more unusual objects such as a Therma cooker (lot 3563 estimated at CHF 100-150) which is accompanied by a photograph showing it in situ in the kitchen towards 1950.
The specialist sessions in the March 2014 sales: Antiquarian books, Classical Archaeology and Icons
For some years now the specialist sales of Antiquarian books and Classical Archaeology have had ever increasing success at Hôtel des Ventes. This Spring, these two specialities will again be presented, this time alongside a beautiful collection of Icons.
The Antiquarian and modern books session on Tuesday 11th March consists of antique publications with fine 18th century bindings and modern works with signed bindings. A chapter is dedicated to books and maps as well as Swiss publications. Four lots stand out from this selection: a first edition from 1632 Dialogues de Galilée (lot 24 estimated at CHF 4,000-6,000), an early printed book from 1492 (lot 25 estimated at CHF 2,000-3,000), Les Fables de La Fontaine illustrated by the great Jean-Baptiste Oudry (lot 67 estimated at CHF 3,000-5,000) and finally Les uvres de Molière in their first edition from 1682 (lot 28 opposite estimated at CHF 10,000-15,000).
The Classical Archaeology session on Wednesday 12th March comprises bronzes, marble sculptures, ceramic and alabaster antiques. Among the star lots feature busts and low relief sculptures in marble from the Roman era as well pieces from Ancient Egypt.
In celebration of Easter, Hôtel des Ventes presents a beautiful collection of 38 Russian and Greek orthodox icons (lots 1050 à 1088) from private Swiss collections and characterised by the diversity of the iconography represented. Among the more important panels feature a Virgin and child dated to around 1700 (lot 1061 opposite estimated at CHF 2,000-3,000), an 18th century Greek icon of the Deesis (lot 1057 estimated at CHF 6,000-8,000), an 18th century Russian icon depicting the Birth of the Virgin (lot 1069 estimated at CHF 2,000-3,000) and a 19th century representation of the Nativity (lot 1081 estimated at CHF 3,000-5,000).
Over 700 lots of jewellery and watches will be presented for sale at the March 2014 auction carrying estimates from CHF 200 to CHF 60000. Two jewellery collections will benefit charitable organisations: an ensemble by Gilbert Albert will be sold for donation to the association SOS enfants whereas the funds from jewellery sold by Madame ZVR will benefit Cancer Research.
1960s Scandinavian furniture
This collection of Scandinavian furniture is just one of the nice surprises in line for the March 2014 auction. It comprises sitting room furniture and suite, dining furniture, some signed such as the Folke Palsson (lot 1030 estimated at CHF 300-500), the Poul Henningsen lighting (lots 1029, 1034 et 1035) and the corner bar and stools in vintage faux-leather (lot 1032 estimated at CHF 500-800). The 23 lots in this collection were purchased in Copenhagen and have remained in the same family since.
An auction tradition accessible to all
Though some lots in the December auction reached world record prices, almost 800 lots sold for under CHF 300. Behind the record hammer prices and celebrated collections, Genevas Hôtel des Ventes continues in its efforts to open up the world of auctions and art to a greater public.
The March 2014 sales consist of over 900 paintings, furniture, rugs, jewellery, watches with auction estimates under CHF 300. These pieces have all been selected by the auction house specialists according to their historical value and the quality of their production. Falling into this category are a Cartier Must watch estimated at CHF 200-300 (lot 1347), a Prada handbag CHF 200-300 (lot 307) and a 19th century oil paintings offered at CHF 200-300 (lot 1288).