ZURICH.- Koller Auctions
is one of the top-selling auction houses worldwide. The basis for this was laid by company founder Pierre Koller, who will celebrate his 90th birthday on 15 September. In the furniture department, his specialty, he is still active as a consultant and auctioneer. The rare Boulle-Bureau-Plat, with an estimate of CHF 1.5 to 2.5 million, will be auctioned off by him on 18 September.
Already as a young man Pierre Koller was enthusiastic for art - above all he was cap- tured by depictions of horses. In 1958, as a 34-year-old lawyer, he opened a gallery specialising in Equitation at Dufour Strasse in Zurich, where he mediated paintings and etchings on the theme horse and rider. Soon the gallery program was expan- ded and in 1961 the company moved to Rämistrasse 8, where an auction house with a wide range would finally develop on 5 floors.
Establishment and specialisation
The partnership Pierre Koller entered into with his sister Antoinette, who joined the company in 1959 and had an unerring eye for ceramics, silver and Asian art, pa- ved new terrain for the young art company- Antoinette Kollers death in December 1998 was a great loss not only for the family, but also for the gallery. Pierre Koller in turn became an internationally renowned specialist for antique furniture and Objets dart. He became an auctioneer in 1960, when he was able to auction off some sig- nificant collections, including a privately owned collection of clocks from Augsburg. This successful auction was soon followed by the next. High-quality objects and often whole collections could be offered at Rämistrasse, where collectors and dealers from home and abroad soon went in and out.
Skillful company expansion
With the establishment of a branch at Hardturmstrasse in 1974, the middle and lower price segments could be expanded further and with their own auctions attracted a younger clientele. In 1975 a further branch was opened at the Castle Lucens in the French-speaking part of Switzerland and later moved to the Rue de lAthénée in Geneva in 1980 for practical reasons. Today Castle Lucens, where further auctions were held, shines in its former splendour thanks to the commitment of Pierre Koller. In 1991 Galerie Koller left the center of Zurich and moved its headquarters to Hard- turmstrasse 102 in Zurich West, more customer-friendly due to its proximity to the airport and highway. Since then four large, prestigious auctions take place annually, while just across the street the more inexpensive Koller West segment is offered at auction. In 1998 Pierre finally passed the management of the company over to his son Cyril Koller, who further focused on special fields, and helped the painting de- partment, as its head, reach international attention with several record sales. He also extended the global representative network. In 2008 Galerie Koller changed into Koller Auctions, leaving behind the former gallery operations. Koller Auctions, with sales over CHF 100 million and a share of around 70% international buyers, is still family-owned and one of the worlds leading addresses for art auctions today.
Today Pierre Koller still operates as Honorary Chairman of the Board and as consultant and auctioneer in his specialist area, with a private office and secretary at Hardturmstrasse. Privately, he is married to Ursula Koller-Lehner since 1965, father of three sons and as from December 2014 grandfather to a dozen grandchildren. On his own account he opened a retail store for art and antiques (www.art-and-antiquitaeten.ch) in Engelberg in 2010, having previously instituted a hotel there with items from his collection. On 18 September, he will realize a further lifelong dream with the auction of the important Boulle desk. We wish our founder all the best and a very Happy Birthday.