Active bidding and high sell-through rates at Koller's December auctions

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Active bidding and high sell-through rates at Koller's December auctions
A small still life by Paul Cézanne, "Bol, boîte à lait et bouteille", 1879-80 (lot 3225), sold for above its upper estimate to a Chinese bidder at CHF 546,000.

ZURICH.- With a full saleroom and very active telephone and online bidding, the Impressionist & Modern Art auction at Koller on 6 December largely exceeded its pre-sale estimates. Works by the great names of the modern era were particularly sought after, such as three paintings by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, all of which surpassed expectations: "Paysage, vallée village sur la hauteur et fond de montagnes", 1900 (lot 3211), sold for nearly triple its low estimate at CHF 281,000. A small still life by Paul Cézanne, "Bol, boîte à lait et bouteille", 1879-80 (lot 3225), sold for above its upper estimate to a Chinese bidder at CHF 546,000. A wonderful charcoal drawing by Henri Matisse, "Nymphes", 1941 (lot 3241), sold to a private collector for CHF 232,000, almost doubling its estimate. A bronze bust by Germaine Richier, "La Regodias", 1938 (lot 3226) which in its elegance and stylistic purity has been compared to the ancient Egyptian bust of Queen Nefertiti, sold for CHF 83,000, more than eight times its pre-sale estimate.

The sales of PostWar & Contemporary and Prints & Multiples on 7 December also made strong showings. Ai Weiwei's untitled sculpture of a wooden ball (lot 3466) sold for CHF 122,000 to a private collector, and all three paintings by Op-art artist Victor Vasarely sold well, led by "Kezdi-RSZ", 1966-1974 (lot 3494), which fetched CHF 116,000. Works by Mark Tobey were very much in vogue in this auction, for example a work on paper entitled "Multi-Movements in Time", 1958 (lot 3409) fetched CHF 80,800 against an estimate of CHF 14,000/18,000. Stephan Balkhenhol's 2007 installation "Man with green shirt and domino relief" (lot 3517) left one private Swiss collection only to enter another, for CHF 80,000. Artists as diverse as Jean Dubuffet, Tom Otterness, Joan Hernandez Pijuan and Pierre Alechinsky were all sought after in the auction, with Dubuffet's sculpture "La Tétrascopique", 1971
(lot 3445) more than doubling its estimate at CHF 59,000.

The leading result among the Prints & Multiples was Andy Warhol's colour screenprint with diamond dust "Superman", 1981 (lot 3709) which sold for CHF 183,000, followed by "The Book of Love" by Robert Indiana, in which the iconic LOVE logo was presented in twelve iterations accompanied by poems (lot 3716, CHF 134,000). Altogether the Prints & Multiples auction realised a very healthy 126% sold by value (not including buyer's premium).

The last version still available on the market of Albert Anker's well-known composition "The Village Clerk" (lot 3013) was purchased by a private Swiss collector for CHF 718,000. Bidders in the packed saleroom and on the telephones disputed works by Gottardo Segantini, Adolf Dietrich and Varlin, among others. Segantini's view of Maloja entitled "Paesaggio paradisiaco", 1920 (lot 3066), changed hands for CHF 147,000. Dietrich was represented by several works in the auction, led by "Clivia", 1943 (lot 3037), which sold for CHF 105,000, attesting to the continued demand for works by this self-taught artist. An oil over charcoal on canvas by Varlin entitled "Juan quizzing Franca before the driving license exam", 1961 (lot 3085) sold for double its pre-sale estimate at CHF 83 000.

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