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Ketterer Kunst's 500th anniversary auction: Million euro proceeds despite Coronavirus
Ernst Ludwig Kirchner's Dorfstraße mit Apfelbäumen sold for: € 1,062,500.

MUNICH.- With total proceeds of around € 29.8 million Ketterer Kunst scored the best result of the auction season on the German market. Remaining at level with its 2019 record figures, the house confirms its role as market leader, as the total of 55 results in the 500th auction on July 17/18 beyond the € 100,000 line also delivers impressive proof of. This figure is exactly the same as it was last spring.. The ranking also includes the only two results beyond the magic million euro line in Germany as well as record prices for, among others, works by Gerhard Richter, Sigmar Polke and Cy Twombly.

Due to corona regulations access to the saleroom was limited and the audience had to be placed on two floors. However, phone bidding, absentee bids and digital participation amassed to record strength. For the first time ever a million euro bid was placed over the internet.

“Our figures for the first half of 2020 are excellent, for which I am really grateful especially in the face of the current situation“, says Robert Ketterer, auctioneer and owner of Ketterer Kunst. “It is no secret that our customers are at the core of this success. They love art, treasure quality and know that art is a good form of investment, too. We currently experience a strong demand and a digitalization boost. I expect this trend to continue in the second half of the year.“

After the Rare Books Department had grossed total proceeds of around € 1.9 million a few days earlier, thus making for a worthy season kick-off, the auctions of Art from the 19th to the 21st Century with proceeds of nearly € 26 million provided a likewise worthy finale. More than € 16 million were realized in the Evening Sale alone.

The evening‘s undisputed star was Gerhard Richter. His signature work “Christiane und Kerstin“ (lot 217) is from the artist‘s sought-after work group of the black-and-white “photo paintings“. In total some nine art lovers from Germany, the Netherlands, Great Britain, the USA and China gathered on the phones. After a long skirmish a collector from Hong Kong was able to stop the bidding race. With a result of € 2,625,000, a multiple of the starting price of € 580,000, she set a new record for a work by the blue chip artist on the European continent. Four other works by Richter realized excellent six-figure prices, first and foremost a unique work from the sought-after Fuji series (lot 241), which a Bavarian collector made sure for himself against international competitors for a result of € 375,000.

The second result in the millions went to Ernst Ludwig Kirchner‘s “Dorfstraße mit Apfelbäumen“ (lot 205). A Franconian collector honored the early document of the artist‘s expressionist palette with a consistent provenance with a result of € 1,062,500. His bid relegated competitors on the phone, mainly from Germany and Great Britain, to places second and beyond. A little later the same art lover stood his grounds again for Kirchner‘s “Heimkehrender Heuer“ (lot 263) with a result of € 562,500*. This time bidders from mainly Schleswig-Holstein and North Rhine-Westphalia were left empty-handed.

The Evening Sale‘s third place went to Sigmar Polke‘s mixed media work “Ohne Titel (Würfel)“ (lot 243) which a New Yorker won for € 750,000 against strong resistance from Germany. At the same time he set a new record for a work by the artist sold in the German language region. Eight other works from the artist‘s multi-faceted oeuvre realized good increases and scored five-figure results.

A Bavarian collector present in the saleroom let the price for Günther Uecker‘s untitled tender and poetic nail composition (lot 259) from 1990 soar to heights of € 575,000, standing his grounds against phone bidders from all over Germany and Belgium. A little later the highly dynamic and powerful work “Feld“ (lot 276) was sold to a bidder in the German capital for a just slightly lower result of € 550,000.

Another record and a result of more than twice its calling price of € 270,000 was realized by Cy Twombly‘s work “Untitled (6 sheets) (lot 225). A Berlin collector granted the result of € 575,000 for the graphic series released in a very small edition against strong phone- and online competitors from Germany and the USA.

Accordingly, Cy Twombly leads the group of works from American artists that all realized excellent increase rates: While Lyonel Feininger‘s “Manhattten, Dusk“ (lot 227) and “Gaberndorf“ (lot 266) went from € 180,000 to € 325,000 and from € 150,000 to € 275,000 respectively, Keith Haring‘s “Andy Mouse“ (lot 254) and Tom Wesselmann‘s “Cochecton Pool, Delaware River…“ jumped from € 90,000 to € 250,000 and from € 130,000 to € 237,500 respectively. Other fascinating works came from Andy Warhol (lot 221, “Portrait of a Lady (Natalie Sparber)“, result: € 150,000), Robet Longo (lot 275, “Untitled (In the Garden, et in arcadia ego)“, result: € 225,000) and William N. Copley, who saw a new record in the German language region with a result of € 131,250 for his work “Bonnie + Clyde“ (lot 30).

Another starring role was taken by Tony Cragg who was represented with five works that were all sold, first and foremost his spectacular stainless steel sculpture “Never Mind“ (lot 258). An art lover from Switzerland had to fight fiercely against a number of commissions and competitors on the phones from all over Germany, Spain and Mexico. He eventually raised the price from € 100,000 to a result of € 537,500. A six-figure price was also realized by “Ice Cubes“ (lot 222) and “Solo Diabas“ (lot 240) which went to two Southern German collectors for € 137,500 and for € 118,750 respectively. One bid over the phone while the other made use of the internet platform.

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