Old Masters & 19th Century Paintings auction in Zurich on 26 March registered robust prices, with highly competitive bidding for many of the top lots, despite the fact that the sale had to be held without in-person bidding.
Anthony van Dyck's St Jerome in the Wilderness, a fascinating, freely executed study which may have belonged to his mentor, Peter Paul Rubens, sold for CHF 2.4 million after a protracted bidding battle, well above pre-sale expectations of CHF 800 000/1 000 000 (lot 3027). A recently rediscovered mystical depiction of St Benedict by Filippino Lippi more than tripled its low estimate to sell to a Swiss collector for CHF 134 000 (lot 3002). A charming bucolic scene by Dutch master Roelant Savery (lot 3022) left one German private collection to enter another, also selling for more than three times its low estimate, at CHF 128 000. An impressive portrait of a young man attributed to the circle of Annibale Carracci (lot 3036) was one of the most successful lots of the day, selling for CHF 226 000.
Among the 19th-century works, Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller's 'The love letter', a moody depiction of two young ladies by candlelight, sold for CHF 232 000 to a private Swiss collector (lot 3141). A landscape with figures by Waldmüller fetched CHF 73 000 (lot 3152). A vibrantly coloured view of Capri by Russian expatriate artist Konstantin Gorbatoff changed hands for more than double its estimate at CHF 134 000 (lot 3119), and a tranquil river view by Eugène Boudin (lot 3135) also doubled its estimate at CHF 104 000.
'The results of this auction, especially the enthusiastic bidding for works such as the van Dyck, confirm what we have been seeing for the past year: despite the global upheaval caused by the pandemic in many sectors, the market for Old Masters - and the auction market in general - is in excellent health, especially for high-quality works', commented Cyril Koller, CEO of Koller Auctions.
Koller's sales during its spring auction week performed well across the board, with an overall hammer of 117% of the pre-sale estimates. Among the decorative arts, a pair of chests of drawers from the workshop of the Gebrüder Spindler sold for CHF 220 000 (lot 1087). The second part of the European porcelain collection of Siegfried Ducret realised impressive prices, such as CHF 98 000 for a Meissen Böttger stoneware teapot, estimated at CHF 15 000/25 000 (lot 1039). A first edition of Charles Darwin's 'The Origin of the Species', the first example ever sold by an auction house in Continental Europe, changed hands for CHF 98 000 (lot 291).