Despite the lockdown in Austria, Dorotheum
s Modern Art sale on 30 November 2021 was one of the best in the history of the auction house to date, with an excellent sale rate of 85 percent and numerous international participants. And this despite the fact that the exhibition was accessible only virtually, and participation in the auction was only possible by telephone and live bidding. Together with the June auction, 2021 has proved to be the most successful year ever for the Modern Art department at Dorotheum.
After reaching the world record price of 965,300 euros for a painting by Alfons Walde at the June 2021 sale, Dorotheum has achieved another top price for this artist. The Tyrolean motif Wilder Kaiser with Farmhouse in Winter far exceeded expectations when it went to a telephone bidder for 790,500 euros, after a bidding battle lasting several minutes. The painting came from a Czech private collection.
Works of French modernism were also highly sought after. Bids for two stylistically very different village views by André Derain and Maurice de Vlaminck reached 315,500 and 165,500 euros, respectively. The title lot of the auction catalogue, Fernand Légers work on paper Lanniversaire (The Birthday), found a new owner for 315,500 euros.
Other top lots include Max Ernsts deep blue abstract painting from 1961 ( 294,454) and the allegorical self-portrait L'atelier by the Italian Renato Guttuso (1975, 140,500).
SWEET AS SUGAR
Successful contemporary art auction at Dorotheum
The latest installation by Kenny Scharf, who was born in 1958 and socialised in New Yorks 1980s East Village scene, is titledVaxi Nation. The artist cooperated with DIOR for the 2021 Men Fall Collection. His large format from 2008-2009, influenced by pop and comics aesthetics, topped the sales at Dorotheums contemporary art sale on 1 December 2021. An international bidder on the telephone offered 428,000 euros for the artists brightly coloured Sugar.
This auction saw many hefty bids, especially for art from the 1950s. This includes Georges Mathieus calligraphy-inspired Informalist work Uranus II from 1953, which fetched 353,000 euros. Arnulf Rainers Black Overpainting, begun in the same year as an accumulation of 20,000 gestures of crossing-out, realised 215,500 euros. Works by Austrian artists, including Martha Jungwirth, Hermann Nitsch, Max Weiler and Otto Muehl, were knocked down at prices that far exceeded expectations.