For the very first time, Bernard and Claire Piguet
are presenting their next grand sales in the month of May, a time of great activity in Geneva amongst the world of Fine jewellery and watches.
The spring auctions will involve an online auction (1,420 lots) as well as the traditional sales with an auctioneer (1,530 lots). All the lots will be on show during the public viewings (total estimate CHF 3.8 million CHF 5.6 million).
Launching the occasion will be the antiquarian and modern book sale with a rare first edition of the Count of Monte-Christo by Alexandre Dumas as well as a collection of signed and autographed works. The sale will move on to luxury handbags and then to tableware with pieces by Paul Storr, Tiffany & Co. and Omar Ramsden. The Antiquities and Ancient art sale will follow, leading on to an exceptional Paintings sale boasting works from the likes of Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Edgar Degas, Jean Dubuffet and Pablo Picasso. Fine watches and jewellery collectors will also have their appetites satisfied by the likes of an Audemars Piguet Royal Oak, a Suzanne Belperron brooch and finally a pair of mystery set Van Cleef & Arpels clip earrings.
Exceptional pieces of Fine Jewellery
A superb diamond, emerald, ruby and onyx brooch in the form of a planted bush created around 1935 by Suzanne Belperron highlights the work of this early 20th century artistic jewellery. Hired by Boivin in 1919, Suzanne Belperron developed a style of her own which was rapidly adopted the fashionable literary and artistic circles of the time.
Throughout her career, she maintained My style is my signature. Carl Erickson, a.k.a. Eric, a star designer at Vogue USA wrote in the January 1934 issue: Mme Belperron of Paris has revolutionised the world of jewellery by her hand sculptures in precious stones. Among her clients feature Colette, Wallis Simpson, Duchess of Windsor and Josephine Baker. This brooch (lot 1475) has remained under private ownership for almost a century and appears on the art market for the first time (estimate CHF 20,000-30,000 / EUR 17,600-26,300).
A rare pair of Van Cleef & Arpels mystery set ruby and diamond clip earrings also feature among the exceptional pieces of this sale. This item of jewellery is emblematic of the brands achievement in creating an invisible setting that is performed by only a few master jewellers known as the Golden hands. The Mystery set was patented by Van Cleef & Arpels in 1933. The technique is highly complicated, involving each faceted stone being placed on a minute gold rail creating the illusion the gems are free-standing. Only a few examples are produced each year by the jewellery house as just one clip takes over 300 hours of work (lot 1504, estimate : CHF 100,000-150,000 / EUR 87,800 131,700 see photograph on page 1).
The sale will include almost 1,000 lots by the likes of Bulgari, Cartier, Graff, Piaget and Tiffany, as well as a wide selection of Art Deco and 19th century jewellery. Among the highlights is an impressive Panthère ring by Cartier with movable neck and paws (lot 1503, estimate: CHF 20,000-30,000 / EUR 17,600-26,300).
Collectors watches in Fine Horology
The watch sale includes around 200 lots by Audemars Piguet, Harry Winston, Parmigiani, Patek Philippe, RJ, Rolex, and Vacheron Constantin to name a few. One particularly interesting lot is a tourbillon watch made by an independent watchmaker from Neutchatel called Alexis Garrin. He made between five and ten watches per year rendering each piece unique (lot 1272, estimate: CHF 35,000-45,000 / EUR 30,700 39,500).
The star lot of the sale is an automatic Audemars Piguet A Series Royal Oak from circa 1972 (lot 1287, estimate: CHF 20,000-30,000 / EUR 17,600-26,300 ). In the early 1970s, the director of Audemars Piguet called upon the services of designer Gerald Genta to create a watch that resembled no other. The Royal Oak was born with its hexagonal bezel. With 2000 examples produced of this first model, it was considered a bit of a gamble. Of course the risk paid off as the Royal Oak is considered a crowning achievement by the press and collectors. Today it remains one of the most popular models by the brand and holds a special place in horological history. The A Series is the most sought after model by watch collectors.
Another star lot is a Patek Philippe Nautilus ref. 5712 and is sold on 23 May with an estimate of CHF 25000-35'000 / EUR 30700-39'500 (lot 1286), lower than its current retail price. This model is still available to purchase new but there is a six year wait.
A fine ensemble of Impressionist, Modern and Contemporary works of art
The sale held on the evening of Wednesday 22 May open with the paintings session which offers works by masters of the Modern and Impressionist movements. The highlights include a landscape painting 15x28 cm by Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919) (lot 835, estimate: CHF 60,000-80,000 / EUR 52,700 70,300), Mounted Jockey by Edgar Degas (1834-1917) (lot 807, estimate: CHF 15,000-25,000 / EUR 13,200 22,000), two works by Jean Dubuffet (1901-1985) (lots 859 et 860, estimates: CHF 60,000-80,000 / EUR 52,700-70,300 and CHF 40,000-60,000 / EUR 35,100 52,700) and a charming oil painting of Two young ladies on the seafront by Henri Baptiste Lebasque (1865-1937) (lot 873, estimate: CHF 30,000-50,000 / EUR 26,300 43,900, photo right).
The Contemporary art session offers a selection of paintings as well as two by Tadeusz Kantor (1915-1990) (lots 922 and 923, estimates: CHF 30,000-50,000 / EUR 26,300 43,900 and CHF 12,000-18,000 / EUR 10,500 15,800) and an impressive realism painting by Kehinde Wiley (1977), an African American who featured quite recently in the press for this portrait of Barack Obama hung in Washingtons National Portrait Gallery (lot 941, estimate: CHF 50,000-80,000 / EUR 43,900 70,200).
Books and manuscripts
Following the success of the last books and manuscripts sale, this category continues to expand by presenting another fine selection of works. The initial highlight is a rare first edition of the serialised novel by the author who rose to fame with The Three Musketeers, Alexandre Dumas (1802-1870): The Count of Monte-Christo, Paris 1845-1846 (lot 81, estimate: CHF 40,000-60,000/ EUR 35,100 52,700).
Bibliophiles will also discover a collection of 18 signed letters from Alfred de Vigny to Camilla Maunoir between 1838 and 1852. Published at the end of the 19th century under the title Lettres à une puritaine (letters to a Puritan), this correspondence holds great historical and literary importance, shining light on the author as a writer, politician and romantic (lot 108, estimate: CHF 6,000-8,000 / EUR 5,300 7,000). Another highlight is a 1953 first edition folding leaflet by Fernand Léger (1881-1955) of the poem Liberté jécris ton nom (Freedom I write your name), by Paul Eluard (1895-1952) written in 1942 to encourage the French Resistance (lot 173, estimate: CHF 1,500-2,000 / EUR 1,300 1,800).
The sale includes a fine selection of Elzevir publications in 19th century bindings, classic literary works and 18th century travel books in their original bindings, a collection of original edition works by Rodolphe Töpffer (1799-1846) featuring signed letters and drawings by the author, works by artists such as Alix, Creuzevault, Leroux, Martin, Miguet, Vernier as well as numerous 20th century first editions with signed dedications.
The Grand May sales at Piguet Auction House offer a wide variety of luxury and limited edition handbags from the likes of Hermès, Chanel, Vuitton and Dior to name a few. The Antiquities and Ancient art sale presents some highly interesting pieces such as this terracotta Olpe from the second half of the 7th century BC (lot 400, estimate: CHF 8,000-12,000 / EUR 7,000 10,500, see right). The Oriental and Asian art department highlights Indian and Islamic art this May with Iznik ceramic tiles and a large selection of Indian miniatures. Last of all, the online sale includes a collection of antique slot machines which will transport visitors to the viewing back to the early 20th century casinos (lot 3336, slot machine mentioned in the cartoon strip Lucky Luke The one-armed bandit, estimate: CHF 6,000-8,000 / EUR 5,300 7,000).