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From Anker to Zaugg: 150 Years of Swiss Art in 150 Works to be offered at Christie's
Diego Giacometti, Guéridon aux harpies, 1955. Estimate: CHF150,000-200,000. © Christie's Images Ltd 2019.

ZURICH.- Christie’s 37th Swiss Art Auction on 17 September will return to the Kunsthaus Zürich, Grosser Vortragssaal, where the museum’s renovation work has now been completed. In Spring 1994, Christie’s conducted its Swiss Art auction for the first time in this location and we are delighted to be back at the Kunsthaus. The upcoming Swiss Art auction will offer 141 lots, of which 100% have been consigned by private international collectors and 64% of which are offered at auction for the first time. The sale represents the auction debut for the Swiss artist trio Mickry 3, and is led by 20 works from the former collection of Bruno Giacometti, the youngest of the four Giacometti siblings, showcasing works by Alberto, Augusto, Giovanni and Diego Giacometti.

The Contemporary Swiss Art section is highlighted by Peter Fischli & David Weiss’s Kerze (1986, estimate: CHF80,000-120,000), an early multiple-sculpture by the artists and this example is offered for the first time at auction. Working in a spirit of discovery and play, the duo is world-renowned for their witty juxtapositions and transformations of everyday objects. Kerze stems from a key series in which the artists transmuted domestic items by casting them in black rubber: here, an ornamental candle becomes an enigmatic, unfamiliar presence, alienated from its function and disquietingly fetishised in appearance. An edition of seven, one is in the collection of the Centre Pompidou in Paris.

Night Face by Markus Raetz from 2001, (estimate: CHF12,000-18,000) is due to be included in the artist’s catalogue raisonné, currently being produced, and the project of compiling this will be the topic of a talk on 13 September at the Kunsthaus in the presence of the artist.

Mickry 3 - founded by Christina Pfander, Dominique Vigne and Nina von Meiss - is celebrating its 20th anniversary. Their works embody a consumer and socially critical attitude; they do not, however, admonish, but are always underpinned by a dose of humour. Hello Shitty, 2004 (estimate: CHF 3,0004,000), comes from a series of works called ‘Hello Shitty World’, which was originally an interactive game and which is still available online.

The son of the artist Giovanni Giacometti, brother of the draughtsman, painter and sculptor Alberto Giacometti, and the sculptor and designer Diego Giacometti, Bruno was from a true artistic dynasty. He was an architect, and not only did he inherit countless paintings, sculptures and design objects made by members of his family, he also stood in as a model for some of their work.

Bruno’s collection included some very personal, family-related works. The etching of his father Giovanni from circa 1912 Alberto, Diego, Ottilia and Bruno Reading (estimate: CHF2,500-3,500) shows all four Giacometti children, while the woodcut Mother and Child of 1908 depicts Bruno with his mother Annetta (estimate: CHF1,500-2,000). In Giovanni’s painting, Davos in Winter, from 1916, the Church of St. Mary is depicted, and on the back of the painting is a seascape with fisherman with the title I Pescatori, from 1918–1920 (estimate: CHF40,000-60,000).

Bruno’s collection of works that were made by his brothers Alberto and Diego included some of their figurative lithographs and etchings, along with a selection of design pieces and decorative art objects, such as Lampe coupe aux deux figures by Alberto created circa 1950 (estimate: CHF500,000-700,000).

An example of the furniture created by Diego that Bruno owned is the side table Guéridon aux harpies, 1955, with its decorative mythical figures (estimate: CHF150,000-200,000). Among Diego's great admirers and contractors were Marguerite and Aimé Maeght, for whom he designed a chair in 1955 – Modell

Foundation Maeght. The same model was later re-cast for the Musée Picasso. One chair also entered the collection of Bruno Giacometti (estimate: CHF80,000-120,000).

Based on previously made finished sketches, Augusto Giacometti received innumerable official contracts to create both profane and sacred glass windows. Included in the sale are the finished sketches for the Marriage of Mary, a series of glass windows made for the marriage register at the town hall of Zurich (estimate: CHF 40,000-60,000).

In the middle of the 20th century, Le Corbusier took up the tradition of enamel painting, which has its origins in medieval goldsmithing. Enamel is a melted mixture of chemicals made up of various metal oxides. Coloured enamel can be applied directly with a brush to a metallic surface, after which the piece is then briefly melted at high temperatures. In Le Corbusier's work Femme de profil, les mains croisées (Portrait d'Yvonne le Corbusier), one can even detect an enameled fingerprint of Le Corbusier, as part of his signature (estimate: CHF50,000-70,000). The auction offers six works by Le Corbusier, retracing the artist’s career from 1928 to 1962 in the field of drawing, oil and enameled painting.

Cuno Amiet documented all of his works in his personal catalogue raisonné, including information on exhibitions and provenance. Based on his notes, Tree in Bloom (1916) was given by Amiet to his wife’s niece. Until 1984 the work remained as a donation in the collection of Greti Rothenhäusler-Morgenthaler and her husband Oskar. It was then passed by inheritance to the present owner. Hence, the work is offered for the first time at auction with an estimate of CHF500,000-600,000.

Ferdinand Hodler’s (1853-1918) Fleeing Women at the Escalade parade references an important historic event in Swiss history which took place in the city of Geneva. The festival Escalade celebrates the successful defense of Geneva against the attack of Duke Charles Emmanuel I of Savoy in December 1602.

The epic work was commissioned by Edouard Landolt, to decorate his Geneva based Tavern du Crocodile which opened in 1886. The paintings ornamented the entire tavern, but between 1910-1915 large parts were removed by the Tavern’s subsequent owner Hermann Charles Herth and sold, including this large work, measuring 198 x 64 cm, now offered for auction (estimate: CHF350,000-450,000).

Ferdinand Hodler (1853-1918) and Letizia Raviola (1899–1955) met through an advertisement, placed by the artist, searching for a new model. Between 1916 and 1917, Hodler created eleven half-figure portraits of the young 17-year-old, a trained singer. The present portrait differs from the others by its marked symmetry and frontality, while the background shows the wall of the atelier’s garden (estimate: CHF180,000-250,000). In addition to their three sons – Alberto, Bruno and Diego – Giovanni and Annetta Giacometti had a daughter called Ottilia (1904-1937). In this painting, 15-year-old Ottilia is depicted by her father in a field of alpine roses by Lake Sils near Maloja, where the Giacometti family spent every summer (estimate: CHF80,000-120,000).

Félix Vallotton’s (1865-1925) seven-part series Paris Intense (estimate: CHF15,000-20,000) is a collection of impressions by the artist of the bustling streets of Paris at the end of the 19th century. This particular set of zincographs is arguably the most sought-after of the Paris Intense series for it has the pencil signature of the publisher, the printer L. Joly, in the lower left-hand corner, on all seven of its leaves. Furthermore, the graphics are printed on valuable yellow saffron paper and the fact that the set is complete makes it very rare. Until the end of September the Royal Academy in London is showcasing the work of Félix Vallotton, an exhibition which will then travel to the Metropolitan Museum in New York.

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