The auction of Impressionist & Modern Art on features an impressive array of works by modern masters including Auguste Rodin, Marc Chagall, Erich Heckel, Alfred Sisley, Paul Klee and Ossip Zadkine.
A work from Erich Heckel's finest period, 'Frau am Tisch' (Woman at a table) to be offered on 2 July, completed a long and perilous journey before it was acquired by the present owners at Art Basel nearly 50 years ago. The 1914 painting, which depicts the artist's future wife, originally belonged to the important German collector and art patron Alfred Hess, who most likely purchased it directly form the artist. After Hess's death, his widow sent the painting to Switzerland, along with many other important works, to keep it safe from the Nazi regime. Ordered back to Germany, the painting was stored in a wooden crate in the basement of the Cologne Kunstverein where it survived a bombing and a flood in 1943, only to disappear and be considered lost for nearly 30 years before resurfacing in the 1970s. Due to a recent agreement between the current owners and the heirs of Alfred Hess, the painting can now be offered at auction. A detailed history of the provenance of this work can be found in the auction catalogue (lot 3231, CHF 300 000/500 000).
Auguste Rodin's sculpture 'The Kiss' is one of the most recognizable images in modern art, and the 60-centimetre bronze cast to be offered in Koller's 2 July auction is one of the rare examples for which we know the exact casting date (8 June 1905). The original sales invoice for the bronze, which has been the same family collection since its acquisition circa 1910, is in the Musée Rodin in Paris (lot 3218, CHF 350 000/500 000). Another important bronze sculpture in the auction is Ossip Zadkine's 'Les trois grâces'. Created in 1926 at a pivotal moment in the artist's career, this is part of an edition of only 5 casts, and the only one made in its year of creation. This bronze was apparently very important to Zadkine, as he kept it in his personal collection his entire life (lot 3258, CHF 200 000/300 000).
'Bouquet d'été' is a classic work by Marc Chagall, containing many of his most beloved elements, including lovers, a bouquet of flowers and a view of the southern French town of Saint-Paul-de-Vence (lot 3251, CHF 800 000/1 400 000). In 'Tournant du Loing à Moret' from 1896, Alfred Sisley employs the rich tonal palette dominated by lush shades of green characteristic of his mature period, when he often painted the landscapes around his home near Fontainebleau (lot 3224, CHF 600 000/900 000). Three significant works by Paul Klee will be offered on 2 July, including 'Kleine Landschaft', 1915, painted shortly after the artist's travels to Tunisia (lot 3238, CHF 250 000/350 000), and 'Bergschlucht', painted 19 years later, from the powerful creative period after Klee fled to his native Switzerland to escape the Nazi regime (lot 3245, CHF 350 000/400 000).
Auction 2 July 2021
The Swiss Art auction on 2 July presents works from nearly every important Swiss artist of the 19th and 20th centuries, including many of outstanding quality and from important private collections.
Ferdinand Hodler is represented by over a dozen works, crowned by a sublime landscape, 'Lake Geneva seen from Chexbres', 1911, in which he radically reduced all secondary elements to a strict minimum in order to fully explore the interplay and harmony between colour and line, resulting in a supremely modern composition (lot 3035, CHF 1.5 / 2.5 million). Another important landscape painting by Hodler is 'Lake Thun seen from Breitlauenen' from 1906 (lot 3029, CHF 800 000/1 200 000). In addition to his famous landscapes and Symbolist figure paintings, Hodler also continously explored portraiture throughout his career. The portrait of Clara Pasche-Battié offered in the auction is one of Hodler's strongest and most modern examples from this pictorial genre (lot 3041, CHF 350 000/500 000).
Cuno Amiet is also well-represented in the 2 July auction, with paintings ranging from an early work depicting the Garden of Paradise, 1900 (lot 3026, CHF 200 000/300 000), to landscapes executed throughout his career and up to the 1950s, such as 'Early Spring', 1944, in which one can almost feel the first warm rays of the sun at the close of a long winter (lot 3066, CHF 80 000/120 000). Two landscapes by Félix Vallotton, 'Falaise à Vasouy', 1910 (lot 3044, CHF 280 000/380 000), and 'Vue d'Avignon', 1920 (lot 3046, CHF 150 000/200 000), are masterpieces of this genre in which Vallotton excelled.
Works by Giovanni Giacometti, Gottardo Segantini, Varlin and Augusto Giacometti are also featured in the 2 July auction. According to Cyril Koller, Swiss Art specialist and CEO of Koller Auctions, 'A quite fine collection of Swiss Art could be assembled from the paintings to be auctioned in this sale.' Among the important 19th-century works on offer is 'Knitting girl by a window' by Albert Anker (lot 3012, CHF 800 000/1 200 000), a charming example of the artist's genius for capturing a simple moment from everyday life as a symbol of perfect balance and harmony in human existence.
PostWar & Contemporary - Prints & Multiples
Auction 1 July 2021
A monumental wall relief sculpture by Frank Stella is featured in the 1 July auction of PostWar & Contemporary Art. Part of the artist's 'Cones and Pillars' series from the mid-1980s, with this work Stella explores the relationship between painting and sculpture (lot 3468, CHF 300 000/500 000). In 'Aeri', 1984, Alighiero Boetti creates his own cosmos, a seemingly chaotic jumble of aircraft against a background minutely rendered in ballpoint pen (lot 3452, CHF 200 000/300 000). Belgian contemporary artist Jan Fabre is known for his unhabitual works, but 'Adsum qui feci' (lot 3486, CHF 100 000/150 000) is truly out of the ordinary: thousands of iridescent beetle shells compose a modern 'vanitas' image representing the transience of earthly existence.
Among the Prints & Multiples on offer are a 'Vénus d'Alexandrie' from Yves Klein's famous 'Vénus bleue' series (lot 3676, CHF 60 000/80 000), several works by Andy Warhol including 'Rebel without a cause (James Dean)', a colour screenprint based on a Japanese movie poster (lot 3680, CHF 60 000/80 000), and a portrait lithograph of Pablo Picasso's companion Françoise Gilot from 1946 (lot 3611, CHF 50 000/70 000).