ARTnewsletter Archive

Swiss Art: Volumes Drop But Star Lots Find Buyers

Christie’s sale of Swiss art in Zurich on June 16 realized SFr 6.8 million ($6.6 million), down from the SFr 20 million ($17.6 million) realized last December (ANL, 12/25/07).

NEW YORK—Christie’s sale of Swiss art in Zurich on June 16 realized SFr 6.8 million ($6.6 million), down from the SFr 20 million ($17.6 million) realized last December (ANL, 12/25/07). As usual, the sale was dominated by Swiss and European buyers. Despite a drop in overall sale volume in comparison with previous sales, Christie’s head of Swiss art Hans-Peter Keller says, “the market for Swiss art remains strong and quality works find their buyers.”

The highest price was the SFr 984,000 ($939,207) given by a European buyer for a 1912 floral still life, Azaleen, by Augusto Giacometti (1877–1947), against an estimate of SFr 400,000/600,000. (The artist was a cousin of Giovanni Giacometti, the father of Alberto.)

A beach scene by Félix Vallotton (1865–1925), Marée basse à Villerville, 1922, was the second-highest lot, taking SFr 900,000, or $875,000 (estimate: SFr 500,000/700,000). Keller said the sale demonstrated that “top works which come fresh to the market are very much sought after,” noting that the Vallotton painting, which nearly doubled its presale estimate, had been in the same family for more than 50 years.

A summer landscape by Giovanni Giacometti, Paesaggio d’estate, 1917, took SFr 264,000 ($256,600) from a Swiss buyer (estimate: SFr 180,000/250,000). A record was set for artist Max Bill (1908–94) when his abstract Op art–style painting rotierende vierfarbige doppelkerne I–IV, 1972, sold for SFr 216,000, or $210,000 (estimate: SFr 180,000/240,000).

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