HAMBURG—Prices climbed higher than expected at the German auctioneer Ketterer Kunst’s first spring auction of Old Masters, 19th- century art and marine art on March 31. The sale brought in more than €500,000 ($650,000).
A New York collector paid €25,000 ($32,500) for a pair of paintings from the “Circle of Bernhard Strigel” (circa 1460/1-1528), an important painter of portraits of the nobility and religious motifs from the south of Germany. The purchase price (including the 20 percent premium), against an estimate of €8,000/10,000, was surprisingly high, suggesting that buyers believe the pictures are directly attributable to Strigel, whose work rarely appears at auction.
According to the catalogue, the pair of paintings showing the Ecce Homo and the Mater Dolorosa (small panels in tempera on wood, gilt frame and background, 8.4-by-7.2 inches) were not by Strigel but by a master of his circle.
These lots were not alone in surpassing their estimates. An unusual Italian pen-and-ink drawing, estimated to fetch €4,000/5,000 ($5,200/6,500), rose to €25,000 ($32,500). Executed in Indian ink circa 1450 in Italy, the recto depicts a band of musicians playing to sitting listeners; all the figures are nude. The verso shows the flagellation of Christ and may be related to the later (1512) flagellation by Luca Signorelli. The work was acquired by a London dealer.
Strong results were achieved for a series of six engravings by Lucas von Leyden (1494-1533), depicting the story of Adam and Eve. The work surpassed the estimate of €1,800/2,200 ($2,360/2,860) when it fell for €7,000 ($9,100) to a buyer from Poland. Most of the other top lots found buyers for amounts ranging from €4,000/7,000 ($5,200/9,100).
19th-Century Art Clobbers Estimates
The 19th-century art section elicited lively bidding. A private collector from London acquired a strangely formatted work (10.9 inches high by 59.4 inches wide), View of the Gulf of Naples and Vesuvius, ca. 1840-50, by an unknown artist. Painted most probably in Naples circa 1840/50 and estimated at x8,000, it captured the imagination of the collector and rose from its low estimate of x8,000 to x22,000 ($28,600).
Other notable lots in the Ketterer Kunst sale fetched approximately x10,000 ($13,000), exceeding expectations.
Oswald Achenbach’s Mondnacht auf Ischia (Ischia by Moonlight), 1888, was bought by a phone bidder from Italy for x22,000 ($28,600). And a watercolor by Franz Alt, Venezianischer Platz (A Venetian Square), fell to an Austrian collector for x16,000 ($20,800).
Ketterer Kunst is also known for its specialized sales of marine art; the higher lots in this sale fetched prices around x5,000 ($6,500). Among them: William Howard Yorke’s Bark “Olive” aus Hamburg, 1888, which was acquired for x7,000 by a buyer from northern Germany.