NEW YORK—Christie’s auction of Swiss art in Zurich on Dec. 3 realized SFr 20 million ($17.6 million), down from the SFr 23.8 ($19.7 million) earned in its Zurich sale last March (ANL, 4/17/07, p. 4); both sales saw 140 lots sold.
Hans-Peter Keller, head of Swiss art at Christie’s Zurich, says the latest sale “demonstrated the high demand for Swiss works with an exceptional provenance.”
The Christie’s sale was dominated at the high end by Swiss buyers, including private collectors, institutions and one foundation. The list of top ten lots was headed by Ferdinand Hodler (1853-1918) and included three of his paintings: Thunersee mit Stockhornkette in Winter, 1912-13, fell to a private collector for SFr 3.8 million, or $3.3 million (estimate: SFr 4/6 million). It was followed by Piz Corvatsch, 1907, which brought SFr 3.5 million, or $3 million (estimate: SFr 1.8/2.5 million); and Strasse von St. Georges bei Genf, 1890, which fetched SFr 840,000, or $739,200 (estimate: SFr 600,000/800,000).
A rediscovered painting by Giovanni Giacometti (1868-1933), Die Mutter, 1911, won a record SFr 3.2 million ($2.8 million); and his Capolago sole, 1906-07, took SFr 1.02 million ($897,600) from a buyer described as a Swiss institution.
A record also was set for Fritz Glarner (1899-1972), when Relational Painting Nr. 55, 1951, sold for SFr 720,000 ($633,600), below the low estimate of SFr 800,000.
Wolfgang-Adam Toepffer’s 1816 Fête villageoise fell to a European collector for SFr 540,000, or $475,200 (estimate: SFr 500,000/700,000); and his Foire de village, 1815, made SFr 480,000, or $422,400 (estimate: SFr 400,000/600,000).
Giacometti Spotlighted Earlier at Sotheby’s
Sotheby’s earlier sale of Swiss art, in Zurich on Nov. 27, realized SFr 16 million ($14.6 million) and was 77.5 percent sold by lot, 70 percent by value.
The two highest lots were landscape paintings by Giacometti: Brugnetta/The Solitary Mountain Farm, 1907, was the top lot. Estimated at SFr 2/3 million, it earned SFr 2.3 million ($2.1 million) from a Swiss collector. A later work dated 1932, Winter Landscape at Maloja, sold for SFr 2.1 million ($1.9 million) against an estimate of SFr 1.8/2.5 million.
An auction record was set for Albert Anker (1831-1910) when Portrait of a Girl, 1886, sold for SFr 1.3 million ($1.16 million), far surpassing the SFr 300,000/400,000 estimate.
Works by Ernest Biéler (1863-1948) figured prominently at the top end of the sale. Trois jeunes filles, 1920, made SFr 601,000 ($546,712), a record for a work on paper by the artist (estimate: SFr 300,000/400,000). Le sapeur, 1926, brought SFr 481,000, or $437,500 (estimate: SFr 250,000/350,000). However, the auction’s top lot, Hodler’s 1916 mountain landscape, Die Dents Du Midi, which carried an estimate of SFr 5/7 million, failed to sell.