Review of the auction year 2012: Koller extends its position as the leading Swiss auction house
Date: 24 Dec 2012 | | Views: 1732
ZURICH - Koller Auctions concludes the auction year of 2012 with a turnover of around CHF 100 million. Consequently this year this family company remains the Swiss auction house with the strongest turnover and one of the largest auction houses in Europe. The auction program for 2013 aims to strengthen the focus on old and modern art. In addition, the Design auctions, formerly held in Geneva, will now be presented in Zurich.
The excellent annual results can be attributed yet again to the large number of international buyers. Over 70% of the objects sold at auction in 2012 went to Europe, the United States, Russia, England or the Near East. In the Asian Art sector, this figure is higher, with 80 % Chinese buyers, whereas Swiss art goes mostly to the Swiss collections.
Several paintings with results in the millions
With a turnover of over CHF 50 million, the paintings department accounted for around half of the year’s sales total. A museum-quality still life of flowers by the Dutch Old Master Roelant Savery from 1612, selling to a Russian buyer, saw the highest auction result in March with a price of CHF 5.4 million, which was a world record for this artist. Consigned from a private collection, the still life reappeared on the market after a long absence. Having long resided in a private collection as the work of an unknown master, and then recognised by the experts at Koller as an early work by the Spanish master Francisco de Goya, the painting “Lot and his daughters” found a new owner in September, selling for many times its estimate with a price of CHF 2.7 million. Koller Auctions was therefore one of the few auction houses in the last ten years to offer a major work by Goya.
In the Modern Art sector in 2012 two paintings by Salvador Dalì and Paul Signac were amongst the top lots. In December Dalì’s “Paysage du Port Lligat avec anges familiers et pêcheurs” sold to a private buyer for CHF 4.4 million, while a smaller early work “Venus y cubidillos” from 1925 sold in June for CHF 2.03 million. Paul Signac recorded a very good result of CHF 1.83 million with a smaller work “Bateaux au mouillage à Locmalo” in June, before the sale at auction of his late work “Les Andelys - Château Gaillard” in December, which went to a private collection for a price of CHF 4.16 million.
In the Swiss Art sales, alongside excellent hammer prices for Giovanni and Augusto Giacometti, Cuno Amiet and Félix Vallotton, of especial note this year were three sales of works by Albert Anker, which crossed the million mark. Since the auction house set the record for Anker with a sale price of 7.3 million in December 2011, two further paintings by Anker were sold in June and in December, both exceeding three million Swiss Francs.
Top specialist knowledge in Asian Art and Antiquities
The involvement of Koller Auctions on an international level, with representatives around the world, has also had a positive effect in the Asian Art sector, with an annual turnover of over CHF 10 million. In May and October, various high quality Tibetan bronze sculptures from Swiss private collections were sold. Amongst the top ten lots was a bronze sculpture of the Buddhist goddess Pancaraksha which sold in October for a world record price of CHF 3.24 million to a telephone bidder.
International collectors of antiques were especially well provided for with the sale of four outstanding complete collections. In March the sale by auction of the Luigi Nessi collection of 900 lots of antique tools, scientific instruments and articles of daily use with a sales quota of almost 90% caused quite a stir. At the same time Koller Auctions offered a collection of 150 objects from the historically significant estate of the Counts zu Münster / Barons of Grothaus, including the sceptre bestowed by King George IV, which symbolised the status of Marshall of the Kingdom of Hanover granted to the family in 1817. In June, the inventory of the Basel gallery “Antiquités Ségal” came to auction, one of the oldest and most renowned antiques businesses in Switzerland. In December Koller Auctions again achieved an outstanding result with the collection of 176 bronzes of the French sculptor Pierre-Jules Mêne.
The auction program 2013
From 2013 there will be some slight changes to the auction program at Koller Auctions. As usual, in March and September there will be auctions of Old Master and 19th Century Paintings, Old Prints, Books, Furniture, Carpets, Porcelain, Silver, Sculpture, as well as Koller West and Jewellery sales. In June and December the focus will be entirely on Modern and Contemporary art. Paintings, Prints, Sculptures, Design and objects from the 20th and 21st centuries will be offered at auction.