Ferdinand Hodler, Montanalandschaft mit Becs de Bosson und Vallon de Réchy, 1915. Oil on canvas, 66 x 80 cm sold for CHF 8,005,000 (est. CHF 3,800,000-4,500,000). Photo: Sotheby's.
ZURICH - On Tuesday night, Sotheby’s Zurich Swiss Art sale was led by an important landscape by the prominent Swiss painter Ferdinand Hodler which soared above estimate to sell for CHF 8,005,000 ($8,423,261/ ˆ6,430,952). The auction - conducted by Stefan Puttaert, the new Head of Sotheby’s Zurich - brought a combined total of CHF 12,564,750 ($13,221,258/ ˆ10,094,105) (est. CHF 10,960,500-13,779,500).
Commenting on the evening’s results, Urs Lanter, Head of Sotheby’s Swiss Art Department said: “Since our first Swiss Art auctions in 1979, Sotheby’s orchestrated the sale of major works by Ferdinand Hodler1. With its great rarity and quality, Montanalandschaft mit Becs de Bosson und Vallon de Réchy counted among the most important landscapes by the internationally acclaimed Swiss Master to appear on the market. We are therefore delighted by the price achieved tonight. In addition, this evening’s solid results further demonstrate the resilience of the Swiss Art market and the continuous demand for exceptional works, which are fresh to the market and come from prestigious collections”.
Bidders both in the room and on the phone vied for this evening’s top lot - Ferdinand Hodler‘s Montanalandschaft mit Becs de Bosson und Vallon de Réchy (Montana Landscape with Becs de Bosson and Vallon de Réchy). Bidding reached CHF 8,005,000 ($8,423,261/ ˆ6,430,952) when the gavel went down to thunderous applause. Painted between August and September 1915, this masterful landscape displays the audacity and lyricism that characterise Hodler’s works at the end of his life and contains all elements of his compositional paradigm. Estimated at CHF 3.8-4.5 million (ˆ3,130,000-3,710,000), it had been acquired directly from the artist by the owner’s family in 1918 and came to the market for the first time tonight. Testament to its importance in Hodler’s oeuvre, this painting was shown in numerous exhibitions around the world, including in Japan and in the United States (lot 34).
Testament to the market’s appetite for works by Albert Anker, a masterful portrait of a girl, Mädchenbildnis doubled the pre-sale low estimates to achieve CHF 845,000 ($889,151/ ˆ678,845) (Lot 12, est. CHF 400,000-600,000/ ˆ330,000-494,000).
Important works by Félix Vallotton also generated a lot of interest tonight. Painted in 1922, at the end of the artist’s career, Le Bouquet realised CHF 557,000 ($586,103/ ˆ447,475). All the genres Vallotton excelled at are masterfully represented in this work: the portrait, depicted with powerful realism; still life, seen in the wonderful bunch of flowers and landscape (in the left corner of the canvas). This work of large format (146 x 114 cm) underlines Vallotton’s masterful sense of composition and great command of colours, while also reflecting his daring and ambitious approach to art (lot 53, est. CHF 500,000 – 700,000/ ˆ412,000 – 580,000).
Vallotton was also represented by Les Javelles (The Sheaves) - a magnificent autumn landscape painted in 1914 – which brought CHF 281,000 ($295,682/ ˆ225,746) (lot 56, CHF 120,000-160,000/ ˆ99,000-132,000). Baigneuse blonde marchant dans l’eau (Blonde Bather Walking in the Water) sold for CHF 100,000 ($105,225/ ˆ80,337). This work dating from 1910 is distinctive of Vallotton’s famous female nudes with their veiled eroticism and starkly realistic style (lot 60, est. CHF 70,000-90,000/ ˆ58,000-74,500).
Cuno Amiet featured strongly in today’s sale, with a wonderful 1910 still life with lemons, Stillleben Mit Zitronen which achieved CHF 449,000 ($472,460/ ˆ360,712) (lot 48, est. CHF 300,000-500,000/ ˆ247,000-412,000) and Aarelandschaft, a stunning landscape from 1925 depicting the river Aare and its surroundings which made CHF 185,000 ($194,666/ ˆ148,623) (Lot 57, est. CHF 150,000-200,000/ ˆ124,000-165,000) .
Giovanni Giacometti’s passion for the study of light and colours appeared in Winterlandschaft Bei Maloja, a superb winter landscape painted in 1927 which sold for CHF 413,000 ($434,579/ ˆ331,791) (lot 30, est. CHF 300,000-500,000/ ˆ247,000-412,000).