NEW YORK, NY. - Christie’s announces the sale of the highly esteemed Abbott-Guggenheim Collection, comprised of Renaissance and Baroque sculptures, clocks and works of art, on January 27, 2015. Dr. Peter Guggenheim (1927-2012) began a lifetime of collecting when he acquired a cuckoo clock as a gift from his grandfather, Daniel, at the age of six years old. Peter continued the Guggenheim family’s great legacy of collecting in the traditional Kunstkammer manner and for more than 60 years, together with Dr. John Abbott (b. 1925), they cultivated a renowned collection and generously loaned works to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Frick Collection, the Smithsonian, the Louvre, and the Royal Academy, among others. Spread over three centuries, the artists included in this collection are among the best of their generations. With approximately 120 lots, the sale is expected to exceed $11 million.
“Christie’s is honored to have been entrusted by Dr. John Abbott with the sale of this prestigious collection. The extraordinary provenances of many pieces are equally as impressive as their makers, with links to the collections of J.P. Morgan, Robert von Hirsch, William Randolph Hearst, as well as Queen Marie and Prince Nicholas of Romania and the Berwinds. The sale will celebrate John Abbott and Peter Guggenheim as true connoisseurs of their field, with their names now added to the illustrious provenance of these exquisite works. In the ‘New World’ of New York, where collections come and go with bewildering speed, The Abbott-Guggenheim Collection has remained a remarkable constant,” remarked Will Russell, VP, Senior Specialist of European Sculpture and Furniture.
Both leaders in the field of Psychiatry, Drs. John Abbott and Peter Guggenheim were true connoisseurs and assembled their collection in the old-world tradition, without using advisors and by relying on their instincts. The Abbott-Guggenheim Collection has been displayed for decades at their horse farm in New York’s Hudson River Valley and includes such luminaries as Severo, Tetrode, Prieur, Tacca, Maderno, Fanelli and Houdon. Celebrated clock makers Schmidt the Younger, Miller and Kreitmeir are also included.
A BRONZE ECORCHE OF A MAN By WILLEM DANIELSZ. VAN TETRODE (circa 1525-1580) The model Roman or Florentine, late 1560’s 19 in. high Estimate: $1,500,000-2,500,000 One of the most spectacular examples of Northern Mannerism – dramatic, elegant, courtly, but brutal.
A BRONZE FIGURE OF HERCULES POMARIUS By WILLEM DANIELSZ. VAN TETRODE (circa 1525-1580) Third quarter 16th century 21 ¼ in. high Estimate: $1,500,000-2,500,000 An icon of the collection, this bronze is considered to be the finest of the 4 examples made; one is in the Robert Smith collection promised to the National Gallery; one is in the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam and another is in a private collection.
A BRONZE FIGURE OF NEPTUNE (FORMERLY A TABLE FOUNTAIN) ATTRIBUTED TO BENEDIKT WURZELBAUER (1548-1620) Nuremburg, circa 1600 26 in. high Estimate: $250,000-400,000 Built as a table fountain – wine would have flowed out of both the urn on Neptune’s shoulder and the dolphin’s mouth at his feet. An impressive size, this piece would have been commissioned for a princely Kunstkammer, as bronze casting on this scale in late 16th century Germany was both incredibly expensive and difficult.
A BRONZE OIL LAMP CIRCLE OF CORNELIS FLORIS (1514-1575) circa 1570 8 7/8 in. high Estimate: $200,000 – 300,000 This oil lamp is an extremely rare and courageous example of political and artistic expression of the Dutch anti-Papist sentiments. It was made at the height of anti-Hapsburg feelings just at the outbreak of the Eighty Years War – as the Protestant Netherlands was fighting for their freedom from the Catholic Spaniards under Philip II. The crushing brutalities of the Spanish attempts to control the Dutch rebellion are well-known. Mocking a Bishop, turning him into a humorous, but also a monstrous beast, would have been reason enough for the Spanish Inquisition to descend.
A GERMAN GILT-METAL ASTRONOMICAL AND QUARTER-STRIKING ASTROLABIC CLOCK By DAVID BUSHMANN, Augsburg, 1625 23 ½ in. high Estimate: $200,000-300,000 A Baroque tour-de force. Its spectacular size and architectural complexity clearly identify it as a masterpiece clock.
A GERMAN GILT AND PAINTED-METAL AND EBONY STRIKING AND AUTOMATON BACCHUS CLOCK By CHRISTOPH OR KONRAD KREITZER, Augsburg, first quarter 17th century 12 in. high Estimate: $120,000-180,000 A typical Germanic blend of humor and technology. This clock, like many of the clocks in the collection, illustrates the collaboration between sculpture and clocks. Peter Guggenheim was first a clock collector – and then starting collecting sculptural clocks, and then eventually just sculpture.
A GERMAN GILT-METAL AND SILVER-MOUNTED STRIKING AND AUTOMATON CLOCK By PAZZIO, dated 1689 7 ½ in. high Estimate: $25,000 – 40,000 This clock was made for Jan III Sobieski (1629-1696) King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania.