25 YEARS OF SWISS ART SALES
Zurich – Over the past 25 years, Christie’s has held 36 dedicated Swiss Art sales, a category which offers our clients around the globe a glimpse into the alpine world of Switzerland. Today, important works by one of Switzerland’s most renowned artists, Ferdinand Hodler (1853-1918), such as Der Traum des Hirten or Der Holzfäller, are part of the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum in New York, and the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, respectively. Both paintings were bought at Christie’s Zurich in the past 10 years and are part of the 6,200 Swiss works of art which have been offered at Christie’s Zurich over the past 25 years.
Over the past decades, a significant development in Swiss artist gallery shows and museum retrospectives has taken place around the globe, including Félix Vallotton at the Grand Palais in Paris, Fischli /Weiss at the Salomon Guggenheim Museum in New York or Ferdinand Hodler at the Neue Galerie, also in New York. This has ignited the interest of international collectors and strong examples of Swiss art can be found from The Pushkin Museum in Moscow to a private collection in Dallas, Texas.
The auction on 30 May will offer 96 lots covering the art of all three regions of Switzerland. From the French speaking part of Switzerland the sale will offer Coucher de soleil à Grâce, ciel orangé et vert, painted by Felix Vallotton (1865-1925) in 1918, at the height of his artistic career. The painting carries an estimate of CHF1.0-1.5 million. In 1918, Félix Vallotton captured several sunsets on canvas while he was in Grâce in the south of France. In the present painting Vallotton paid particular attention to the scenery around the setting sun. The concave stretch of meadow with its railings and the tree both frame the work and highlight the sun that is about to disappear beneath the horizon. The painting’s force of expression is achieved through its powerful use of colour and its strongly defined pictorial areas.
From the Italian part of Switzerland emanates Il pittore (Alberto Giacometti) painted by Giovanni Giacometti (1868-1933, illustrated right of page one) in 1921. This painting depicts Giovanni Giacometti’s eldest son, Alberto, at the age of 20, standing in the countryside near Stampa.
Suffering from a severe case of mumps, Alberto stopped attending school in Schiers at the age of 17 and concentrated solely upon his career as an artist. Giovanni was both his teacher and his mentor. Although painted in fresh colours, this seemingly very official portrayal of Alberto as a painter, dressed in his Sunday suit holding the instruments of a painter – brush and palette - can be understood as a sign of his father’s great appreciation of Alberto’s skills as an artist (estimate: CHF 380,000-500,000).
The German speaking part of the country provides several works of art by Cuno Amiet (1868-1961). Amiet’s work, shaped not only by his life in Oschwand but also the changing seasons, perfectly captures the advent of spring, the mood of mid-summer and depicted in H
erbstlandschaft (1952) the arrival of autumn. The artist’s use of intense green, red and yellow tones in Herbstlandschaft creates an autumnal atmosphere that is underscored by the wind moving through the trees (estimate CHF100,000-150,000).
Another work by the artist, as well as paintings by Wilfrid Moser and Gottfried Honegger, comes from the collection of Guy and Marie-Hélène Weill. Both Swiss born, Guy and Marie-Hélène emigrated to the United States independently in the late 1930s, where they met and married in 1942. The Weill’s had a lifelong affinity for fine art. Their unwavering belief in the importance of art transcended history and geographies, from Abstract Expressionism, to Chinese paintings and Southeast Asian sculptures, mixed with Swiss Art.
This year’s 100th DADA anniversary is also honoured at Christie’s by offering a stunning sculpture made by Hans Arp (1886-1966), one of the co-founders of the movement. Dackelpuppe, a white marble sculpture made in 1965 (estimate CHF 150,000-200,000). Upon Arp’s death several cut-outs were discovered in the artist’s studio which can be divided into two groups: cut-outs that had a particular function in the work process, used as collages or templates for Arp’s graphic prints; or those which were part of the artist’s ‘doll’ cut-outs. Arp translated these ‘doll’ cut-outs into different materials such as marble, wood or even aluminium. All doll sculptures have an emphasis on the vertical axis, well defined by wavy lines and parts of the body, such as the head, and/or only the upper or lower body. Although Arp is considered to be an abstract artist, his basic type of doll sculptures show the schematic proportions of the human figure.
Auction: Monday 30 May at 6pm
Thursday, 26 May 12.00-6.00pm
Friday 27-Sunday 29 May 10.00am to 6.00pm both at the Grosser Vortragssaal, Kunsthaus Zurich
Preview in Geneva:
Friday 13 May to Sunday 15 May from 10.00am to 6.00pm at the Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues
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*Please note when quoting estimates above that other fees will apply in addition to the hammer price - see Section D of the Conditions of Sale at the back of the sale catalogue.
*Estimates do not include buyer’s premium. Sales totals are hammer price plus buyer’s premium and are reported net of applicable fees.