PROPERTY FROM THE ABBOTT-GUGGENHEIM COLLECTION (LOTS 225-277)
As a six-year old in Berlin, Peter Guggenheim acquired his first clock, a gift from his grandfather, Daniel Guggenheim. Seventy-eight years later he was still collecting. And for much of that time he was joined by John Abbott. The Abbott Guggenheim Collection of Renaissance and Baroque sculpture and clocks is the result of their more than sixty years together – a rare sort of constancy in New York, where collections come and go with bewildering speed. But, then, this is no ordinary assemblage of objects.
A collection of staggering depth and quality, it is very much a New World continuation of the great Kunstkammers of Central Europe. Art and science, in these collections, were inextricably linked, and we see this in the Abbott Guggenheim Collection’s robust mix of clocks, sculpture and scientific instruments. Indeed, one focus led to the other, as the clocks a younger Guggenheim spent his time repairing and buying, became ever more sculptural. Soon he was pursuing a series of magnificent and beguiling automatons and, ultimately, pure sculpture itself.
The Abbott Guggenheim Collection was entirely a private collection. The Collection, however, has hardly been out of the public eye as many of the clocks were exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1972 and the bronzes were the subject of an important, and in many ways, ground-breaking, exhibition at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco in 1988. And there have been many other generous loans to such august institutions as the Frick Collection, the Smithsonian, the Bayerisches Museum, the Louvre and the Royal Academy.
This present group follows on the tremendously exciting sale of the Abbott Guggenheim Collection held here in New York this past January. Christie’s is honored to present the second part of the Abbott Guggenheim Collection.
William B. Russell, Jr.
THIRD QUARTER 17TH CENTURY, PROBABLY BY JOHANN OTTO HALLEICHER, AUGSBURG