Anker and Grohe art sets World Record prices in Zurich

The June sales at Koller Auctions set two records at auction, one for any portrait by Swiss artist Albert Anker at CHF 1.57 million ($1,638,090) and another for a piece of furniture by German-French cabinetmaker Guillaume Grohé at CHF 576,000 ($539,164).

An exceptionally large series of works by Albert Anker all sold for above their estimates, capped by the sensational result of CHF 1.57 million ($1,469,600) for a touching oil portrait of a young boy wearing a cap.

The sale was an auction record for any portrait by the artist. Meanwhile, his watercolour, "Rosa Schwab tricotant," realised CHF 192,000 ($179,721).

Albert Anker's Portrait of a young boy

"We're very pleased to see that the Swiss Art market continues to grow," commented Cyril Koller, president of Koller Auctions.

"The record price for a portrait by Anker, following the record of CHF 3.01 million for an oil painting by Anker that Koller set this past December, are clear signs that prices in this area are very strong. In our opinion they will continue to increase, along with the appreciation of Swiss artists."

An early work by Ferdinand Hodler, "Field at Jonction. Evening Atmosphere," sold for CHF 360,000 ($336,978) and Hodler's beautiful "Lake of Thun with the Stockhorn Range" was acquired by a Swiss buyer for CHF 2.32 million ($2,171,630).

Elsewhere, all four works by Giovanni Giacometti offered in this sale found buyers, headed by "Hay Harvest Near Maloja", selling for CHF 710 000 ($664,595).

Giovianni Giacommetti's May harvest near Maloja, 1923

"Larkspur," a 1911 work by Augusto Giacometti situated stylistically on the brink of abstraction also fetched CHF 710 000 ($664,595).

Altogether, the Swiss Art auction at Koller garnered CHF 8.2 million / EUR 6 million against pre-sale estimates of CHF 7 million ($6,552,340).

'A shift in interest among collectors...'

Meanwhile, the long awaited sale of the Emanuel Stickelberger library created a sensation among connoisseurs of antiquarian books and autographs, garnering over CHF 1.8 million ($1,684,890).

Nineteenth-century furniture has been enjoying a market ascension of late, while Koller believes that the success of its Emanuel Stickelberger library sale shows "a shift in interest among the buying public."

Lacquer side cabinet, stamped Grohe A Paris, circa 1855-65

Relegated for decades to a secondary position behind 18th-century furniture, 19th century works have lately begun to be recognised for what they are: masterpieces in cabinetmaking, the quality of which often surpasses that of their 18th-century models.

The best illustration of this phenomenon was the world record price realised for a superb Louis XVI style lacquer side cabinet by Guillaume Grohé.

Sold for CHF 576 000 ($539,164), this is a veritable tour de force in furniture making by one of the most esteemed cabinetmakers of the 19th century, who counted among his clients Queen Victoria and the Emperor Napoleon III.


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