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Record prices at Dorotheum - 2011: Best Spring Season in the History of the Auction House
Dorotheum, the largest auction house in continental Europe, has reason to celebrate: the 2011 spring season has been the most successful in the auction house's history. Following the superb results, Dorotheum managing director, Martin Böhm, is confident about the rest of the year: "The art market is very strong right now. Our decision to go international was the right one, and we will continue in this direction."
Classical modernism performed particularly strongly in the auction house's best ever auction, both in terms of Austrian and international greats. An early "Wasserburger Landschaft" (Wasserburg Landscape) by Jawlensky sold for €593,800, while the iconic portrait "Abstrakter Kopf:Sinnend Abstract Head: Pensive) went to a European bidder for €398,300. The auction also represented a great moment for Austrian art. Alfons Walde's "Aufstieg" (Ascent), which turned up in Denmark, reached a world record price of €582,300. A work by Rudolf Hausner also broke a world record, selling for €191,300.
In contemporary art, Enrico Castellani’s "Superficie Bianca" or White Surface, a masterpiece of the Italian avant-garde, sold for the high price of €467,300. The high prices bid for Bonalumi and Fontana show that there was also great demand for artwork from the Sixties. Works by Oscar Dominguez, Tancredi, Peter Doig and Konrad Klaphek produced some tremendous results. Austrian art also performed well, especially Hermann Nitsch, whose early red action painting from 1963 reached four times its estimated price with €82,555. Works by Arnulf Rainer, Josef Mikl, Joannis Avramidis, Markus Prachensky and Rudolf Schwarzkogler also reached high prices.
In design, A Hi-Fi system topped the list: the two-meter high set of "Muon" HF loudspeakers, designed by Ross Lovegrove in 2007, were sold for €96,960.
Works from renowned family collections dominated the category of Old Master Paintings. Bidding for Valerio Castello's "Flight into Egypt" reached up to half a million euros. Jusepe de Ribera's depiction of St John the Evangelist, another of the Old Masters to reach a high price, sold for €398,300. Rubens' "Christ Child with Infant St John the Baptist" - from the collection of the aristocratic Genoese Spinola family - sold for €558,030, five times the original estimate.
Also proving popular, as in previous years, were the 19th century paintings: The untitled piece from the international spring auction, "Girl with lilac dress, bouquet, and basket of flowers", by Eugen von Blaas, known as the "painter of Venetian beauties", reached an outstanding price of €280,830. Friedrich Gauermann was the leader in Austrian art with his scenes of Salzburg and Lake Attersee (€306,300 and €278,000 respectively).
The Dorotheum also has reason to be pleased with its best ever Art Nouveau auction. The new-to-market Josef-Hoffmann item, a rare sugar bowl by the Vienna Workshop top designer, was snapped up for a sensational €85,700. Silver items were again as popular as ever. A large goblet from Moscow, with the crest of Prince Gortschakov, reached €104,000. A flower painting by the porcelain painter, Josef Nigg, topped the list for glass and porcelain, reaching €49,100.
The premieres of the new "Selected by" auction format proved a great success. Interior designer Philip Hohenlohe presented items for a special auction in February, as well as for a new category containing tribal art. The collection of tribal art from Africa with items from the "unknown" Leopold collection attracted an international clientele, who were prepared to pay top-notch prices for the pieces of art.
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