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Waldmüller Triumphant: Half a Million Euro for a Hat - Resounding Success for the Auction of 19th Century Paintings
Extremely high appreciation, an auction room crammed to capacity, and top prices for Biedermeier works were the hallmarks of the tremendously successful auction of 19th Century Paintings held on 7th October 2009 at the Vienna Dorotheum.
The auction's title lot, Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller's painting Children decorating a Conscript's hat was the celebrated star of the event. At 490.300 Euro this epitome of Biedermeier painting exceeded even the most optimistic expectations. The painting depicts a very emotional moment and an occasion of great significance to rural families: a conscript is a young man who is about to enter into compulsory military service. His hat is being decorated with flowers and ribbons by his brothers and sisters. A masterpiece of suggestive genre painting, the composition is distinguished by the intricate interplay of light and shadow („Kinder schmücken den Hut eines Konskribierten“, Cat. No. 475).
Bidders also demonstrated their enthusiastic interest in the auction's Gauermann paintings, some of the coming from a first rate German collection. Friedrich Gauermann's poetic and idealised Harvest in the Foothills of the Alps dating to 1835 and characterised by its harmonious composition reached an excellent 237.300 Euro („Ernteszene im Voralpenland“ Cat. No. 480) and his The End of the Hunt 225.800 Euro („Die beendete Jagd“, Cat. No. 393).
Additional international top results included Eugen von Blaas’ painting of a flirting couple bearing the mysterious title The Spider and the Fly (€ 179.800, Cat. No. 370), and yet another Waldmüller painting of a girl in a mountain landscape which tripled its expected sales price at 104.000 Euro („Mädchen Antonia Seemann vor einer Berglandschaft“, Cat. No. 390).
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