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More Masters out of Italy: At the end of November, the Dorotheum will hold its 4th Auction Week of this Year – with a particular focus on Contemporary and Modern Art.
Giorgio de Chirico
Parure with garnets and demipearls
As far as old master paintings are concerned, they have always ruled the roost. Now, during the upcoming auction week at the Vienna Dorotheum, to be held from the 24th to the 28th of November 2008, Italian artists are set to exert an even wider influence. After all, it would not be the first time that Italian art translates into top auction results, even record-breaking sales at the Dorotheum.
For the contemporary art auction on 26th November 2008, one of the most likely candidates for a new record may be the "Great Cardinal, seated" by Giacomo Manzù a unique, 63 cm tall sculpture of gilt bronze dating to 1963/64 (valuation € 120.000 – 160.000). Between 1949 and 1950, Manzù created the first large-scale Cardinal bronze, followed by a succession of sitting, standing, small, large, and even larger-than-life sized figures. "…In Manzù's hands, the Cardinals became compact, vigorous bodies, animated by their gentle lines and generous drapery. The body's massiveness is emphasised by the restraint and simplicity of the sculptural means employed." (J. Rewald, Giacomo Manzù, Greenwich, 1966, p 59). Manzù, whose second major theme is the female body, did not start out being particularly religious but according to some sources the diehard communist appears to have experienced a form of revelation thanks to Pope John XXIII. As the 'numero uno' among modern Italian sculptors would have celebrated his 100th anniversary this December, the Dorotheum will also hold a small exhibition on Manzù's work.
A famous „Concetto spaziale“, one of Lucio Fontana's pierced canvases, promises to become another one of the auction's highlights. This spirited nineteen-sixties attempt to overcome the limitations of the panel painting has been valued at between € 220.000 and 300.000. Moving in the same circles, Piero Dorazio contributes his 1963 oil painting „Momento continuo“ to the Dorotheum's selection (€ 90.000 – 120.000). Mario Schifano claims nothing less than knowing the secret of eternal youth (Segreto di eterna giovinezza, 1988, € 60.000 – 90.000). Rounding off this strong showing of Italian art is one of the distinctive „Piazza d’Italia“ paintings by the originator of mysterious and chilly „pittura metafisica“ painting, Giorgio de Chirico, (€ 170.000 – 250.000, shown on the right.).
Outstanding works by contemporary Austrian artists include an early three-legged table by Franz West (€ 40.000 – 60.000), and a geometrical work by the creator of the guidance system at the last documenta exhibition, Gerwald Rockenschaub (€ 20.000 – 30.000). A different kind of table object „Rucksackpeter grüßt Pferdeschwanzpeter“ (Backpackpeter greets Ponytailpeter) by the universalist artist MartinKippenberger (€ 16.000 – 22.000) and a giant chair designed by Richard Artschwager (€ 16.000 – 20.000) appear to probe the boundaries between art and design. Other highly persuasive examples of contemporary art to be presented at this auction will include a photograph by Cindy Sherman that recreates the setting of an old master painting (€ 220.000 – 270.000), an 2,8 meter tall monkey tree by Jörg Immendorff, not previously available at auction (€ 120.000 – 180.000), as well as an untitled work by the star painter Sigmar Polke (€ 140.000 – 150.000).
A drawing by Gustav Klimt, his Woman with head inclined and eyes closed of circa 1913 („Frau mit zurück geneigtem Kopf und geschlossenen Augen", € 30.000 – 40.000) will be on offer at the auction of modern art on 25th November 2008, in the excellent company of a Spring in oils by Koloman Moser („Frühling“, € 90.000 – 130.000). Rather unusually, the latter does not show some flower girl but a dynamic young man instead. A catalogue essay of 1920 claims that: "The œuvre of Koloman Moser is informed by a type of edification that is specifically Austrian"; and, according to the Moser biographer Maria Rennhofer, "The modernism that Koloman Moser and his comrades-in-arms seem to have developed so unexpectedly from the epigonic thought of Historism, has lost nothing of its effectiveness or attraction". International modern art is, among other works, represented by a flower painting by Alexej von Jawlensky.
Design is everywhere
For the second time running, the Dorotheum design auction will take place as an integral part of a major auction week, on 27th November 2008. Contemporary design will bring a striking, giant champagne bucket designed by the star architect Jean Nouvel for the Milan firm Sawaya & Moroni. Prototypes and rare early works by Ron Arad are enjoying a growing popularity; his clever „Armadillo-Light“ from the early days of the one off studio, a floor lamp wrapped in what looks like metallic lizard skin has been valued at between € 38.000 and 45.000. Another floor lamp by Diego Giacometti, his „Feuille“ dating to 1930, will likewise come up for auction (€ 65.000 – 75.000).
Arriving via a Dutch private collection, a sideboard designed in 1918 by Gerrit Rietveld and produced around 1968 by G. van de Groenekan looks back on a chequered history: the first one was destroyed in a fire and it was only later that van de Groenekan produced a very limited number of these correspondingly rare items (€ 50.000 - 70.000, shown on the left). Jaques Adnet's writing desk of 1932, on the other hand, can look back on an unusually prominent previous owner, the fashion-guru and mastermind at Chanel, Karl Lagerfeld (€ 35.000 – 50.000).
The best way to get into the swing of things would no doubt be the Swing settee designed in 2004/2008 by Luca Sacchetti and equipped with faux fur, Luminex fabric with optical fibres, and LED modules, to name just a few of its components (€12.000 – 15.000) – though Maria Pergay's Wave bench of 1970 might present a viable alternative (€ 8.000 – 10.000).
Any admitted (or secret) fan of the Flintstones is going to let out a delighted „Yabba-dabba-doo!“ when coming across Michel Feith's aluminium Flintstone Family Bar created in 1982 (€ 10.000 – 15.000). The rare ring set with amber designed and created by the prominent Expressionist Karl Schmidt-Rottluff in Berlin, back in 1912, is a true gem.
Silver: wine and dine with the nobility
Held on the 24th November 2008, the silver auction will no doubt be greeted with resounding "cheers!". Two objects in particular warrant such a reaction: a lidded tankard from Augsburg dating to 1685 and bearing the maker's mark "INSCRIPTION" for Johann Christoph Treffler I. (€ 9.000 – 12.000), and a wine cooler once belonging to the Russian Grand Duchess Olga Nikolajewna, made by the court purveyors Nikols & Plinke, in 1866 (€ 20.000 – 30.000). A 54,5 cm tall ornamental vase of gilt silver by Mayerhofer & Klinkosch offers an excellent example of Viennese silver art (€ 12.000 – 18.000).
Art nouveau: radiant figures
The selection of the art nouveau auction on 26th November 2008, starts with a rare silver vase and a table clock and goes on to include such highlights as a writing desk by Josef Hoffmann. In 1912 it was given as a wedding present to one of Hoffmann's colleagues, the architect Carl Bräuer and his wife Louise (€ 35.000 – 50.000). Another exceedingly well preserved item of furniture is a table by Gustav Siegel, designed in 1901 for the winter exhibition of the Austrian Museum of Art and Industry (today's MAK) and manufactured by Kohn (€ 6.000 – 8.000).
The auction also offers two literally radiant figures: a gilt bronze „danseuse au cothurne“ by Agathon Leonard (€ 25.000 – 30.000), and another by Gustav Gurschner, a figural bronze candlestick designed in 1901 (€ 5.000 – 6.000). A rare Gallé table lamp is equally stylish in its design and execution (€ 18.000 – 20.000), while two pretty fashion ladies, both designed for the Cologne "Werkbundausstellung" in 1913/14 by Annie Offterdinger, are remarkable for the quality of their charm (€ 3.800 – 4.800 and € 4.000 – 5.000).
Jewellery & watches: simply splendid!
Two rings promise to be the real stars of the jewellery auction on 28th November 2008: A white-gold ring set with two Troidia-cut diamonds with a total weight of 1,73 carat and an untreated sapphire of 11,6 carat (€ 30.000 – 50.000) and a white-gold ruby ring also set with two diamonds and a ruby weighing 5,4 carat (€ 18.000 – 28.000). Even so, someone might prefer a white-gold necklace set with a total of 41,86 carat in brilliants (€ 55.000 – 75.000).
More historical in character, a gold parure – brooch, ear pendants, and necklace – of the middle of the 19th century is set with garnets and demipearls (€ 5.000 – 8.000). The exclusive watch selection will once again present rare models by Patek Philippe, Lange & Söhne, or Rolex.
24 November: Silver 25 November: Modern Art 26 November: Jugendstil 26 November: Contemporary Art 27 November: Design 28 November: Jewellery, Wrist- and Pocket Watches