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Global Art Marketplace Dorotheum - Successful semi-annual balance 2008 for art auctions


Girolamo Macchietti detto del Crocefissaio

Giovanni Boldini

Settee by Franz West

Ornamental bowl by Pawel Owtschinnikow

Sao Paolo and Moscow, Monaco and Korea are just some of the far-flung places where the Dorotheum has been establishing new contacts with prospective buyers. In recent years the core strategic direction of this major auction house has been increasingly directed at the international art market but never before has the Dorotheum's global reach and presence been as much in evidence as during the first two quarters of 2008. At the same time, the increasingly international character of the Dorotheum's services goes hand in hand with the continued optimal support for its regular clientele in Austria. The auction house's involvement in China and Russia is, among other things, facilitated by the introduction of a Russian- and Chinese language version of its homepage and was impressively demonstrated by its successful participation in the renowned „Moscow World Fine Art Fair“ in May in line with the international course set by the management.

The first two auction weeks of April and May 2008, the first year following the Dorotheum's tercentenary, were marked by excellent sales results. Now focusing on historical art respectively on contemporary/modern art including design, this new division of content found a favourable response among buyers and sellers alike.

At the Old Masters auction about 15 telephone bidders and numerous bidders in the auction hall shared in the considerable excitement raised by the sale of Girolamo Macchietti's, detto del Crocefissaio, „Virgin and Child with the infant St John, in a landscape“ which turned into the sensation of the event. Following heated bidding, the painting was finally knocked down to a telephone bidder from Great Britain for 398.300 Euro, ten times the original estimate.

Among 19th century paintings, the top figure of 400.000 Euro was claimed by Giovanni Boldini and his bold portrait of the eccentric actress Alice Regnault.

German artists proved particularly sought-after in the contemporary art category: Günther Uecker's „Weiße Spirale“ (White Spiral) rose to 156.800 Euro while Imi Knoebel's Untitled was able to double its valuation at 85.700 Euro. Every single one of Jörg Immendorff's works was fiercely bid for, in particular the bronze figure of a Winner, which sold for 126.800 Euro

At 168.300 Euro, pride of place at the modern art auction in May went to the luminous „Le voilier“ (1910) by the Ukrainian-born painter Wladimir Baranoff-Rossiné (b. 1888), one of the star painters of the French avant-garde. Egon Schiele's seated male nude of 1913 reached 133.800 Euro, while Alfons Walde's Farmhouse and Carl Moll's Italian piazza scene were sold for far more than their estimates, at 145.300 and 101.500 Euro respectively.

Remarkably, the best results at the design auction were achieved by prototypes of early design. Designed by Adolf Loos, famously opposed to ornament, a 1905 tea table with six legs nevertheless shows distinct decorative traits; it was sold for 39.300 Euro. A sideboard likewise designed by Loos, in 1902, was knocked down to a German bidder for 36.900 Euro.                                                                                                                                     

Occupying a position somewhere between design and art, a settee by Franz West in a version of 1992 and with upholstery by  Gilbert Bretterbauer, finished at 36.900 Euro.                                                    

The highlight of the silver auction was a monumental ornamental bowl, a Russian „Ladija“. Made of silver and crystal glass, this 1917 piece by Pawel Owtschinnikow purveyor to the imperial court, took top billing and sold for the sensational sum of 248.800 Euro.

Art nouveau star Demetre Chiparus, born in 1886 in Rumania, provided one of his highly aesthetic and elegant sculptures, „Antinea“, which was secured by a Russian bidder for almost 100.000 Euro.

Accompanied by extraordinary media interest, the auction of the estate of the famous opera diva Elisabeth Schwarzkopf on 13. March 2008 brought in  160.640 Euro, the evenly divided proceeds went to the "SOS Kinderdorf" and St. Anna Child Cancer Research.


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