2017 auction results: Schiele and Sisi sales set new records
It’s a joyful look back: Dorotheum’s 2017 auction results set numerous world records, making the year a success for the largest auction house in the German-speaking regions.
Best 2017 auction results
- First of all, the best art auction result reached throughout Austria, namely €2.34 million for a drawing by Egon Schiele that had been in private ownership for almost 90 years.
- The amount of €792,500 represents a world record price realised for Emilio Vedova’s large-format work “Tensione” from 1959 in the contemporary art sale. With a focus on Art Informel and CoBrA, Dorotheum succeeded in setting new trends and strengthening its position on the international market.
- For 19th-century paintings, the best result ever in this department was reached in April, when a historic portrait commissioned from Carl Theodor von Piloty and Franz Adam to mark the engagement of the future Empress Elizabeth of Austria, ‘Elizabeth of Austria as a Bride on Horseback in Possenhofen’, sold for €1.54 million.
- An Early Renaissance masterpiece that was originally part of a wedding chest led the sales charts in April in what was one of the best old master paintings sales in Dorotheum’s history: “The Battle of Pharsalus” by Apollonio di Giovanni reached the spectacular price of €674,000.
- Dorotheum’s classic cars have always played in the upper league, excelling with sell-through rates of almost 100 per cent. At the Classic Expo Salzburg, a 1952 Mercedes Benz 300 S Cabriolet changed hands for €563,000. The spring sale was led by a Horch 853 open-top sports car selling for almost €500,000.
Old masters and classic masters
Old master paintings
Further top prices in this year’s exceptionally strong old master paintings market included a sensational €466,600 for a pair of paintings from the Antwerp School, the portraits of a man and a woman. The ‘Allegories of the Four Seasons’ by Giovanni Paolo Castelli (called Lo Spadino) sold for €436,956, which was far beyond expectations, while a picture of Saint Praxedis by Felice Ficherelli that was once copied by Vermeer brought €350,508.
In the department of modern art, Marino Marini’s equestrian sculpture ‘Piccolo Miracolo’ realised the miraculous amount of €405,600. Czech Cubism had a moment of glory thanks to Emil Filla’s ‘Jeune Fille Pensive’ from 1933 (€442,200). Dorotheum also managed to achieve excellent results for Austrian art. Paintings by Carl Moll (‘Prater Scene’, €247,000), Alfons Walde (‘In Tyrol’, €198,200), and Albin Egger-Lienz (‘Resting Shepherd’, €186,000) went far above their estimates.
Informel and CoBrA
When it comes to contemporary art, such sale highlights as ‘Art Informel’ and works by the CoBrA group were in exceptionally great demand, such as Asger Jorn’s expressive oil painting ‘Brokigt brak – Patchy Quarrel’, which sold for €466,600. ‘Composition’ (1950) by Nicolas de Stael sold for €405,600, ‘Vegetaux’ (1957) by Jean Fautrier for €295,800.
The best prices were reached for works by such artists as Paolo Scheggi, Georg Baselitz, and Heinz Mack (€405,600, €247,000, and €247,000, respectively) – regular Dorotheum favourites. Another top price was realised for Josef Alber’s ‘Study for Homage to the Square: Earthen I’ (1955), which brought €515,400.
An untitled painting by Martin Kippenberger – which can, in the broadest sense, be interpreted as a self-portrait – sold for €430,742, which was well above its estimate. As far as Austrian art was concerned, works by Maria Lassnig and Arnulf Rainer proved particularly successful.
Design and Art Nouveau
In design, the top price was reached by Alberto Giacometti’s ‘Lampadaire à l’Etoile’, which brought €149,400.
In Jugendstil/Art Nouveau, it was artists of the Vienna Workshops that were particularly coveted by collectors, most of all Josef Hoffmann. His silver ‘Creamer’ from 1904/5 was knocked down for an outstanding €149,400.
As for antiques, numerous bids for an early Tibetan picture and a Nepalese bronze figure caused prices to soar to €222,600 and €186,000 euros.
What was probably one of the most interesting historical objects was sold in October. An enthusiast paid €12,500 for a shoe buckle that once belong to musical genius Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and was passed down within a Viennese dynasty of shoemakers.
Big Stones, Big Names
High-carat diamonds, raw gemstones, and precious ornaments by such prestigious brands as Bulgari dominated the jewellery charts – including a pair of 16-ct diamond clip-on ear pendants (€137,200), a 6.24-ct brilliant-cut solitaire (€106,250), a Van Cleef & Arpels diamond and turquoise necklace (€92,500), and the ring ‘Trombino’ by Bulgari featuring a rough sapphire (€75,000). Watches were led by Rolex and Patek Philippe.
This year also marked the highest price ever realised for a book sold at Dorotheum. A saleroom bidder offered €367,237 for the first edition of ‘De humani corporis fabrica libri septem’ (‘On the Build of the Human Body’) by Andreas Vesalius from 1543.
The legendary art dealer Hofstätter
Dorotheum also attracted attention with the step-by-step sale of art and decorative art objects from various epochs from the collection of the legendary Viennese art dealer Reinhold Hofstätter. In 2017, a collection comprising altogether 600 objects from Hofstätter’s Strudlhofstiege domicile and from his antique shops was sold in two parts.
Dorotheum’s successful online sale ‘A Piece of Democratic History. Parliament Furniture’ met with keen interest from the media. By September, almost all of the 350 objects from the Austrian Parliament offered had been sold, following 4,500 bids placed over a period of two weeks.
The most coveted piece of furniture turned out to be the National Assembly’s government bench, designed by the architects Fellere & Wörle in the 1950s, which sold for €22,000.
In 2017, Dorotheum’s online business sector was significantly expanded, with roughly 400 sales. Online sales take place on a daily basis, and bidding is extremely easy! It is exciting to view the comprehensive offering and discover new items, unique objects, and rarities in a wide field of areas. Please take a look at our online catalogues!