Dorotheum Sets New Records - Semi-annual report: Dorotheum auctions on course for success

Based on the best auctions in the Modern Art, Contemporary Art, and Silver categories, as well as the second best OId Master auction in Dorotheum history, German-speaking Europe's largest auction house is pleased to look back on a very strong first two quarters of 2013.

Causing a particular stir was the world record sale of a painting by the Austrian Historism Period painter Hans Makart at the auction of 19th Century Paintings. Makart's dramatic, opulent, operatic depiction of the Death of Cleopatra went to a US bidder attending the auction for 757,300 Euro. 

Recent art-historical discoveries stood out at the auction of Old Master Paintings, specifically Jusepe de Ribera's drastically life-like „Mocking of Christ", sold for 711,300 Euro, as well as Giuseppe Maria Crespi's „Portrait of a Lady, Allegory of Abundantia“ (€ 366,300), and Jan Brueghel II „Lively Village landscape with trees“ (€ 317,500). Cornelis van Cleve's „Virgin and Child, with St John and putti“ also set a new world record for the artist's work at 244,300 Euro. 

The most successful Contemporary Art auction to date won over buyers with Ilya Kabakov's large-format „The Toilet“ of 2001, a return to his work during the Soviet underground of the nineteen-eighties (€ 366,300). Italian avant-garde art of the nineteen-sixties experienced significant appreciation, with pride of place going to Enrico Castellani's „Superficie nera“, which sold for several times the expected price at 280,900 Euro. Frank Stella's whale sculpture „Etymology (Q 10)“ from the „Moby Dick Series“ found a new owner for 244,300, while an excellent 215,380 Euro were paid for an early Hundertwasser watercolour. „Mouse III“ by Gottfried Helnwein celebrated the artist's 65th birthday with a new world record price of 110,100 Euro. 

The auction of Modern Art similarly achieved a record turn over with Fernand Léger's „Composition au fond jaune“ and a landscape by Giorgio Morandi reaching 366,300 and 389,300 Euro, respectively. The painters of the Futurist, so-called „Aeropittura“ movement were likewise very well received. In the category of modern Austrian art, paintings by Alfons Walde proved particularly sought-after: The winter painting „Aurach“ was knocked down at 341,900 Euro, his „Alpine Summer“ at 293,100 Euro. Wolfgang Hutter, one of the main proponents of the Vienna School of Fantastic Realism, set a new world record at 238,200 Euro with his painting „The Widow (II)“. 

The exceptional May Art Nouveau auction - marked by the sale of a seven-part toiletry set by Josef Hoffman for 172,860 Euro - was followed by the most successful silver auction to date, characterised by strong international demand, in particular for Russian silver. Selling far above expectations, a Tsar Alexander I samovar from St. Petersburg with a gross weight of 5,3 kg saw bidding climb to 122,300 Euro. A fancy yellow brilliant solitaire ring of 26,95 ct achieved the excellent price of 596,300 Euro. 

The Dorotheum category „Vintage Vehicles and Automobilia“ was also able to bring in its best auction result to date. The top lot, one of only fifty 1952 Siata Turino Gran Sport cars currently in existence, was knocked down at 224,000 Euro. 

The sale of a lock of hair of Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria at the Imperial Court Memorabilia auction for 13,720 Euro, was attended by enormous international media interest. 

International buyers and sellers continued to be a crucial part of Dorotheum's successes in 2013. The auction house is held in high regard internationally, not least owing to its growing network of representations abroad, with the most recent one established in London.