LONDON.- Sothebys London is delighted to announce the single-owner sale on Wednesday 3 December, 2008, of property from the London residence of the renowned Italian industrialist and businessman Luigi Koelliker. A born collector and important patron of the arts, Luigi Koellikers Collection has all the hallmarks of a true connoisseur and is expected to fetch in excess of £2 million. The single-owner sale of works of art will be followed by the sale of a selection of the paintings from Koellikers London residence in the Old Master Paintings Evening Sale in London on 3 December and in New York on 29 & 30 January, 2009.
Luigi Koelliker first started collecting at the age of eight, and since those formative years his collecting direction has shifted and evolved considerably, from stamps to wristwatches to Contemporary Art, and then Old Masters and 18th and 19th century furniture and works of art. Taking inspiration from the style of a Renaissance studiolo, the objects in Koellikers London Collection displays a similar breadth of ambition; drawing inspiration from the objects that are actually depicted in his Old Master paintings, the diverse and intriguing selection of artworks range from bronzes, maiolica and furniture to silver and scientific instruments. Prior to the sale, Sothebys will recreate a 16th Century studiolo - the private study of the connoisseur - in its New Bond Street gallery to capture the setting from which the exceptional works to be offered for sale originate.
Sothebys European Deputy Chairman responsible for Single-Owner Collections, Mario Tavella, comments: It is a true privilege to orchestrate this one-off sale of the works of art from the studiolo of this illuminated collector and patron of the arts. Luigi Koelliker is a renaissance man transplanted into the 21st century whose curiosity in a variety of artistic domains has manifested in a collection of truly exceptional range and quality.
Talking about his passion for collecting and the arts, Luigi Koelliker states: It is fascinating to me to try to understand the line between arte majori and arte minori. It leads you to appreciate works differently, for example artists who painted maiolica also worked on canvas or wood, while scientific instruments, which while not perhaps traditional art objects, are among some of the most beautiful things in the world.
Spearheading the 251 lots of furniture, bronzes and works of art will be a bronze sculpture after Giambologna entitled Nessus and Deianara (est. £60,000-80,000), which dates back to the late 17th/ early 18th century and one of Giambolognas most popular models. Other versions, including one in the Louvre, bear the artists signature.
A late 14th/ early 15th century astrolabe to be offered (est. £100,000-200,000) is one of only 18 instruments to have been attributed to the workshop of Jean Fusoris. Unusual in incorporating the star lanca libre which occurs on only two other instruments, this neatly executed instrument belongs stylistically to a group of late medieval astrolabes which are attributed to the workshop of Fusoris, an innovative and inventive maker of mathematical instruments whose patrons included the King of Aragon, the King of Navarre and even the Pope.
Also featuring is a very fine Italian coral and gilt copper devotional plaque dating to the late 17th century (est. £30,000-£50,000). This example was crafted in Trapani, the leading centre for the production of works of art in coral in the 17th and 18th centuries.
A fine selection of more than 25 Italian silver coffee jugs will also be offered for sale, including one example with its spout cast in the form of a dogs head and a carved acanthus-capped scroll wood handle. This piece is believed to date from the 18th century, possibly from Genova, and is estimated at £8,000-12,000.
Also to be offered is a Castel Durante or Pesaro two-handled jar dating to 1579/80 (est. £8,000-12,000). Inscribed avolone (perhaps for avellena, hazelnut) on a label beneath a yellow ground medallion of Fortuna riding a dolphin against a blue ground, and panelled with emblems and trophies, it features Satry-mask handles.