The Winter Sale at Geneva s Hôtel des Ventes
will take place on Monday 12th until Thursday 15th December 2011 with a global estimate of 2,000,000 Swiss francs. This years December auction promises an array of surprises for collectors and connoisseurs starting on Monday evening with the Russian sale. This session boasts a prestigious collection of over 300 photographs, often signed, of the Imperial family from the Ferdinand Thormeyer collection with a total estimate of around 30,000 Swiss francs and a rare gold bracelet by Fabergé (est. 50,000-80,000 Swiss francs). The highlight of the paintings sale will be an important portrait by Swiss painter Ernest Biéler (1863-1948) in 1911. This work has never before appeared on the market, having remained with the same family since its creation (est. 80,000-120,000). Another star lot featured in this Winter sale is one of Michael Jacksons trademark Fedora hats. With a modest estimate of only 2,000-3,000 Swiss francs, it will no doubt attract the insatiable fans of the King of Pop. The more traditional auctions of furniture, Art Nouveau, Art Deco, Silverware and Asia Art will continue throughout the week with the most eccentric object being without doubt a solid silver chess table estimated at 30,000-50,000 Swiss francs. In addition, roughly 100 lots of luxury brand handbags and accessories will go under the hammer as well as a Louis Vuitton Stokowski desk trunk which is expected to make over 15,000 Swiss francs. The sale of 600 items of Jewellery and Watches on Thursday will end the weeks sales with a sparkle. With a variety of very beautiful pieces ranging from 500 to 50,000 Swiss francs, the great names of Cartier, Hermès, Patek Philippe, Rolex, Van Cleef & Arpels and Vacheron Constantin will be once again for the taking. Ever determined to make auctions accessible to all, Hôtel des Ventes will offer over 700 lots at less than 500 Swiss francs.
With a catalogue raisonné in progress, a recent exhibition in Bern and position on the art market on the ascent, Swiss artist Ernest Biéler (1863-1948) is currently benefitting from a formidable revival in interest.
Born in Rolle in 1863, Ernest Biéler grew up in Lausanne and moved on to Paris to study. In 1892, he returned to Switzerland and settled for a time in Geneva before departing again to Paris and Savièse for visits that lasted years. The metropolitan life of the capital and the country living of the Valais afforded him a richness in creativity inspiring him towards a realist style as well as evoking an interest in Symbolism and Art Nouveau.
The portrait to go under the hammer at Geneva s Hôtel des Ventes is that of a young girl in profile (lot 1309). The gentle expression on the face stands out against the leafy backdrop, reflecting the ideals of Art Nouveau through its clean naturalistic quality. Estimated at 80,000- 120,000, this painting from 1911 has never before appeared on the market and benefits from an exceptional provenance having remained with the same family since its creation a century ago.
Other notable works within the Swiss Paintings category are an oil by Edmond Jean de Pury (1845-1911) depicting a young grocer with his fruits aboard a gondola (lot 1326, est. 10,000-15,000 Swiss francs) and a Mountain Landscape by Alexandre Calame (1810-1864) (lot 1313, est. 3,000-5,000 Swiss francs). François Bocion (1828-1890) was known throughout his career for his views of Lake Léman , depicting every atmospheric and colour metamorphosis. His Sunset on Lake Léman is estimated at 3,000-5,000 Swiss francs (lot 1310). Three oils by Frédéric Dufaux (1852-1943) also accompany this ensemble.
Two landscapes by the Impressionist painter Camille Pissarro (1830-1903) entitled Beautiful View and Village will also go under the hammer with respective estimates of 5,000-8,000 and 2,000-3,000 Swiss francs. A project for a poster by Victor Brauner (1903-1966) (lot 1229, est. 5,000-7,000 Swiss francs), two gouaches by Théo Tobiasse (1927) (est. 5,000-7,000 and 4,000-6,000 Swiss francs) and two Joan Mirò (1893-1983) prints (est. 2,000-3,000 and 5,000-7,000 Swiss francs) provide a taster of other artists featuring in the sale, not forgetting a Portrait of Baroness Nadine de Rothschild by Jean Gabriel Domergue (1889-1962) (lot 1237, est. 4,000-6,000 Swiss francs).
In Contemporary Art, an imposing bronze sculpture by Giò Pomodoro (1930-2002) will be presented for sale with an estimate of 10,000-15,000 Swiss francs (lot 1202).
A unique hat model, fruition of a collaboration between the Prince of Milliners and the King of Pop
Jean Barthet is an elevated figure of the 20th century. Nicknamed the Prince of Milliners, this marvellous designer (hat-maker) met Michael Jackson at the end of the 1980s through friend and model, Sophia Loren. This meeting resulted in the singers famous black or white Fedora. The King of Pop collaborated directly with the Prince of the Milliners on the characteristics and form his Fedora should take. Made from rabbit felt, this hat is resistant to the rain, to concerts and to screaming crowds
.Up until the death of the milliner in 2000, Michael Jackson ordered a hundred or so hats per year. With an estimate of 2,000-3,000 Swiss francs, this exceptional item is expected to attract many a fan (lot 1223).
From erotic photographs to the eccentricity of a solid silver chess table
Since Antiquity, eroticism has appeared in art whether it be through discreet symbolism or by unequivocal depictions of desire. With the creation of photography in the 19th century, erotic images made their own realistic contribution. The series of 19th century erotic photographs in Hôtel des Ventes December sale reveals nude ladies in sensual poses (lot 1136, est. 300-500 Swiss francs).
If the 19th century erotic photographs are sure to catch the eye of some, others may be surprised to discover a solid silver chess table amongst the Silverware to be sold on the Tuesday evening. Weighing in at almost 30kg, this item, estimated between 30,000 and 50,000 Swiss francs, is deemed eccentric by its mass material as well as its form (lot 433).
Equally remarkable, a collection of snuff boxes, antique seals and 18th century objets de vertu will go under the hammer on Monday evening.
To the delight of all followers of fashion, Monday evenings sale will also consist of roughly 100 lots of prestigious leather goods featuring handbags from the biggest names such as Chanel, Dior, Hermès and Vuitton. The masterpiece in this category has to be the Stokowski desk-trunk by Louis Vuitton which could sell for over 15,000 Swiss francs.
Antique jewellery and luxury wristwatches at Thursdays auctions
As with all art, jewellery has its own history. Originally as charms warding off secret forces, jewels became a sign of power over the centuries and later, a symbol of seduction. The form and gemstone settings follow an evolution according to artistic tastes and trends. At the end of the 19th century for example, the brooch is in fashion either as a plaque, a bar, a star or a bouquet. Geneva s Hôtel des ventes will auction a beautiful collection of antique jewellery from this period through to the beginning of the 20th century. Featured in this collection are a platinum and diamond brooch (est. 15,000-20,000 Swiss francs), a delicate gold, silver and diamond bow brooch (7,000-10,000 Swiss francs), and gold, diamond and tortoiseshell hair combs.
Reacting against the excessive curves and scrolls of Art Nouveau designs, 1925 jewellery calls for straight lines and bold colours. This moderation in taste can be seen in the Art Deco jewellery to be sold by Hôtel des Ventes. Attesting to this style is an elegant white gold bow brooch set with onyx and diamonds and a drop emerald pendant (est. 5,000-8,000 Swiss francs).
As fashions and tastes evolved, the preferred choice of precious stone amongst the female race has remained the same over many decades, this being of course the diamond. On Thursday 15th December, many a gaze will be drawn to a ring set with a 3.8 carat diamond surrounded by baguette cut diamonds (est. 30,000-50,000 Swiss francs). Other pieces by Bulgari, Cartier, Hermès, Lalaounis, Fred, Patek Philippe, Schepps Seaman, Van Cleef & Arpels and Vacheron Constantin will also feature in this sale.
The Watches department will also grace Thursday evenings auction at Geneva s Hotel des Ventes. Among the ladies watches is the renowned Pasha wristwatch by Cartier (est. 15,000-20,000 Swiss francs). Gentlemen may be seduced by Lange & Söhnes timeless classic, the Lange 1A (est. 8,000-12,000 Swiss francs) or allured by Audemars Piguets sporty Royal Oak Offshore (est. 15,000-20,000 Swiss francs). Other models by Patek Philippe, Rolex, and Vacheron Constantin certainly enrich the enticement of this watch session.
An elegant and rare desk clock is sure to attract a following, made in onyx, turquoises, mother-of-pearl and diamonds and signed by Cartier circa 1920, estimated at 6,000-8,000 Swiss francs. Another rare piece in the sale is a gold and tortoiseshell bird-song automaton set with pearls and an enamel medallion depicting a view of the Mont Blanc from Lake Leman , estimated at 5,000-8,000.
An auction tradition since 1978
Genevas Hôtel des Ventes Grand Winter Sale, December 2011 will assemble almost 2500 lots of silverware, antique and vintage furniture, Art Nouveau, Art deco, carpets, and paintings and drawings from 17th to 20th century.... Among this ensemble is a beautiful Louis XVI console table by the Genevois Jean Jaquet (1754-1839) (lot 1114, est. 5,000-8,000 Swiss francs).