From Anker to Zao Wou-Ki
Online Auction: 8–15 December 2020 • 2:00 PM CET • Zurich

From Anker to Zao Wou-Ki 8–15 December 2020 • 2:00 PM CET • Zurich

S otheby’s Switzerland is delighted to present “From Anker to Zao Wou-Ki”, a cross-category sale reflecting the deep and continuous dialogue between artists, works and collectors.

Going beyond Swiss Art to include Contemporary works, Impressionist & Modern Art, Photographs and Design, the sale will feature major works from Albert Anker, Alberto Giacometti, Jean Tinguely and Niki de Saint Phalle which are presented in connection with international figures such as Zao Wou-Ki, Serge Poliakoff, Simon Hantaï and Jean Dubuffet.

The sale will be open for bidding from 8th-15th December.


From A to Z : From Traditional Swiss Painting to International Modernity

Painted during Albert Anker’s first visit to Italy in 1861, the early portrait of a young Italian girl is based on a real-life model. Details of her local costume and coral necklace are faithfully depicted with the repetition of red providing a unifying element to the composition and are typical of the artist’s œuvre, which almost exclusively depicts Swiss rural communities in interior settings.

The newly discovered Self-portrait in landscape by Hermann Scherer is a stunning and powerful Expressionist work showing the artist in a Swiss mountain landscape.

Diptyque rouge, executed in the late 1950s at the height of Poliakoff’s career is a masterful example of his mature style. The tonal range in his works has often been compared to music, which played a vital part of the artist’s life.

As in so much of Zao Wou-Ki’s œuvre, we can see in this work the fusion of Chinese and Western art traditions. The vigorous black brushwork in the middle and lower of the composition is reminiscent of Chinese calligraphy and India ink painting which Zao studied as a young artist. Although Zao was influenced by the art of Picasso and Matisse and the American Abstract Expressionists, he returned to Chinese traditions at different points throughout his career.

Important Swiss and International Private Collections

Sotheby’s is proud to offer masterpieces from three major Swiss and international private collections, appearing for the first time at auction.

“Property from a Distinguished Swiss Collection” illustrates the collectors’ avant-garde vision and awareness of contemporary artistic experimentation, particularly in the field of kinetic art and also demonstrates the influence which artists such as Jean Tinguely, Niki de Saint Phalle, Max Bill and Joan Mirò had on each other.

The collection includes important and rare works collected with passion over decades by a couple of collectors who nurtured close relationship with the artists.

The second private Swiss Collection includes an outstanding work by Simon Hantaï and illustrates the eclectic and original taste of the couple who built a highly colourful, cross-category collection.

This carefully curated collection features exquisite works by Sam Francis which dialogue works by Sol Lewitt, Jean Dubuffet, Venini glass pieces or the street artist JonOne amongst others.

Already offered in Sotheby’s New York and Paris sales, important works from The Crex Collection will also be offered in Zurich, in particular an iconic and monumental work on paper by Markus Raetz, Tageszeichnung.

Iconic works from Modern Masters

The sale brings together a diverse range of Swiss and international major works by highly sought-after artists such as Vallotton, Giacometti, Lalanne or Poliakoff. The iconic Alberto Giacometti lamp Tête de femme, whose design recalls architectural caryatids, is instantly recognizable as one of Giacometti’s most successful designs. Another highlight is François Xavier Lalanne’s whimsical Tortue.

Vallotton’s Sous-bois, trois grands arbres is an excellent example of the artist’s so-called paysage composé, depicting probably the Bois de Boulogne in Paris, a recurrent theme at this period. Wishing to free himself from a literal depiction of nature, Vallotton created meticulously designed compositions, a mixture of memory and imagination, which he completed when back in his studio.

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