Modern & Contemporary Auction
Online Auction: 7–14 June 2022 • 2:00 PM CEST • Zurich

Modern & Contemporary Auction 7–14 June 2022 • 2:00 PM CEST • Zurich

S otheby’s Switzerland is delighted to present the Modern & Contemporary Auction, a cross-category sale in Zurich extending beyond borders to include renowned Swiss artists alongside international Impressionist, Modern, Contemporary art and Photography. The sale will be open for bidding from 7 to 14 June 2022 and the lots will be displayed in our Zurich galleries from 9 to 11 June 2022.

Swiss Masterpieces

We are proud to offer a masterpiece by Ferdinand Hodler titled Winterlandschaft mit Wetterhorn. Belonging to Hodler’s early period, this painting already shows the artist's hallmarks, whether in the selection of colours, in the treatment of the clouds, or in the shape of the rocks. Both its size and accomplished composition testify to the care with which the Swiss painter created it. Appearing for the first time at auction, this work has remained in the same family for over a century and hasn’t been shown to the public since the early 1980s.

The preserved and magnificent nature of Switzerland will also be celebrated in landscapes by Cuno Amiet and Giovanni Giacometti, both depicting their houses, and Gottardo Segantini.

The exquisite portrait of Anker’s daughter Marie doing her homework is another highlight of the sale. Painted on faience, this extremely rare work is characterized by a shimmering surface and explores the theme of education, particularly dear to Albert Anker and increasingly prominent in 19th century painting.

The sale will also feature La Mort du poète, a Symbolist masterpiece by Alexandre Perrier that conceals a very refined composition of bathers at the water’s edge on its reverse. This monumental landscape coming by descent from the artist is part of a trilogy which Perrier worked on for nearly 10 years and is considered a culmination of his creative explorations.

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Works on Paper in the Spotlight

Leading the sale are a wide selection of lithographs, photographs and drawings by famous artists such as Marc Chagall, Sol LeWitt, Sigmar Polke, Balthasar Burkhard, Jasper Johns, Joyce Pensato, Chiaru Shiota, Alberto Giacometti or Oskar Kokoshka.

The work Cavallo by Marino Marini stands out as one of the lots not to be missed of this section. The Italian artist uses a visual language between figuration and abstraction to depict his iconic horse motif, emphasizing the mythical character he attributed to the animal.

Robert Mapplethorpe’s Self-portrait from 1985 is another highlight of the sale. Mainly devoted to the elegance of black-and-white photography, the American photographer uses sharp contrasts of light to explore binary relationships and create compositions reminiscent of classical sculptures. Far from the well-known provocative clichés by the artist, this self-portrait displays a strong presence despite its sobriety.

We are also honoured to present a work on paper by Christo & Jeanne-Claude dated 1977 depicting their project for the Wrapped Reichstag. This drawing recalls the meticulous choreography executed by rock climbers on June 24th 1995 in order to cover the historic building with silver-grey fabric and 15 km of blue ropes.

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International Contemporary Scene

The sale brings together works by leading international artists, such as Julian Opie, A.R. Penck, Max Bill, Sylvie Fleury, Shozo Shimamoto, Damien Hirst, Nicolas Party or Yayoi Kusama.

One of the top lots of this section is a monumental work by Julian Opie titled Walking in London in the rain. Among the artist’s most iconic series, this composition captures the everyday with a vibrant energy. Instantly recognizable, Opie’s outlines of silhouettes are rendered with strong fields of colours and a simple, minimal artistic vocabulary. Nevertheless, each figure is differentiated by a great variety of movements and clothes that make the ordinary exciting and attest to the artist’s attention to detail.

Another top lot of this section is an oil on canvas by Shozo Shimamoto, key founding member of the Japanese avant-garde Gutai group. Created in 2008 during a performance at the Museo Magi ‘900 in Bologna, Magi 914 (Bottle Crash Series) is reminiscent of the “bottle crash” paintings first experimented by the artist during the post-war period. The patterns formed by the shattered jars appear full of vitality and are punctuated by shards of glass that add a sculptural quality to the work.

We are also pleased to offer a selection of works by pop artist Sylvie Fleury. Whether through the Cuddly Painting (Yellow), the gold-plated shopping cart titled Chance or the work Exfoliate made with Swarovski crystals, the Swiss artist questions our consumption habits by combining fashion and art. Her focus on the seductive superficiality of advertising is not only an invitation to play and dream, but also to reconsider the symbols of our contemporary lifestyles.

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