S otheby’s Switzerland is delighted to present The Swiss Fine Art Sale, a cross-category auction extending beyond borders to include international Modern and Contemporary art alongside renowned Swiss artists. The sale will feature major works from Alice Bailly, Ernest Biéler, Francesco Clemente, Ferdinand Hodler, Jeff Koons, Kim Tschang-Yeul and Félix Vallotton among others and will be open for bidding from 7 to 14 December 2021.
The Alpine World of Giovanni Giacometti
We are proud to offer a masterpiece by artist Giovanni Giacometti titled Vista su Maloggia con l'albergo Palace. Commissioned in October 1899 to decorate the Maloja Palace, the painting was brought to Paris for the 1900 Exposition Universelle and stands as a genuine tribute to Switzerland. This major landscape remained in the Engadine region for over a century and epitomizes the height of Alpine painting at the end of the XIXth century, while announcing the turning point towards the artistic interests of the early XXth century.
The sale will also feature La luxure, a monumental painting by Félix Vallotton depicting the iconic theme of lust. Strongly influenced by his master Ingres and his Grande Odalisque, Vallotton nevertheless proposed a very personal and contemporary version of the nude, with an eroticism residing in the arabesque of the pose and the richness of the fabrics. Totally preserved for more than five decades, this work appears for the first time at auction.
The exquisite portrait of Mme Loup by Ferdinand Hodler is another highlight of the sale. The sitter, known as a dancer having worked in Geneva cabarets, is portrayed with a symphony of colours and intense, yet finely modeled features. This work will be surrounded by other sublime female portraits from Cuno Amiet.
Modern Female Figures
Leading the sale are artworks by famous European artists such as Pablo Picasso, Marie Laurencin, Ludwig Kircher and Alice Bailly, who played a leading role in the early twentieth century avant-garde.
The Nu aux cheveux rouges painted by Alice Bailly stands out as one of the highlights of this section. This major work reveals both cubist and expressionist influences, whether through its vivid colours or the geometrization of the overall composition. The background is reduced to an imbrication of shapes and colours, thus creating an osmosis with the subject.
Female figures are also portrayed in Trois jeunes filles by Marie Laurencin, Annette dans l’atelier by Alberto Giacometti and Pablo Picasso’s black and white vase from 1952. Based on simplified forms and a refined palette, this work conveys a strong presence by focusing on the expressive possibilities offered by limpid brushstrokes.
International Contemporary Scene
The sale brings together works by leading international artists, such as Sigmar Polke, Kim Tschang-Yeul, Jeff Koons, Katherine Bernhardt or Carroll Dunham.
The highlight of this section is an oil on canvas by Korean artist Kim Tschang-Yeul, dated 1973. Reminiscent of his most iconic painting series started in Paris in the early 1970s, the repeated motif of the water drops served as a mental escape from past traumas. Fusing Eastern painting techniques with an Eastern view of nature, the crystalline drops create a new poetic world of purity and transparency.
Another top lot of this sale is Jeff Koons' Rabbit necklace, which directly refers to its homologue from 1986 recognized as one of the most significant sculpture sold on the contemporary art market. Constantly questioning the relationship between art and consumer culture, Koons transformed a popular rabbit figurine into a highly valuable artwork. With this necklace, he restores the object's original status as standard consumer good.