Impressive Auction Highlights from German Collectors

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Sotheby’s German offices have been involved in a large number of exciting consignments that have gone on to be sold at locations around the world. From Old Master Paintings and Jewellery, to Contemporary and Impressionist masterpieces, Germany sources items from every category sold at Sotheby's. Click ahead to discover more about 11 highlights with German provenance.

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Impressive Auction Highlights from German Collectors

  • A Rare and Important Large Gilt-Bronze Figure of Vairocana, Ming Dynasty, 15th Century. Sold for €3,395,000 at Sotheby’s Paris.
    This rare and imposing gilt bronze figure depicts the supreme Buddha Vairocana adorned with a regal crown and earrings befitting his stature as an enlightened being, but wearing the simple robes of a monk denoting humility and compassion. The hands are locked together in a symbolic or mudra that expresses the concept of ultimate reality and wisdom. The face is a study of composure and intensity, imbuing the statue with a commanding presence.

  • Gerhard Richter, Abstraktes Bild, 1986. Sold for £2,837,000 at Sotheby’s London.
    Gerhard Richter’s arresting and complex 1986 work is a veritable masterclass in tone and texture from the artist’s iconic body of abstract paintings that he began to create in the early 1980s. From 1986 onwards Richter began to relinquish any planned compositional elements of form and structure for the haphazard scrape of the ‘squeegee’ for which his has become known.

  • Brooch and Charm Bracelet, Cartier, 1940s. Sold for £27,500 at Sotheby’s London.
    Both of these charming pieces from the 1940s are signed Cartier. The brooch is designed as a whirl and the bracelet as a series of knotted links suspending a number of whimsical charms set with calibré-cut and cabochon gem stones and enamel.

  • Jan Brueghel the Elder, Studies of Apples, Pears, Grapes, Blackberries, an Artichoke, Spears of Asparagus and a Sprig of Oak. Sold for £389,000 at Sotheby’s London.
    This highly accomplished sketch has been attributed to both Jan Brueghel the Elder and his son Jan Brueghel the Younger. Closer inspection of the oak boards that make up the panel on which it’s painted have led experts to conclude that, while the younger man’s authorship cannot be entirely dismissed, it is far more likely that it is part of his father’s body of work.

  • Wassily Kandinsky, Ohne Titel. Sold for $5,738,000 at Sotheby’s New York.
    This dynamic composition ranks among the most powerful watercolours that Kandinsky executed in the mid-1920s, a period that saw an important development in both his art and his theory of art. Having returned to Germany from Moscow after World War I, the artist started teaching at the Bauhaus school in Weimar in June 1922. He quickly became involved in the German art world again: he participated in a number of exhibitions, and his teachings and writings were crucial to the development of abstract art internationally.

  • Diamond ring, Hemmerle. Sold for CHF 780,500 at Sotheby’s Geneva.
    This beautiful diamond ring was made by Munich-based jeweller Hemmerle, which was founded in 1893 by brothers Joseph and Anton Hemmerle.

  • A rare gilt-bronze casket, Nikolai Ivanovich Liberich (1828-1883), St Petersburg, late 19th century, and a matching desk set. Sold for £139,250 at Sotheby’s London.
    Born in St Petersburg in 1828, Nikolai Liberich studied sculpture at the St Petersburg Academy, specialising in animal figures, particularly horses and bears. This casket , possibly intended as a humidor, seems to be a unique model, possibly made as a special commission.

  • Jean Paul Riopelle, La Foret, 1953. Sold for €2,043,000 at Sotheby’s Paris, a world auction record price for the artist.
    At the beginning of the 1950s Riopelle started to apply paint directly onto his canvases with spatulas and knives in a specific method that became the artist’s signature technique. In La Forêt , Riopelle combines successive knife strokes with a kind of dripping that has been compared to Jackson Pollock’s technique. This resemblance is however only skin deep, as Pollock placed his canvas on the ground so that his body would merge entirely with his work, while Riopelle stood straight in front of his easel.

  • Otto Mueller, Akt Im Spiegel Mit Selbstbildnis (Nude in Mirror with Self-Portrait) or Akt Mit Selbstbildnis Vor Dem Spiegel (Nude with Self-Portrait before the Mirror). Sold for $1,452,500 at Sotheby’s New York.
    Painted circa 1922, Akt mit Spiegel mit Selbstbildnis is an important example of Otto Mueller’s mature work. Using a favourite compositional device, Mueller depicts his wife Elsbeth standing in front of a looking glass with his own features joining hers in the mirrored surface. The artist’s presence in these compositions is barely registered by the self-absorbed nudes, who are, more often than not, captivated by their own sensual appearance.

  • Max Liebermann, Muschelfischer (Graue See) (Mussel Fisher (Grey Sea)). Sold for £293,000 at Sotheby’s London.
    Max Liebermann produced a considerable body of works devoted to people working and pursuing leisurely activities by the sea. A majority of these were executed between the turn of the century and the outbreak of First World War, when, enchanted by the landscape and atmosphere of the Dutch coast, Liebermann travelled to the beaches of Scheveningen and Noordwijk almost every summer. It is very likely that Muschelfischer (Graue See) was painted on the beach of Noordwijk, where the artist spent time in the summer of 1908.

  • Sturtevant, Warhol Flowers, 1965. Sold for £191,000 at Sotheby’s London.
    Beginning in 1964, Sturtevant’s practice involved the re-invention of some of the most iconic pieces of recent art history. Representing the artist’s core conceptual ideals, this work is a seminal piece created at the outset of her critically-acclaimed career. Her unique ability to source works so promptly after their completion displayed an uncommon capacity to recognise the significance of artistic phenomena at a very early stage. The current lot, for example, was completed in the very same year in which Warhol created and exhibited his Flower silkscreens at Leo Castelli’s gallery.

  • Roy Lichtenstein, Two Nudes (C. 284), 1994. Sold for £106,250 at Sotheby’s London.
    Roy Lichtenstein's 1994 relief print depicting two naked women in a bedroom is part of the artist's Nudes series, one of the last he worked on before his death in 1997.


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