German auctioneer’s collection going up for bid Oct. 22-24

Max Liebermann (German, 1847-1939), The Vegetable Garden, circa 1920. Neumeister image

MUNICH – Auktionshaus Neumeister will sell the collection of its founder, Rudolf Neumeister, on Oct. 22-24. The fully illustrated catalogs can be viewed on LiveAuctioneers.

Rudolf Neumeister (1925–2017) played an exceptional role in the art business after the war and in the years to follow. He ran his auction house of international repute over many decades and was always assured the respect and admiration of his contemporaries and customers.

Emil Jakob Schindler, oil on panel, signed and dated (18)84, 38.2 x 32.2cm. Est. €40,000- €50,000. Neumeister image

So many items passed through his hands, from the important and exceptional to the banal – but what and how does an auctioneer himself collect? What could surprise him? What fascinated him? What were his preferences? The preferences of a thoroughly experienced art lover who was always aware of the importance of separating professional from private interests.

His personal art collection, seen in its entirety, provides some answers to these questions. The emphasis was on select items of decorative art, on objects made with precision and ingenuity from the workshops of outstanding silversmiths. He was particularly enthusiastic about ceramics and faience, especially jugs and steins with lively and distinctive decorations from major manufacturers. His huge passion for collecting, fired by his extensive knowledge and sense of quality also focussed on medieval and Baroque sculpture and 19th-century painting. For Rudolf Neumeister, one of his driving forces was curiosity and a penchant for discovery. Having recognized the quality of an object, he especially reveled in gleaning information about its creator and origin – and backing it up.

Emil Nolde, Junges Paar, colored lithograph on Japan paper, 61.5 x 50.5cm. Est. €150,000- €200,000. Neumeister image

Before his death, Rudolf Neumeister specified that his collection be sold at the auction house he founded. For him, it was supremely enjoyable acquiring individual works through choice and chance, examining and looking after them. However, as a no less passionate auctioneer, he did not see his collection as a life-time achievement that was in any way complete or no longer in flux. He much preferred the idea of the objects being kept alive and, newly evaluated, looked after and appreciated in a different, perhaps modern or perhaps nostalgic context – in the hands of equally passionate lovers of art who, today, are no longer found just regionally but internationally as well.

The top lots among the almost 800 items that – listed in a three volume catalog – are to come under the hammer between Oct. 22 and 24, include important sculptures by famous woodcarvers like Balthasar Permoser, Ignaz Günther and Hans Klocker. The extensive collection of paintings is dominated by artists such as Carl Blechen, Johann Matthias Ranftl and Max Liebermann. In the case of silverwork, as well as stoneware and faience, examples can be found from virtually all German and European centers of production. Some hundred selected works taken from various categories open the bidding

Johann Baptist Drechsler, oil on panel, signed and dated 1804. Est. €18,000-€22,000. Neumeister image

In keeping with the ethical standards of our company, the provenance of all works of art has been checked by external experts.

It was never Rudolf Neumeister’s intention to assemble a range of works in its entirety. He was much more interested in unrivalled examples of craftsmanship from centuries past, in the inventive pictorial compositon of the Late Romantic period and the Biedermeier style, in the atmospheric rendition of his Bavarian Heimat and the convincing expressiveness of a carved figure.

Balthasar Permoser, Flora, carved limewood figure, 79/370, 22.5cm, Provenance: Sotheby’s London. Museum-exhibited and book example. Est. €150,000-€200,000. Neumeister image

Katrin Stoll, the auctioneer and director of the Auktionshaus Neumeister, said, “With pride and a little wistfulness, my two sisters and I are respecting the legacy of our father who instructed us to put his collection, with its great number of objects acquired many years ago, back on the market. Some of these items have been familiar to us since our childhood and will now – to our great pleasure – find a place in new surroundings and nourish a love of fine art and exquisite craftsmanship.”

Neumeister is a Munich-based art auction house founded in 1958. The second-generation family-run company is headed by Katrin Stoll as managing director. Every year Neumeister holds about eight auctions with international reach, covering areas including Old Masters, modern and contemporary art, European decorative arts, jewelry and watches, as well as highly regarded special sales with various focal areas. These have enabled Neumeister to build a unique reputation and become one of Germany’s leading auction houses.