COLOGNE, Germany – It’s an exclusively small, male-dominated club. But instead of being united by school ties, this group has a passion for tiny wheels – Wiking models, to be exact. Sales at Auktionshaus Saure are always filled with casually dressed older men intently referring to the sale catalog. It’s not that women are intentionally left out. It’s just that these colorful plastic models were primarily the domain of West German boys growing up in the 1950s and ’60s.
MUNICH – Sometimes stories of war and intrigue end with a silver lining – even if it means buying said silver back at auction.
In 1945 Price Ernst Heinrich of Saxony and his two sons, Prince Dedo and Prince Gero, feared the worst and buried the family silver in the woods next to their home, Schloss Moritzburg near Dresden. This act was a common bet of fleeing wealthy families during World War II, who hoped to protect their treasure from both National Socialists and the approaching Russian Army.
But the Duke of Saxony, son of the last King of Saxony, had a lot more to hide than just silver. Generations’ worth of costly and irreplaceable art treasures from the royal lineage of the Wettiner, part of which had been exhibited at Dresden’s famous Grünes Gewölbe, was at stake.
With the help of French prisoners of war, the treasure was packed into 43 crates. The two princes buried most of it themselves. Although they bade their father for extreme secrecy, he told one other person, his forester, the location. When the Russians, they quickly pressured the location from the forester. Soon the bulk of the treasure, including the Baptismal Font of the Wettiners, was on its way to Russia.
What no one else knew, was that three more crates had been buried nearby. They remained undiscovered until two treasure hunters found them using a metal detector in 1996. In 1998 a second stash was found.
The crates contained especially precious works of art including the Moor’s Head Cup, a masterwork by Nurmberg goldsmith Christoph Jamnitzer (1563-1618), along with coins, cameos and heavy gilded silver serving pieces with the Saxon Crest. The treasure was auctioned in London in 1999.
This spring, Hampel Fine Art Auctions, Munich, once again offered the vermeil pieces for sale. It was the chance of a lifetime for the Museum Schloss Mortizburg to buy their silver back. Lot number 477, the Silver Treasure of the Wettiner of Schloss, was estimated to sell for between 70,000 and 90,000 euros ($78,600-$101,100. Museum Schloss Mortizburg was pleased to be the winning bidder at a price at the lower end of the auction estimate.
The centerpiece of the purchase is a large vermeil water kettle, its curved octagon panels featuring the Saxon crest. It perches on an ornate vermeil chafing stand engraved with the royal crown and the initials F.A.R. thought to indicate Friedrich Augustus Rex (1828-1902), also known as Albert of Saxony. On the bottom one can see the silversmith’s mark, Eckert; 1885, the year of production; as well as the usual inventory number and stamp of the royal silver chamber from the Zwinger, Dresden.
For the serving of delicacies there is a large vermeil tea platter, a round serving platter and a pair of oval serving platters. Because the silver was made for a king’s table, there are some additional vessels for pure elegance. Two pairs of shell-handled vermeil strainers, two sets of four octagon saltcellars, and a pair of graceful handled sauce dishes complete the service. All of the pieces were made between 1880 and 1906, many identified as the work of Silversmith Friedrich Heinrich Emil Eckert of Dresden.
“The preparations to display the pieces are in high gear,” noted Museum Schloss Mortizburg Press Speaker Uli Kretzschmar.
Although he could not give an exact date, he estimates that visitors will be able to enjoy viewing the Wettiner silver by late summer. The moated Schloss Mortizburg, where the silver was very likely used, is an exquisite example of Baroque architecture and especially lovely during the summer months. For details visit www.schloesserland-sachsen.de
Through June 21: Auktionshaus Kaupp, Sulzburg, first exhibit in Schloss Sulzburg, in cooperation with the Davis Klemm Gallery. Graphic art, paintings and sculpture by Werner Berges. Artist Talk on Sonntag, 14. Juni. www.Kaupp.de
June 17-20: Achenbach Art Auction in Dusseldorf and Cologne auctioned by Van Ham Kunstauktionen. More than 2,100 contemporary art works from the collection of Achenbach Art Adviser Helge Achenbach. All objects are being offered with no limits. wwwVan-Ham.com
June 18-19: Galerie Kornfeld, Bern, art after 1950 and contemporary art. www.kornfeld.ch
June 18-21: Art Basel – 300 of the best galleries worldwide. Modern and contemporary paintings, sculpture, installation art, photography, prints, videos and multimedia work. More than 4,000 artists. www.ArtBasel.com
June 26: Art Auction, Schueblein Art & Auktionen, München.
June 27: Dr. Fischer Kunstauktionen. 26th Glass Auction in Zwiesel. www.Auctions-Fischer.de
June 28: Art, antique and flea market offered on the grounds of Schloss Großkmehlen bei Ortrand.
Through the end of June:Doebel Kunstauktion, Dettelbach-Effeldorf, aftersale of art from the 20th and 21st centuries.
Aug. 23: Heimat und Verkehrsverein Hünxe first Antique and Flea Market on at Heimatmuseum “Alte Bergschule Hünxe.”
By HEIDI LUX
DRESDEN, Germany – A change of style or medium can be a career killer for an artist. Be an impressionist one day and an expressionist the next, or switch from painting to sculpture? Critics and the general public won’t know what to think.
But two of Germany’s best-known contemporary artists have built their careers on new ideas. Gerhard Richter and Günther Uecker, now in their 80s, have thrived on a palette of change. Contrary to killing their careers, their work is highly sought after and their prices only climb. Richter and Uecker’s work can be viewed in two new exhibits this year.
The Albertinium, part of the Staatliche Kunstsammlung Dresden, has had two rooms devoted to hometown son Gerhard Richter since 2004. These were recently updated by the artist. The Kunstsammlung is also keeper of the Gerhard Richter Archives, a cache of catalogs, correspondence and photographs. This documentation of Richter’s career is especially important because of his chameleon-like way of moving among different styles and media. The sheer volume of his work in realistic and abstract paintings and prints, a type of paper and photo documentation he calls “Atlas,” photographs, artist books, sculpture and installation work, and even film, is astounding.
Richter’s work has been called “Capitalist Realism,” which amuses him. The moniker comes from a happening he created with artist Konrad Lueg in 1963. Richter had just defected from East Germany in 1961 where Socialist Realism prevailed, and decided “Manifesto of Capitalist Realism” would be a fitting title for the event. Certainly he has been commercially successful, setting auction record prices for a painting by a living artist in 2012 at $34 million (31 million euros); topped in 2013 at $37.1 million (33.9 million euros); and recently exceeded that in February, 2015, when one of his abstract paintings sold for $45.2 million (41.3 million euros) at Sotheby’s, London.
Visitors to the Albertinium can now enjoy four new large abstract paintings by Richter Abstrakten Bilder (937/1-4). They resemble mirage landscapes of striated gray with flashes of red and green. Their somber feeling can be traced to their inspiration: photographs taken by a Birkenau camp prisoner in 1944. The holocaust is a revisited theme for Richter. In keeping with his fascination for mirrored images, the artist has added four full-size color photographs of the works, creating a reflected image between photography and painting.
The 20-part color chart 180 Farben (1-20), 1971, is the core of Richter’s second exhibit room. Other new additions at the Albertinium include his daughter’s portrait, Ella, 2014, and the still life Tulips, 1995. Richter’s new exhibit continues through September. www.SKD.Museum.
Günther Uecker’s Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfallen exhibit at the K20 Grabbeplatz, Düsseldorf, is aptly titled Mehr als nur Nägel (More Than Just Nails). It’s easy to categorize Uecker as “The Nail Painter,” he is that inseparably identified with his nail relief images. The pictures are unmistakable – a pale painted background pierced with a pattern of nails, their three-dimensional aspect playing games with light and shadow, making the pattern appear to undulate. Yet Uecker is also a sculptor and installation artist. His use of words and text in his art adds the role of poet, designer and social commentator to his repertoire.
Like Richter, Uecker fled East Germany, settling in Düsseldorf in 1953. He actualized his wish of studying with artist Otto Pankok at the Kunst Akadamie Dusseldorf. It was during 1956-57 that Uecker created his first nail picture. He began to use everyday objects, such as furniture, as his “canvas” for nail sculptures. As a member of the Zero Group, Uecker experimented with kinetic light sculpture. His Terrororchesters (Terror Orchestra) in the Kunsthalle Baden Baden was a memorably noisy installation that included 20 washing machines and reflected the banal background noise of life.
Decades worth of Uecker’s nail reliefs are on exhibit in the Klee Hall exhibit of the Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfallen. This is a chance to properly experience the power of these seemingly simple works; one must walk past them to appreciate the light and perspective changes that bring them to life.
Terrororchester can be seen in the Grabbe Hall. Works with text that engage the viewer as reader include Brief an Peking (Letter to Beijing) and the Verletzungsworte (Wounding Words). In Sandmühle (Sand Mill) a rope rake perpetually spirals through a circle of sand. The simple materials and easy motion impart a universal message on the passage of time. But, as Uecker says,“Where language fails, the image begins.” With Uecker, you need to be present to receive the whole message. His work will be on view through May. www.KunstSammlung.de .
Henry’s Auktionshaus, Mutterstadt
April 10 – Young Timer Modern and Classic Timepieces
April 11 – Oreintal Carpets www.Henrys.de
April 15 – History, Geography and Travel
April 16 – Valuable Books (Varia), Handwritten and Old Prints
April 17 – Literature of the 17th-19th Centuries, Autographs
April 18 – Modern Literature www.bassenge.com
Dr. Fischer Kunstauktionen, Heilbronn
April 16 – Russian Art & Icons www.Auctions-Fischer.de
Schwarzenbach Auktion Zurich
April 17-18 – International Postage Stamps www.SchwarzenbachAuktion.ch
Auction Team Breker, Cologne
April 18 – Technological Firsts www.Breker.com
Galerie Widmer, St. Gallen
April 24 – Important works of various artists in the new auction rooms in St.Gallen. Work by Cuno Amiet, Philipp Bauknecht, Rudolf Belling, Max Bill, Martha Cunz, Ignaz Epper, Max Gubler, Ferdinand Gehr, Carl August and Carl Walter Liner, Albert Manser, Italo Valenti, Johannes Zülle and vielen mehr. www.GalerieWidmer.com
Winterberg Kunst, Heidelberg
April 25 – Comtemporary Art www.Winterberg-Kunst.de
May 6-9 – Spring Auction www.Dobiaschofsky.com
Van Ham Kunstauktionen, Cologne
May 15 – Jewelry and Watches, Art
May 16 – European Arts & Crafts www.Van-Ham.com
Koller Auktionen, Zurich
May 13 – Style, Luxury & Vintage; Wine www.KollerAuktionen.ch
SAXONY, Germany – Twenty years ago, Lorraine Jones of Peabody, Mass.,, told her husband she thought she would be content if she bought just one Belsnickle candy container. Forty-nine Belsnickles later, Jones has collected a small troop of the fragile German papier-mâché candy containers that bring her year-round joy.
“I see a Belsnickle and get all excited. I live my life being a little child in my heart,” said Jones, trying to contain her laughter. “I guess I’m keeping that childhood excitement alive. My mother is gone, and she had such a love of Christmas. The Belsnickles keep that alive for me.”
Belsnickle is no Santa Claus. Although his true origins have vanished with the Christmas snow, he is the stern character who visited children a few weeks before Christmas to see who was naughty and who was nice. His thin, scowling presence, a sack of goodies in one hand and a bundle of whipping switches in the other, was enough to terrify the goodness into any child.
The German tradition dates back to a time when St. Nicholas and the Kristkind or Christ Child, represented as a blond angel dressed in white, made the rounds together. But after the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century, St. Nicholas was frowned upon. In order to fill the void, various regions devised their own character. In Hessen he became “Pelznickle,” which means “Nicholas in Fur.” In Schwäben it was “Pelzmärtle.” In Rheinland Falls they pronounced the “P” as a “B” and he became Belznickle.
The tradition spread as Germans emigrated to other countries. In Brazil Pelznickle flourished.
“The northern Germans brought Belsnickle with them when they moved to Pennsylvania.” explained Jones. Indeed the Pennsylvania Dutch (which comes from Deutsch, i.e. Germans), still have the tradition of Belsnickle.
Around 1870 papier-mâché composition Belsnickles began to be made in Sonneberg, Thuringia, Germany, for export. The crafting of Belsnickles there was fitting, as the area was already renowned for their expressive and beautiful dolls.
A Belsnickle was formed in two plaster molds, front and back. Then the two halves were dried and joined together, finished and painted. Some were purely decorative; others were made into candy containers given to children at Christmastime.
The Belsnickles’ hands are usually tucked tight inside their coat sleeves, but sometimes they strike a more relaxed pose. Some of them look a little hunch-backed. They have arresting faces, with expressive eyebrows, looking stern but wise. It is the perfect expression for meting out punishment for naughty behavior. While children were probably scared of Belsnickle, his image on a candy container was loveable in an overbundled sort of way.
“With the candy containers, some separate at the legs – the boots slide off; and some separate at the waist,” notes Jones. “Inside there is a little paper tube. I think it was used for candy, cookies, nuts or little toys.”
Jones has been collecting these fragile Belsnickle candy containers for 20 years, scouring antique shops, auctions and even Ebay. During this time she has watched the price increase from a few hundred dollars to literally thousands for a large Belsnickle in very good condition. Of course, she never forgets her first one.
“I look at my first Belsnickle and he is not such a good one. Only about 5 inches high, and his tree is worn down to a wire, he has no color left, and his eyes are chipping away,” said Jones. But you can tell by the tone of her voice that she is like a mother describing a homely but well-loved child. He has earned a special place in her mirror-backed glass display cabinet. Artist Scott Smith of Rucus Studio in Michigan can sympathize. His Belsnickles hold a place of honor in a glass display case in his studio. He draws inspiration from their detailed faces.
“I collect all antique Christmas, but the candy containers appeal to me because they have a mix of concept and function – it’s a decorative figurine, but it also had another use,” said Smith. “I like the Belsnickles because they have that elf-like, woodland appeal. They can be cute and simple or elaborate and menacing.”
After working for years as a commercial artist and art director, Smith opened his own studio in 2000. Using a similar molding process, he sculpts his own whimsical characters – owls, moons, pumpkin-headed people – that look like they stepped from the pages of a story book.
“I try to use the same methods, but we don’t have the same materials and recipes they had,” noted Smith.
He related that the making of Belsnickles was truly a cottage industry. Whole families worked on the project, using their own hand-carved plaster molds and secret recipes for the papier-mâché or chalk “clay” that was pressed into them.
“Sometimes they had to make do with the materials they had,” noted Smith. “The Belsnickles could not mold or rot or be eaten by animals. Yet I’m sure they had no thought in their minds that these things would last for 100 years or more.”
It is remarkable that the candy containers survived not only their first opening by little fingers, but sometimes even being glued together to use as a Christmas decoration for generations to come.
The variety of Belsnickles is truly amazing. They can be found with hooded coats of many different hues, from red, to deep plum purple, pink, yellow, white, blue, green and even sometimes brown. Often their coats sparkle with mica glitter or are trimmed with real fur. They perch in their black boots on snow-covered mounds or in front of trees. Many carry feather trees or baskets of toys, sometimes with a tiny American flag, as virtually all were made for export.
“They were made with high-end craftsmanship, from very elaborate to cheap and affordable for the average consumer,” said Smith. “They made everything from a 2-3 inch (5-7cm) ornament, to 6-8 inch (15-20cm) candy container – that was the average size, to 14, 24, or 36 inch (35, 61, 92cm) larger ones for very wealthy families or for store displays to attract customers into a shop.”
World War I took its toll on the Belsnickle industry. Many of the plaster molds were destroyed; materials were scarce. Belsnickles made after this time period were more like cardboard, sometimes even stapled together at the sides. Japanese Belsnickles also appeared on the market, “But,” says Lorraine Jones referring to skin color, “They were pink, pink, pink!”
Belsnickle fell out of fashion. German children became more interested in the Weihnachtsmann, who brought their presents on Christmas Eve. In the U.S. Santa Claus was becoming a jollier, happier old elf, helped along by the illustrations of Thomas Nast in the early 1880s and the red-suited Coca Cola Santa of the 1930s. Even so, another more sinister form of “the punisher” persisted in Austria.
When Bill Steely of Westchester County, N.Y., attended his first Golden Glow of Christmas Past convention, the only family member willing to go with him was his then 6-year old daughter Chloe.
“At our first room hop we discovered Krampus, and said, ‘Woa! What does a devil have to do with Christmas?”
Some eastern Germans still know Belznickle as Knecht Ruprecht. But Austria clings to a hooved and horned creature called Krampus.
“Of all the bad personas, Krampus was quite severe,” explained Steely. “He would put you in his sack and take you to the depths of hell. So if your goal is to scare your children into being good, Krampus really meets that goal.”
Chloe is now 19, and the Steelys have a full range of Krampus collectibles. But they also have a soft spot for Belsnickle. After all, fair is fair.
Take a peek at these websites for more information: www.GoldenGlow.org; www.RucusStudio.com
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MUNICH – If you long to live in well-designed Arts and Crafts simplicity, an unusual object has come to market. Quittenbaum in Munich is auctioning an entire house designed in the early 1920s by renowned painter, architect and designer Richard Riemerschmid.
There are only two strings: First, the dismountable house will come disassembled and the buyer will have to move it onto a suitable building lot for reassembly. Secondly, the building lot will have to be in Bavaria because the house is on the Bavarian A List of Historical Landmarks. Quittenbaum estimates that this 1926 example of the Brigitte IV will sell for between 100,000 and 150,000 euros ($127,000 to $190,000).
The house is a fine example of Reform Architecture that appeared in Germany after World War I. Riemerschmid’s designs were offered by catalog and came in a variety of sizes. Customers could choose from many built-in furniture options, such as cabinets, display cases and sitting benches. Nut wood and oak gives the house interior a dark, yet cozy appeal. Riemerschmid also offered moveable furnishings that could be ordered at the same time as the house.
Workers in dirty, overcrowded industrial areas were happy to move into the garden communities designed by Riemerschmid. The houses were simple but pleasant. The commute to work was short. This particular Brigitte IV is a mid-size, two-story example, crafted and assembled by the Munich company Kowalsky & Glasser. Its first location was Jaiserstrasse 33 in Pullach, near Munich.
Renate and Peter Schuck, Jugendstil collectors and current owners of the house, lived out a dream by decorating it with Riemerschmid paintings, furniture, dishes, glasses, table linens and rugs, as well as the work of other period designers. It became a stunning private museum. Brigitte IV has nestled comfortably on the Schuck’s estate, Burg Kipfenberg in the Altmühltal, but now the couple is parting with not only with the house, but its amazing contents.
Richard Riemerschmid’s work spans the gap between ornamental Jugendstil and sturdy British Arts and Crafts. Taking the grace from one and the practicality of the other, he created designs that were lovely, yet able to be produced in larger quantities. The Deutsche Werkstatten für Handwerkskunst, Hellerau (Dresden) and Meissen Porcelain were two of the companies that brought his designs to life.
Scare raw materials in post-World War I Germany made wood Riemerschmidt’s building material of choice. The Brigitte IV offered at Quittenbaum was most likely insulated with a surprising material in its first incarnation – sawdust. The brilliant reuse of this construction by-product kept Riemerschmid’s houses toasty warm. To view all of the objects up for auction Nov. 13, visit www.Quittenbaum.de
Nov. 14-15: Auction Team Breker, Cologne – science and technology, office antiques, and toys, including tin toys, dolls, trains and more. www.Breker.com
Nov. 17-23: Vienna Art Week, podium discussions in the Palace Dorotheum, plus auctions of modern art, jewels and watches. www.Dorotheum.com
Nov. 20-22: Auktionshaus Selzer, Rüdesheim am Rhein, antique trains, steam machines, tin toys. http://www.selzer-toy-auction.com
Nov. 26-29: Villa Grisebach, Berlin, autumn auctions with 19th century art, photography, modern art and more. www.Villa-Grisebach.de
Nov. 29: Anticomondo, Cologne, 900 books from 1720 to 1960, mostly picture and children’s books. www.Anticomondo.de
Nov. 29: Dr. Fischer Kunstauktionen, Heilbronn, art and antiques. www.Auctions-FIscher.de
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SAXONY, Germany – Mass-produced furniture before 1950 had a tendency to be dark, ponderous and often uncomfortable. But in 1949 one man’s personal search for comfortable, well-designed seating resulted in a sensation that changed what everyone wanted in their living rooms.
“Just One Good Chair,” documents designer Hans J. Wegner’s search for the perfect place to sit. This extensive exhibit at Design Museum Denmark in Copenhagen is on display through Dec. 7, and worthy of a trip from nearby Germany for all Danish Modern enthusiasts.
Even as a student at the Danish Furniture School, Wegner’s brilliance was combining streamlined shapes with a perfect balance of form. His drawing for a set of silverware, unadorned and with a simple tapering at the top and bottom of each utensil, hinted at his future style.
There was a moment when everyone at school marveled over a curve-backed wooden chair from China, made with no nails or glue. This moment was breakthrough for Wegner, who later experimented with curved-back forms, as well as a Windsor-based design he called “Peacock Chair.”
Wegner’s modernism was inspired by simple tools humans have used for centuries. One only need say “boat paddle” to really understand the flaring and narrowing of the wooden arms of his chairs, “spear” to define their tapering, pointed legs.
When Wegner’s new design for a chair appeared at the Cabinetmakers Guild Exhibition in Copenhagen in 1949, it was the antithesis of traditional furniture. Appearing light in weight because of its open-backed design and light in color due to its natural wood, “The Round One” as Wegner referred to it, was refreshingly spare, yet comfortable.
Interiors magazine published an article on “The Chair” in 1950, and America went crazy for the new style. The Chair was launched it into mass production, nervously supervised by Wegner to ensure quality of craftsmanship was not compromised. The style became so popular that CBS bought Wegner chairs for the televised Nixon-Kennedy presidential debates.
Wegner never stopped pushing his idea of creating the perfect chair, designing more than 500 seating options and continuing to make them larger, more aesthetically pleasing and more comfortable. Although Wegner died in 2007, his work continues to inspire designers. It is also highly collectible. Depending on age, materials and condition, you can expect to pay upwards of 800 euros ($1,000) for one of his simple chairs.
Design Museum Denmark’s exhibit displays so many of the design highlights of Wegner’s very productive life. And unlike many such exhibits, you can actually sit in some of the chairs.
If you do venture to Denmark, the Fuglsang Kunstmuseum situated in the wildly remote landscape of the island of Lolland is not to be missed. It showcases an excellent overview of Danish art history, with masterworks by P.C. Skovgaard and Anna Ancher. The white cube-like building designed by British architect Tony Fretton is, itself, a part of the artwork. A special room designed with glass walls looks like three paintings, but it is actually a framed view of an ever-changing landscape of stormy skies and lazily moving sheep.
Oct. 15-18: Bassenge Buchauktionen, Berlin. Valuable books, autographs, modern literature and art documentation. www.Bassenge.com
Oct. 17-18: Schwarzenbach Auktion Zurich presents stamps and postcards from Liechtenstein, Germany, Switzerland and West Europe, including special collections on the history of flight. www.Schwarzenbach-Aution.ch
Oct. 21-23: Dorotheum, Vienna. Old Master paitings, antique furniture and acessories, jewels. www.Dorotheum.com
Oct. 23-25: Leipziger Münzhandlung & Auktion Heidrun Höhn combines their September and December sales into one enormous Autumn auction. Fine gold and silver coins and medals from Germany form the bulk of the sale, with interesting additions from Austria and the Czech Republic, as well as antiquities, paper money, stock shares, and antique maps. www.Leipziger-Muenzhandlung.de
Nov. 11-13: Quittenbaum Kunstauktionen, Munich: Art Nouveau & Art Déco; Private Collection Richard Riemerschmid; Bohemian glass by the Elisabeth glassworks. www.Quittenbaum.de
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LADENBURG, Germany – Seeing a museum close is never a happy event. But when Katharina Engels shut the door of her doll and toy museum in Rothenburg ob der Tauber in January, it turned out to be a joyous culmination of her life’s work. For 30 years she shared her expertise and affection for toys with more than 2 million visitors. Now it was time to share her favorites one last time with collectors who would treasure them as much as she had.
Ladenburger Spielzeugauktionen, with whom Engels had worked closely to build her collection, is marking a milestone of its own in 2014 – 25 years in business. Although auction houses in the U.S. and Asia were interested in auctioning Engel’s collection, she chose to return to her trusted friend Ladenburger to hold the sale.
More than 1,300 lots were auctioned to an appreciative audience, among them a rare School by the German toy maker Steiff. Its charming school desks, lesson books and round-faced student dolls went from an opening bid of 2,800 euros to an end price of 15,500 euros.
Lot 1144 was a breathtaking dollhouse decorated as a Vienna Café in the Biedermeier style with gothic details. The café came complete with pastry-filled glass cases and guest dolls in their original 1880 finery. It was quickly bid from 3,800 to 16,500 euros.
Great interest was shown in a Humpty Dumpty Circus made by the German emigrant toymaker Schoenhut in the USA. The colorful tent and jointed figures, including a strong man, elephants and clowns, brought 8,000 euros.
Ladenburger owner and auctioneer Götz Seidel was pleased to mark the company’s 25th anniversary by being able to serve Engels one last time. www.SpielzeugAuction.de
Auktionshaus Kaupp, Sulzburg, rings in their 20th year in business with a two-part anniversary sale June 27 and 28 at Schloss Sulzburg. Founded in 1994 in Staufen, Kaupp has built something of a reputation for auctioning paintings by Carl Spitzweg. But more recently their art and antiques sales have featured outstanding contemporary art.
“Kaupp Modern” on June 27 continues this with works such as Lyonel Feininger’s sketchy watercolor Standansicht mit Kirche; a spontaneous pastel and ink piece by Hans Hartung; and the super-8 film and tape Der Tisch, shot by Dietmar Kirves, capturing a work by Joseph Beuys and his students in Dusseldorf, 1968.
The estate of Barons Ruprecht Böcklin zu Böcklinsau, the last owner of Schloss Balthasar in Rust, is an absolute high point in ”Kaupp Premium” on June 28. Countless pieces of furniture and collector’s objects from the Baroque and early Baroque periods will be brought to the market. They join an already rich selection of handicrafts, antiques including Jugendstil and Art Deco, and paintings from the 16th to 19th centuries.
Kaupp’s two-day anniversary sale will also include a selection of jewelry and watches, as well as Asian, African and foreign art. www.kaupp.de
In celebration of their 125 years of family history as auctioneers, Münzenhandlung Gerhard Hirsch Nachfolger has moved into spacious new quarters in the Pranner-Plenum, the site of the former Bavarian State Parliament in Munich. The auction company, which specializes in coins, medals and antiquities, also buys and sells bullion.
Hirsch owner, Dr. Francisca Bernheimer, can trace her auction lineage back to her grandfather, Konsol Otto Bernheimer, who was the director of art auction Haus Bernheimer, founded in 1864. Her father, Dr. Ludwig Bernheimer, was also a director of the company.
In 1888 the great granduncle of Dr. Francisca Bernheimer, Otto Helbing, held his first auction. But his company was forced by pre-World War II politics to close its doors. Family member Gerhard Hirsch opened a business trading in antique and rare coins in his own name in 1953. Dr. Franscia Bernheimer, a niece of Gerhard Hirsch, took over the business after her uncle’s death in 1982. The company holds four auctions a year, in February, May, September and November. For details visit www.CoinHirsch.de
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In an effort to streamline my travel plans, I sketched out a schedule that should keep me entertained this year. Not one of these destinations is lacking in the usual attractions like scenic views, historic architecture or gastronomic specialties, but being there during these sales and auctions is extra icing on the cake:
Feb. 27-March 3: The large auctions at Auktionshaus Mehlis in Plauen, Germany, are sure to include Jugendstil, Art Deco, applied arts and more. A visit to the Plauener Spitzenmuseum (Museum of Lace) is a must. www.mehlis.eu
Feb. 28-March 2: Art Fair in the classical beauty of the Handelskammer Hamburg, near the city hall in the heart of Hamburg. Antique and art dealers present for the first time in this brand new show coordinated by Mendelssohn Messen & Ausstellungen GmbH.
March 8: The Palais Dorotheum in Vienna has magnificent auctions year-round. But for a refreshing change of scene and artists, try visiting their Prague art auction. www.Dorotheum.com
March 14-15: Antico Mondo in Cologne always delights with their toy and advertising auctions. Expect tin toys, toy trains, dolls and teddy bears in supreme condition, as well as a rich selection of antique tin advertising signs. If you happen to miss this one, they have similar sales slated for June 13-14, Aug 29-30 and Nov. 28-29. www.anticomondo.de
March 15: Auktionshaus Kloss, Berlin, has widely varied offerings. And the attractions in the city of Berlin are never ending. www.Auktionshaus-Kloss.de
March 21-22: Vienna is a great city to photograph because of its architectural mix, but shutterbugs should not miss Westlicht’s Photo and Camera Auctions featuring a Hasselblad that has traveled to the moon and back. www.Westlicht-Auction.com
April 10: Russian art and icons fill the hall at Dr. Fischer Kunstauktionen in the lovely Trappensee-Schlösschen, Heilbronn. www.auctions-fischer.de
April 9-12: Bassenge, located in Berlin-Grunewald, hosts an auction of valuable books, decorative graphic art and autographs. www.Bassenge.com
April 25-26: Ladenburger Spielzeugauktion hosts a fun spring sale with antique doll houses and furnishings; character dolls, French dolls and Käthe Kruse; Steiff animals and bears, tin toys and trains, as well as antique Christmas decorations. www.Spielzeugauktion.de
May 2-3: David Feldman’s spring stamp auction in Geneva, Switzerland, features stamps from India, Switzerland and Russia. http://www.davidfeldman.com
May 6: Quittenbaum’s in Munich is known for their Jugendstil and Art Déco Auctions. The perfect chance to combine a trip to the Octoberfest city with some stunning antiques. www.Quittenbaum.de
June 18: If you are in Cologne near the curving Rhine, Van Ham Kunstauktionen hosts a rich sale of decorative art items including old master paintings, furniture, sculptures, silver, porcelain and jewelry. As an added bonus, the Forum für Fotographie is not far away. www.Van-Ham.de
June 19-20: Galerie Kornfeld in Bern, celebrating 150 years of selling fine art, is having a special sale of works by Marc Chagall during their anniversary auctions. They have conveniently scheduled their sales to coincide with Art Basel June 19-22. www.Kornfeld.ch www.ArtBasel.com
June 28: Dr. Fischer Kunstauktionen in Heilbronn presents their 25th glass auction in Zwiesel, a city with a 700-year glassmaking tradition. Collectors flock to this very special event, where last year nearly 900 pieces of rare, sparking glass were auctioned.
Aug. 28-30: Auktionshaus Selzer in Rüdesheim am Rhein hosts their summer toy auction. They are known for antique trains, which are also displayed in their in-house museum. www.Selzer-Toy-Auction.com
Aug. 29-31: The Clock Fair (Antik Uhrenbörse) in Furtwang, the Black Forest, is a late summer sensation. Watches. Pocket watches, mantle clocks and every imaginable antique timepiece is offered at this huge show. www.antik-uhrenboerse.info
Sept. 6-8: The 1736 baroque Schloss Wotersen is the setting for a delightfully mixed antiques and fall festival. While treasures of Louis XVI, Biedermeier and Art Deco can be found among the antique dealers exhibiting in the riding hall, there is an autumn market featuring cheese, wine, wild game and music. www.wotersen.com
Nov. 7-8: The car lovers in your life will enjoy attending an Automobilia Auktion Ladenburg sale. The auction house deals in everything from autoracing memorabilia and advertising art to the actual autos themselves. www.Autotechnikauction.de
Nov. 9: If you collect fine wrist watches or pocket watches, Important Modern and Vintage Timepieces at Antiquorum in Geneva is a must. www.Antiquorum.com
Dec. 6-8: Auktionshaus Saure holds popular Wiking model auctions four times a year. The toy vehicles make for a fun auction for the holiday season, but check their website for additional auction dates. www.Auktionshaus-Saure.de
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MUNICH – Jugendstil was an invisible lightning strike that caused a complete about-face in artistic style. Sometime around 1890, it appeared in Germany like a blossoming vine and twined itself around Historicism, obliterating its classical-lines with the sinuous curves of nature. The new style, also known as Art Nouveau, was a synchronicity that touched Gustaf Klimt and the Secessionist artists in Vienna, painter Alphonse Muncha in Moravia, illustrator Audrey Beardsley in England, and glass artist René Lalique in France. It even negotiated the Atlantic Ocean, appearing in the designs of Louis Comfort Tiffany in New York.
At the forefront of the Jungendstil movement was Belgian-born artist and architect Henry van de Velde. In celebration of the 150th anniversary of his birth, Quittenbaum Kunstautionen, Munich, has planned a special auction Dec. 10 featuring his work.
“The 150th birthday is being celebrated by many museums, and since our strength is Jungendstil, we thought we must have an auction,” noted Managing Director Askan Quittenbaum.
Although he admitted it was not easy to accumulate a large number of works from such a well-loved and enthusiastically collected designer, the auction house has managed to gather a respectable selection of Van de Velde objects, rounding out the sale with exquisite works by contemporaries such as glass artist Emile Gallé and architect and designer Josef Hoffmann.
“Henry van de Velde saw it as a challenge to design the entire artwork from a to z,” said Quittenbaum. “He was using the same methods as William Morris in the Arts and Crafts movement, which just isn’t the case with artists today,” said Quittenbaum.
Indeed Van de Velde, who had studied painting in Antwerp, left this path to embrace the fuller possibilities of architecture and design. His use of flowing curves caught the eye of Karl Ernst Osthaus, founder of the Volkwang Museum, who asked him to design the museum’s interior.
Shortly after 1900 Van de Velde became director of the Groβherzoglich Sächsischen Kunstgewerbeschule in Weimar, a post he held until 1915. In 1919 the school was renamed Bauhaus, expanding upon Van de Velde’s theory that even useful objects could be well-designed works of art.
Perhaps managing so many different artistic disciplines at the school inspired Van de Velde, for he was as comfortable drawing the sweeping lines of a house as he was designing a book cover, clothing, cutlery or china. Like architect and designer Frank Lloyd Wright, he viewed well-designed accessories as an integral and harmonious part of the entire architectural object.
Quittenbaum’s offers a couple of these lovingly designed details, such as Lot 28, a swooping brass door handle from Hair Salon Haby in Berlin, 1901. Lot 61 is four simple silk handkerchiefs embroidered with a Van de Velde designed monogram, created at the same time as a set of table linens for the grandparents of painter Curt Herrmann, circa 1906.
To see how architecture and art united in a van de Velde project, Jungendstil enthusiasts can tour several historic sites. Weimar highlights include Haus Hohe Pappeln, the home he designed for his wife and five children in Weimar, 1907; the Friedrich Nietzsche Archives, where he was asked to redesign the interior by the late philospher’s sister in 1902; and naturally the former Kunstgewerbeschule.
In Villa Esche, designed for industrialist Herbert Esche in 1902-03 in Chemnitz, one gets a good sense of what it was like to live surrounded by the work of Henry van de Velde. The museum also documents the type of friendly working relationship Van de Velde had with many of his clients. www.villaesche.de
Dorotheum: 3 Dec. – Antique pipes to be auctioned in Prague, Czech Republic. Dec. 4 – art, antiques and jewelry, to be auctioned in Klagenfurt. www.Dorotheum.com
Hauswedell & Nolte, Hamburg: 3 Dec. – Modern Art Parts I and II. Dec. 4 – art after 1945. www.Hauswedell-Nolte.de
Bassenge Photoauktionen und Moderne Kunst, Berlin: Dec. 4. – an important American private collection, photography books and literature, photography of the 19th – 21st centuries. www.Bassenge.com
Anticomondo, Cologne: Dec. 6-7 – toy and advertising auction. www.Anticomondo.de
Kusthaus Lempertz, Cologne: Dec. 6-7 – Asian art from China, Tibet/Nepal, India, Southeast Asia, Korea and Japan. www.Lempertz.com
Leipziger Münzhandlung Auktion H. Höhn: Dec. 6-7 – coin auction in Radisson Blu Hotel, Leipzig www.Numismatik-Online.de
Schmidt Kunstauktionen Dresden: Dec. 7 – artworks of the 15th – 21st centuries. www.Schmidt-Auktionen.de
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LEIPZIG, Germany – All of Leipzig is marking a double anniversary on Oct. 8. Two hundred years ago, Napoleon’s forces were trounced by the Army of Nations in a fierce battle just outside the city. One hundred years later, the massive pyramid-shaped memorial known as the Völkerschlactdenkmal or Monument to the Battle of Nations, was opened.
Already in 1814, there was a call to create a monument to mark this massive loss of life. Plans were drawn up by architect Friedrich Weinbrenner, but sat unused. On the 50th anniversary of the battle in 1863, a foundation stone was laid.
Architect Clemens Theime took a special interest in this unfinished project. In 1894 he formed the Deutsche Patriotenbund (Association of German Patriots) and campaigned vigorously for funds through private donations and a lottery. He chose as his site the slight hillside where Napoleon announced his retreat, and keeping Weinbrenner’s pyramid form, created the present Völkerschlactdenkmal.
The granite-faced concrete building is a masterwork of the Wilhelmina style. Colossal sculpted soldiers solemnly watch over all who enter and exit. The interior is dark, and silent as a tomb.
Since its appearance on the Leipzig skyline, the Völkerschlactdenkmal has been reproduced on everything from ceramic souvenir cow creamers to canned goods, jewelry to cigars. While its 100th anniversary has inspired a novel, a cabaret performance, and special exhibits, Leipziger Münzhandlung und Auktion Heidrun Höhn found some very special pieces of memorabilia for their Sept. 13-14 auction.
“There is only one of these,” said Christine Höhn as she pointed to lot 610, a large bronze medallion of the Völkerschlactdenkmal, designed in 1913 by Hermann Schöne and presented to Clemens Thieme by the Deutschen Patriotbund. The Jugendstil plaque hung outside the architect’s house in Leipzig for many years.
While the auction features many coins and medallions with various portraits of Napoleon, perhaps one of the most delicate and intriguing is found in lot 652, a pair of ivory-framed miniatures of Napoleon and Josephine. Related ephemera in the auction include a Leipzig newspaper with an account of the battle from 1813, and even Napoleon’s signature on a certificate bequeathing the title “Baron.”
For more information on events surrounding the Völkerschlactdenkmal anniversary, or its opening hours, visit www.Stadtgeschichtles-Museum-Leipzig.de
Lempertz’s Hanstein Appointed President
The European Federation of Auctioneers voted Henrik Hanstein of Brussels, president; Sonia Farsetti of Florence, Italy, and Jean Pierre Osenat of Paris were elected vice presidents.
Hanstein, director of Art Auctionhouse Lempertz, Brussels and Cologne, has engaged himself in successfully harmonizing the resale right (subsequent decisions) within Europe. It is the first time that a German has held this office. The EFA represents the interest of European auctioneers before the European Commission and the European Parliament.
Upcoming Shows and Auctions
Sept. 24: Quittenbaums, Munich, design and art after 1945. www.Quittenbaum.de
Sept. 24-25: Gerhard Hirsch Nachf., Munich, antiques auction featuring objects of glass, ceramic and metal; their coin auction follows on Sept. 25-26. www.Coinhirsch.de
Oct. 4-5: A four-part sale of jewelry and watches; Asian, African and non-European art; handcrafts, antiques and paintings; as well as modern and contemporary art at Auktionshaus Kaupp, in Sulzburg. www.Kaupp.de
Oct. 11-12: Peter Kiefer Kunst und Buch Auktionen, Pforzheim. www.Kiefer.de
Oct. 12: Antique art, advertising art and modern works at the Lempertz auction in Berlin. They are also hosting two benefit auctions on Oct. 20 and Nov. 15. See www.Lempertz.com for details.
Oct. 12: Dr. Fischer Kunstauktionen, Heilbronn, offers European Glass and Studio Glass, as well as a private collection of Jugendstil and Art Deco objects. www.Auctions-Fischer.de
Oct. 18-19: Autumn stamp auction at Schwarzenbach Auktion, Zurich. www.Schwarzenbach-Auktion.ch
Nov. 6-9: Dobiachovsky, Bern, hosts their autumn art auction. www.Dobiaschovsky.com
Nov. 27-30: A widely varied auction of classical and contemporary art and photography at Villa Grisebach, Berlin. www.Villa-Grisebach.de
Nov. 28-30: Bassenge in Berlin-Grunewald offers art from the 15th to 19th centuries, as well as modern and contemporary art. www.Bassenge.com
Dec. 1: Antique and flea market with a special focus on Christmas decorations at Gießener Hessenhallen from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
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