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Preview of the autumn auction at Kornfeld in Bern




B.Due to Corona, the auctions at Kornfeld were postponed to autumn this year as well: On September 16 and 17, the events with art from the 19th to 21st centuries and old master prints will take place in Bern: The impressive offer – at the same time the highest endowment in the history of the Swiss house – is priced by Robert Delaunay’s monumental still life “Nature morte portugaise”. The color-intensive symbiosis of representational elements and abstract motifs on 171 by 211 centimeters was created in 1916 when the Delaunay couple lived in Vila do Conde in northern Portugal for two years; the expectation is 2.5 million francs. Georges Braque’s collage “Verre et Bouteille (Fourrures)” from 1913/14 was once in the possession of the important art dealer Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler and later in the collection of Raoul La Roche, a great patron of the Cubists in Paris. After almost a hundred years in family ownership, the work is now coming onto the market for the first time with an estimate of CHF 1.6 million.

In 1914, Fernand Léger created the gouache “Personnages dans un escalier”, which formerly belonged to the French Prime Minister Albert Saurrant (estimate 800,000 francs). In 1908 Alexej von Jawlenski painted a “Still Life with a Yellow and White Jug”, which is characterized by an impressive exhibition history and market freshness (one million). Emil Nolde’s stunning oil painting “Poppy and Roses” belongs to a group of seven flower and water lily pictures that the artist created in the summer of 1917, inspired by the splendor in Ada Nolde’s garden. It should also bring in one million francs – free of any further claims for an amicable solution with the heirs of the previous Jewish owners. The highlights of modernism also include two late works by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner: the almost violet monochrome “Zügenstraße” from 1922/24 and the “Bündner Landschaft mit Sonnenstrahl” from 1935 (estimate 750,000 francs each). About three years before his death in 1985, Marc Chagall arranged his characteristic elements such as the lovers, the bouquet and the rooster into a complex picture story (800,000) on “La fête au village”. In addition, Kornfeld presents another forty works on paper from the estate of the Chagall family in a special catalog.

Paul Gauguin: “L'Angelus en Bretagne”, 1894, monotype in colors on wove paper, drawing 27.5 by 30 centimeters, estimate 900,000 francs.


Paul Gauguin: “L’Angelus en Bretagne”, 1894, monotype in colors on wove paper, drawing 27.5 by 30 centimeters, estimate 900,000 francs.
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Image: Kornfeld, Bern

Among the total of 736 lots with modern art there are also some impressionists, led by a delicate watercolor with fruit still life, “Pot à gingembre avec fruits et nappe” by Paul Cézanne, which has been in the family since 1950 (1.25 million) . In 1880 Alfred Sisley captured the picturesque country life in the small town of Saint-Mammès on 65 by 92 centimeters (800,000). Paul Gauguin made the colored monotype on vellum “L’Angelus en Bretagne” in 1894, which he dedicated to his Irish painter friend Roderick O’Conor, as evidenced by the dedication “for my dear friend O’Conor, one man of Samoa” (900,000). Sixteen works on paper are offered by Edgar Degas, including his famous self-portrait as an etching from 1857 (edition 7; 475,000).

The section with Swiss art also has excellent representatives: 36 lots are fresh from the market alone from the collection of the Zurich merchant Richard Kisling, who was a board member and committee member of the Zürcher Kunstgesellschaft and who built up an extraordinary collection of contemporary Swiss art from 1904 onwards; Kornfeld presents the works in a separate catalog: These include Ferdinand Hodler’s “Gemmi Landscape” from around 1890, which is bursting with strength and is offered for 750,000 francs, and some paintings by Cuno Amiet, with which Kisling is a close one Friendship connected. Amiet’s monochrome winter landscape from 1903 (500,000) and a 76 by 111 centimeter sheep meadow by Giovanni Giacometti from 1900 (600,000) are particularly beautiful. His son, Alberto Giacometti, created his last portrait of his brother Diego in 1965, the year before his death, with the 46 centimeter high male bust “New York II” (edition 10; 1.5 million). Albert Anker sold a 42 by 55 centimeter still life with herrings from 1899 for 400,000 francs.

Portrait of his brother Diego: Alberto Giacometti, “Buste d'Homme (New York II)”, 1965, bronze, cast 1972, 46 centimeters high, estimate 1.5 million francs.


Portrait of his brother Diego: Alberto Giacometti, “Buste d’Homme (New York II)”, 1965, bronze, cast 1972, 46 centimeters high, estimate 1.5 million francs.
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Image: Kornfeld, Bern

Sam Francis’ large-format oil painting “Green”, which the artist painted in Paris in 1952 and has been in the Swiss family since 1958, is particularly convincing among contemporaries, with an expectation of two million francs. Lucio Fontana also dedicated himself to the color green in his pattern “Concetto spaziale, Attese” (700,000) from 1964/65. And Serge Poliakoff trades with a colorful and monumental “Composition abstraite” from 1959 for 750,000 francs.

The two top lots at the Alter Meister print shop, which will also be offered on September 17, come from Albrecht Dürer: The famous copper engraving “Adam and Eve” from 1504 is the first of the large main sheets of the engraved work, it will be in one of the earliest conditions offered (2nd state; 400,000). The complete woodcut series “Marienleben” with title and nineteen-page series of pages from 1502 to 1511 is estimated at 380,000 francs. Together, all auctions should bring in more than 54 million francs.


Arjun Sethi
Passionate guitarist, gamer and writer. Lives for the perfect review, and scrapes texts until they are razor-sharp.
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