New Record for 19th Century Art at Villa Grisebach

Max Liebermann, Schafherde (1888) Photo: Courtesy Villa Grisebach
Max Liebermann, Schafherde (1888) Photo: Courtesy Villa Grisebach

Berlin’s Villa Grisebach saw unprecedented success in their 19th Century Art sale this past week. Results totaled €3 million ($4.08 million), the highest-ever finish for the house in the category and well above the sale’s €1.5–2 million estimate. Results were led by an early landscape by Max Liebermann, Schafherde (1888). The work, which was consigned by a private collection in the Rhineland fetched €575,000 ($782,000; all prices include premium) on a €300,00–400,000 presale estimate. It was last seen at auction in Grisebach’s November 2009 sale from which it was purchased for €392,700 ($587,962).

The Liebermann was followed by a very strong result for a landscape painting by Joseph Anton Koch. The rare-to-market work, Landschaft mit Apoll unter den Hirten (c. 1836) was purchased for €312,500 ($425,000), around double its €140,000–180,000 presale estimate. It had been in the hands of a single Swiss family since 1952.

Upbeat bidding continued throughout the rest of Villa Grisebach’s spring sales, which brought in a total of €18.5 million ($25.16 million). Other highlights included Ben Nicholson’s White Relief (1934) for which a bidding war pushed the price several multiples about its €150,000 presale high estimate for a sale at €537,500 ($731,000). Eduardo Chillida’s sculpture Estela a Picasso (1975) brought €562,500 ($765,000) on a €180,000–240,000 presale estimate. František Kupka’s 1906 portrait Der Rosafarbene Hut (est. €120,000–150,000) sold for €350,000 ($476,000). And Konrad Klapheck’s Im Zeitalter der Gewalt I (1994) fetched €337,500 ($459,000) rising just above the upper bound of its €200,000–300,000 presale estimate.

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