Coveted Liasons

Konrad Klapheck's 1968 canvas “Gefährliche Liebschaften” (Les Liaisons dangereuses) became the object of a lengthy bidding battle, which raised the work from the estimate of €120–150,000 to almost double it at €335,000. The direct connection with the novel by Choderlos de Laclos from 1782 imparts the composition with additional elegance and intensifies the relationship of the objects depicted. Klapheck's art shows a particular fascination for machines and technical apparatus (lot 613).

Wilhelm Nay's work “Vega” from 1957 was also raised far above the estimate of
€150200,000 to achieve €372,000. While Ernst Wilhelm Nay's early ‘Scheibenbilder’ (disc paintings), developing from 1954 onwards, still reflect the contrast between square and circular shapes, "Vega" (1957) shows the disc as a dominant motif. The painting is considered a characteristic example of the work series in which form and colour unfold to a harmonious interplay. More so than the differences of individual shapes, the colour is the centre of focus here. The vibrant choreography of colour that lends the work its radiant aura constitutes Orange, lemon Yellow/Citreous, Blue and Pink (lot 604).

Karin Kneffel also brought considerable success: Her large format (2 x 2 m) peach still life from 1995, in which the fruits were realised in hyper-realistic perfection, was sold to a German art dealer for €211,000. The three-dimensional depiction is so convincing that the peaches seem to step out of the picture space, sunlight and shadow play on the skin lit with yellow, orange and red nuances. The viewer is reminded of a large computer-generated advertising motif. However the perfection is slightly fractured by the rendering of minimal indentations in the fruit's surface, which in turn impart an apparent realism and give value to the image (lot 654, est. €150200,000).

Jonas Burgertwas also highly successful with both of his works on offer. The triptych from the cycle “Potsdam (Teil II)” from 2006 was sold to a German collector for €124,000. Mythology, art history and contemporary history meet in Jonas Burgert's archaic visions and form a grotesque, surreal pictorial universe. The main themes are the psychological human condition and human interrelations (lot 565, est. €80–120,000). His work “Kleinmann II”, a canvas from 2011 valued at €40-60,000, was sold to a Rhenish collector for €80,600 (lot 657).

Otto Piene's untitled grid painting from 1958/1972 was sold to a Swiss art dealer for €190,000. Piene’s Grid Pictures are counted among the artist's most important series of works that drastically influenced his oeuvre. Their early creation coincides with the foundation of the ZERO group, a formation of artists that Piene founded with Heinz Mack in 1958. The new beginnings implied by ZERO are evident in the abandonment of traditional pictorial design techniques as well as the inclusion of light and fire as artistic means of composition. The Grid Pictures depict a characteristic distance, which the artist adopts with regards to his work by no longer applying paint to the ground with a brush but by letting it drip through a stencil sieve. Piene subsequently reworked some works with fire, its physical forces involuntarily impacting the structure of the grid formation. The vivid expressive power created by Piene through the raised structure of the vibrant colour lays the foundation of his “light painting”. The fiery red and glimmering gold used in this work create deliberate allusions to the natural glow of light. The untitled grid painting was valued at €200,000 (lot 614).

Zdenek Sýkora's 1990 canvas “Linie Nr. 74” also proved highly sought-after, with numerous bidders competing to raise the work to €211,000. Early on, Zdenek Sýkora recognised the possibilities that new technologies hold in store for him regarding his creative work. As early as the 1960s, he started using computer software to calculate lines and structures that he then manually transferred to the canvas. Based on his system, he uses number combinations which determine the curvature, the thickness as well as the colour if his lines (lot 630, est.

Andy Warhol's ‘Myths’ series combines various figures of pop culture that have become icons of American cultural history due to their medial staging. Alongside “Superman”, here as a signed serigraph with diamond dust from 1981, the series of works that originated from the 1970s onwards as commission work for Ronald Feldman comprises nine further motifs. Warhol shows the original American hero Superman in his iconic pose: flying, his fist heroically stretched up to the sky. The artist reworked this image by doubling the figure next to its outlines, thus creating a sort of double portrait. This pop-cultural icon entered a North German collection for €186,000 (lot 650, est. €150160,000).

Hans Hartung's canvas “T1989–U27” was also highly competed. The work, painted shortly before the artist's death in December 1989, was among the last to be made by this master of Abstract Impressionism. He used a spray technique, characteristic for his later work, which allowed the artist to apply colour to the canvas without much effort, but still giving a powerful result. Colour canisters were filled and attached to a pipe and a spray attachment. The paint application was determined by the pressure on the canister, the choice of nozzle and distance from the canvas. The piece was purchased for €161,000 – over double the estimate – by a German collector (lot 634, est. €60–80,000).

Among the works on offer by Gerhard Richter, the 12 x 12 cm large coloured photograph over-painted in oils “18.12.1999” brought the most considerable success, achieving €79,4000 (lot 661, est. €35–40,000). An untitled gouache by Sol Lewitt from 1988 brought €74,000 (lot 637, est. €50-70,000). Wojciech Fangor's canvas “B68” from 1965 was raised to €93,000 (lot 612, est. €70–90,000). One of César's characteristic sculptures achieved €80,600 (lot 612, est. €70–90,000). Marwan was represented with one of his typically expressive depictions of faces, and the untitled “face landscape” from 1975 achieved €84,000 (lot 645, est.
€60–70,000). Agustin Cardénas’ “Composition aux trois formes” from the year 1956 made €59,500 (lot 611, est. 20–30,000). Joseph Marioni was represented by a red canvas which sold for €49,600 (lot 635, est. €30–40,000) and a blue painting which rose far above its estimate of €12–15,000 to achieve €37,200 (lot 636). Parviz Tanavoli's fibreglass sculpture “Heech Lovers” from 2007 made €54,600 (lot 652, est. €28,000). €47,000 was achieved both by Henk Peeter's mixed media piece “61–64” from 1961 (lot 626, est. €20–30,000) and a “Gravitación” work on paper by Eduardo Chillida from 1988 (lot 633, est. 35–45,000).