International record price for Marcel Broodthaers

The Evening Sale of Contemporary Art was also coined by a noteworthy number of important works, covering a wide spectrum of art from the second half of the 20th century and the 21st century. The highlight of the auction with an international record price of € 620,000 was a series of nine pictures by Marcel Broodthaers.

A canvas by Heinz Mack saw a considerable increase (€ 300,000), whilst a painting by Maria Lassnig climbed to € 275,000. Per Kirkeby rose to € 237,000 with a painting, whilst noteworthy success was had for a small, fine, private collection of three canvases by Karel Appel (up to € 281,000), and two pictures by Asger Jorn (up to €137,000). Further six-figure results were provided by Rosemarie Trockel (€ 137,000), Carl Andre (€ 107,000) and a canvas by William Nelson Copley for € 109,000.

Marcel Broodthaers’ “Série de neuf tableaux en langue allemande, Die Welt” from 1973 was pushed far above the estimate, the New York trade taking the winning bid of € 620,000. Equally frequently exhibited and referenced in literature, the nine-part work of typographically printed canvas, each part 80 x 100 cm, was estimated at € 200/250,000 (lot 60). One of the greatest surprises was seen for Heinz Mack’s 160 x 200 cm canvas “Licht-Felder” from 1992: two determined bidders forced the picture ultimately to € 300,000, many times the estimate. The painting was acquired by the German trade (lot 38).

The majority of Maria Lassnig’s works are self-portrait. She chooses the investigation of her own body and its constantly changing sensibilities as the decisive artistic theme, as it is literally the closest thing to her – more than any other subject of the outside could ever be. She is not motivated by narcissism, but quite the opposite, by merciless self-exploration. Exhibited in Lucerne, Graz and Vienna, the painting “Der Tod ist eine Sphinx” from 1985 shows Lassnig as a hybrid between human and animal in the classical reclining posture of a sphinx, the head reduced to a skull, with a torch between the lion paws symbolising life and death. The Austrian trade eventually won the bidding with € 275,000 (lot 16).

Per Kirkeby’s untitled canvas from 1977 reached € 237,000 – almost double its estimate. Kirkeby is an artist as well as a natural scientist. His studies in geology, his travels, and his affinity with nature are manifoldly reflected in his artistic work. Realistic themes of nature are discernible in his paintings but merge so seamlessly into abstract structures that they are barely tangible for the viewer (lot 67).

A small, fine private collection of five paintings from the COBRA artists Karel Appel and Asger Jorn was met with great national as well as international interest and were all sold. The 1955 untitled canvas by Karel Appel saw determined bidding and was eventually won by the Swiss trade for € 281,000 (lot 73); a further canvas by this artist reached € 75,000 (lot 74). Asger Jorn had success with the canvas “En place pour le rite” from 1975: it was pushed far above the estimate by a Norwegian bidder to €137,000 (lot 77). A second painting from 1960 was sold for € 77,000 (lot 76).

Considerable interest was sparked by RosemarieTrockel’s untitled two-part work – each made of yellow steel and a stove. All 13 telephone lines fought alongside internet bidders, the room and written bids and forced the work from € 20/25,000 up to € 137,000 (lot 69). The 48-part work, “Bend Smithson (The old Rattler)”, also made of steel by Carl Andres in 1997 jumped from € 45/50,000 to € 107,000 (lot 32), whilst nine telephone lines competed for William Nelson Copley’s 51 x 61 cm canvas “Coffee Break” from 1963, finally ending with € 109,000 (lot 88).

A result of € 75,000 was seen for the 1959/60 bronze “Vierfigurengruppe” by Joannis Avramidis (lot 12), and € 81,000 for Peter Roehr’s untitled paper photomontage with PVC coating on plastic from the year 1965: an international record price (lot 65a). An untitled canvas by Günther Förg from 1995 was acquired by an American collection for € 67,000 (lot 27) – the same result also seen for Norbert Bisky’s 200 x 150 cm canvas “Abfall” from 2004 (lot 90).