Lempertz' Berlin Auction achieves a sensational result of 1.2 million euros
"Russian & Prussian Sale" achieves a 100% sell-through rate by value10.05.2017
It was an exciting day at Lempertz Berlin, with three auctions in one day achieving a top result of 1.2 million euros (without VAT). The 10th anniversary Berlin Sale featured our most extensive offer yet of exceptionally fine works. Many lots bore royal or imperial provenance and so it was hardly surprising that the auction achieved a sell-through rate of 100% by value.
Every seat in the saleroom was filled when auctioneer Kilian Jay von Seldeneck called the first lot in the 10th traditional Berlin sale at around 18:00. There was silence on the floor for lot 353, a rare KPM porcelain service with painted micro mosaic décor. The ensemble is still today considered a rarity and highlight of Royal Berlin's production during the reign of Frederick William III. The lot had attracted several written bids, as well as numerous telephones and saleroom bidders and was to advance to over 8 times its estimate. It was eventually knocked down for the world record price of €124,000 - selling to a bidder in Asia (lot 353, estimate €14,000 – 16,000).
Of the total of 20 figures offered belonging to the famous Wedding Parade (Hochzeitszug) service designed by Adolph Amberg* - a seminal example of porcelain design in the Jugendstil taste – many far outreached their estimates. For example a rare group with two Grecian ladies carrying vases, which achieved a legendary result of €27,300 (lot 362, estimate €5,000 – 6,000). The group of two Etruscans carrying armour was eventually purchased by a telephone bidder for €19,800 following numerous written bids (lot 363, estimate €4,000 – 5,000). The figure of an African lady with a monkey elicited a clash of saleroom bidders that drove the work's price up to €24,800 (lot 370).
A further undisputed highlight of this year's sale was a life-sized marble allegory of night, weighing in at an impressive 700kg, by Emil Wolff. The artist was a nephew of Johann Gottfried Schadow, who was also known for sculpting the quadriga atop Brandenburg Gate. Numerous telephone bidders coaxed the figure from the estimate of €60,000 – 80,000 to make €124,000 – the highest result ever achieved for a sculpture by Emil Wolff. The work will now be going to a bidder in North Germany (lot 442).
The highest overall result of the auction was achieved for an 80cm high Berlin KPM porcelain vase of Munich design no. 3 made in the 1830s and decorated with two annotated views of Berlin theatre and opera house. The piece attracted numerous written and telephone bids, but was eventually won by an online bidder who prevailed in the face of fierce competition, paying the sum of €130,200 for the vase (lot 449, estimate €50,000 – 80,000). A second, slightly smaller vase of Munich design no. 2 was purchased for €55,800 by an online bidder competing against two bidders in the saleroom (lot 443, €45,000 – 60,000).The auction was opened at 11:00 with the 60 lot Russian Sale. A St. Petersburg porcelain display plate depicting a stylised peasant dance was hotly disputed among saleroom, telephone, and online bidders, eventually achieving a result of €33,480 - wildly overreaching its estimate of €8,000 – 10,000. The auction also featured circa 50 gouaches from an Austrian collection, comprising primarily of costume designs from the early years of Revolutionary theatre. Several sheets vastly exceeded their
estimates, for example lot 57 Majokovsky from 1977, which rose from the estimate of €300 – 400 to achieve an impressive €6,080.
The contents of the special catalogue presenting the Gronert Collection were called at around 16:00. The collection of the Berlin art dealer Ulrich Gronert comprised fine European decorative arts spanning the last 300 years, but primarily focussed on Berlin KPM porcelain. A museum bidding via telephone was able to acquire three pieces from the KPM service made for Queen Louise in 1825 (lots 126, 127, 128). An egg-shaped porcelain bottle painted with a view of the Neptunbrunnen from the second half of the 19th century was sold for €4,840 (lot 151, estimate €2,600 – 3000). A large Berlin KPM porcelain vase with cobalt blue ground (lot 236, the vase designed by Trude Petri in 1935, the décor designed by Sigrid von Unruh in 1936) sparked a lengthy battle of bidders in the saleroom, with the piece eventually selling to a telephone bidder for €2,730 (estimate €600 – 800).
* Amberg's famous wedding procession design was originally intended to be produced in silver as a table decoration for the wedding of the Prussian Crown Prince Wilhelm to Cecilie zu Mecklenburg, but this version was never produced. The court considered the design too risqué, especially the depiction of the bride as a nude figure of Europa with the bull. However, the designs were so accomplished that Berlin KPM purchased and began producing them in porcelain between 1908 and 1910.
Lot 9: A St. Petersburg porcelain plate depicting a Soviet peasant dance. Porcelain and overglaze decor, etched gilding and silver plating. Diameter 30.5 cm. Fired by Royal St. Petersburg 1896, painted by SPM in 1925 after a design by Alexandra Shtshekatichina-Potzkaja. Estimate €8,000 – 10,000. Result: €33,480.
Lot 57: Majakovski. Gouache and pencil, partially over gouache, on paper, mounted on yellowed card. 42.9 x 79.4 cm. Estimate €300 – 400. Result: €6,080.Lot 151: A Berlin KPM porcelain egg with a view of the Neptunbrunnen. Porcelain, enamel, partial relief gold decor, brass mountings. 2nd half 19th century. H 10 cm. Estimate: €2,600 – 3,000. Result: €4,840.
Lot 236: A large Berlin KPM porcelain vase with cobalt blue ground. Baluster-form vase with a narrow, concave rim. H 40.5 cm. The model designed by Trude Petri, 1935; the decor designed by Sigrid von Unruh, 1963. Estimate: €600 – 800. Result: €2,730.
Lot 353: A Berlin KPM porcelain tea service with faux micro-mosaic decor. Porcelain, partially relief and etched gilding, enamel decor. Circa 1820. Estimate:€14,000 – 16,000. Result: €124,000.
Lot 364: A Berlin KPM porcelain model of two Grecian ladies with vases. Underglaze décor, gilding. A rare and early group. 1915, model designed by Adolph Amberg, February 1910. Estimate: €5,000 – 6,000. Result: €27,280.
Lot 363: A Berlin KPM porcelain figure of two Etruscan men carrying a suit of armour. Porcelain, overglaze decor, gilding and silver plating. H 38.6 cm. 1911, model designed by Adolph Amberg, October 1910. Estimate: €4,000 – 5,000. Result: €19,840.
Lot 370: A Berlin KPM porcelain model of an African lady with a monkey. Porcelain with under- and overglaze decor and gilding. H 27.8 cm. 1910, the model designed by Adolph Amberg, June 1909. Estimate: €3,000 – 3,500. Result: €24,800.
Lot 442: Emil Wolff, 'Die Nacht'. Presumably after 1830. White Carrara marble. Sculpture H ca. 152 x W ca. 68 x D ca. 45 cm; base H 86 x 74 x 57 cm; total height ca. 240 cm. Estimate: €60,000 - 80,000. Result: €124,000.