Between 24 and 28 of September, the Zurich auction house Koller is holding ten auctions full of highlights. Though we can only introduce you to a small selection, these auctions include drawings and paintings by Old Masters, paintings of the 19th century, ancient prints, carpets, furniture and sculptures, porcelain, majolica and silver, as well as jewellery, autographs, books and more.

Among the most outstanding lots from Koller’s auction of Old Master works is the Head Study of a Monk Looking Up by an Antwerp Master. The oil on a wooden plaque dates from 1610 to late 1615 and is a striking use of minimal brush strokes with distinct highlighting. This study is particularly important as it was used by Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640) for his 1618 altarpiece Saints Dominic and Francis Saving the World from Christ’s Anger, which is now in the collection of the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Lyon.

Left: Peter Paul Rubens, ‘Saints Dominic and Francis Saving the World from Christ’s Anger’, c. 1918, Musée des Beaux-Arts in Lyon Left: Peter Paul Rubens, ‘Saints Dominic and Francis Saving the World from Christ’s Anger’, c. 1918, Musée des Beaux-Arts in Lyon

After Rubens’ death, several such studies were found in his estate, which were usually based on real-life models. They give an insight into the workings and thought processes of the important Baroque painter, so it is not surprising that the estimated price of this exceptional specimen is only “available on request”.

From the middle of the 16th century comes the intimate devotional image of Mary with Child, whose dendrochronological examination suggests a date from 1555 onwards.

The pictorial motif corresponds to the genre of Nursing Madonna, that is, the nursing mother who bares one of her breasts. The Christ Child also holds a pear in his hand, which is a sign of purity. The painting is by Willem Benson (1521-1574), who has not only made the face of Mary very fine, but also demonstrates his skills in the boy's outstanding appearance in a transparent robe.

The paintings of the Dutch renaissance painter Hieronymus Bosch are always exciting, and often a bit strange, but in any case very fascinating. Even after his death there were artists who continued painting in his manner of style. One of them was Herri met de Bles, to whom the present work, Nocturnal Landscape with the Temptation of St. Anthony, is attributed.

The attribution is based on the owl placed on the visor of the helmet on the right edge of the picture, which was the painter’s favourite signature.

Koller’s furniture auction is led by an eighteenth-century double-globe clock which perfectly reflects the universal thirst for knowledge of its Enlightenment epoch. The glassed walls of the watch cases display movement, which is driven by two clock dials, a day of the week and date function, as well as a terrestrial and a celestial globe.

Another clock, a pendulum, dating from the mid-18th century, represents a penchant for all the exotic that was inherent to the time. It was designed in Paris around 1740-50 in the form of a rhinoceros. Clara (1738-1758), the female rhinoceros native to India, presumably served as this source of inspiration. Clara was the first rhinoceros to be seen in Europe since the Middle Ages and in the mid-18th century toured numerous cities to captivated audiences. Many artists were inspired by Clara and paid homage to her in their works. Since Clara was to be seen in Paris in 1748, the later date for the pendulum is more probable.

Another exotic piece from the middle of the 18th century is a highly decorative black lacquer secretary. The special lacquerware from China was sold throughout Europe. They were reloaded in the ports of the European East India companies, which were on the Coromandelküste of the Indian subcontinent.

There is an interesting provenance to the pair of Chinese mantels with French bronze contours, also from the 18th century. They belonged to the Iranian businessman Djahanguir Riahi, who owned an outstanding collection of French furniture and craftsmanship, which he used to decorate his Parisian apartment.

The porcelain of the pair of vases was made around 1700 in China. About ten years later, European porcelain production started in Meissen, Saxony. One of the earliest objects that can be acquired from Meissner production is this 1710 tea pot and lid from Böttger stoneware.

35 years later, the porcelain production in Meissen was in full swing. Johann Joachim Kändler, who was known to be an outstanding modeller, together with Peter Reinecke, designed this adorable pair of pugs with a cub, which brings us to the end of this outstanding collection on offer from Koller.

The auctions will take place as follows: Books and Autographs (24 September); Jewellery, Majolica, Porcelain and Silver (25 September); Furniture & Sculpture and Carpets (27 September); and Old Graphics, Drawings by Old Masters, Paintings by Old Masters, and Paintings of the 19th Century (28 September).

You can discover all current lots from the auction house Koller right here