Is a New Record for Giovanni Giacometti on the Horizon?

A magnificent panorama, painted by Giovanni Giacometti in 1898, is the top lot of the June auctions at a Zurich auction house and could set a new record for the artist.

Is a New Record for Giovanni Giacometti on the Horizon?

On Friday 28 June, the Zurich auction house Koller will be auctioning off a magnificent work by post-impressionist Giovanni Giacometti in a sale dedicated to Swiss artists. The Panorama of Muottas Muragl is estimated at CHF 2.8-4 million (£2.22-3.18 mil) and could set a new record for the father of the sculptor Alberto Giacometti. The current record price for Giovanni Giacometti was set almost exactly the same day three years ago at Koller: Panorama of Flims (1904), which changed hands on 26 June 2016 for CHF 4.05 million (£3.22 mil) and is now on display in the Fondation Saner in Studen, Switzerland.

Giovanni Giacometti, ‘Panorama of Muottas Muragl’, four parts, oil on canvas, 1898. Photo: Koller
Giovanni Giacometti, ‘Panorama of Muottas Muragl’, four parts, oil on canvas, 1898. Photo: Koller

The Panorama of Muottas Muragl comes from private Swiss ownership and can be seen on loan at the Bündner Kunstmuseum in Chur. The work was commissioned in 1897 by Giacometti and his colleague, friend and role model Giovanni Segantini of the Swiss tourist industry. The execution of a large-scale circular painting, which was to be shown at the World's Fair in Paris in 1900. However, nothing came of it and Giacometti's sketches remained unused for the time being.

One of the two inner panels of Giacometti's ‘Panorama of Muottas Muragl’. Photo: Koller
One of the two inner panels of Giacometti's ‘Panorama of Muottas Muragl’. Photo: Koller

However, this changed in October of the year when Giacometti received another contract: the decoration of the Anna von Planta chalet in St. Moritz-Bad. The four-part (in total 67 x 510 cm) work, which Giacometti made for the dining room of the chalet, formed the centrepiece of this order.

Ferdinand Hodler, ‘Walking End’, oil on canvas, signed, c. 1910. Photo: Koller
Ferdinand Hodler, ‘Walking End’, oil on canvas, signed, c. 1910. Photo: Koller

In addition to Giovanni Giacometti, Cuno Amiet and Ferdinand Hodler also assisted Giovanni Segantini on the original project. And works by these artists can also be found in Koller’s auction.

Alfred Sisley, ‘Autour de la Forêt, Juin (Around the Forest, June)’, oil on canvas, signed, c. 1885. Photo: Koller
Alfred Sisley, ‘Autour de la Forêt, Juin (Around the Forest, June)’, oil on canvas, signed, c. 1885. Photo: Koller

The works of international impressionists and representatives of classical modernism will follow the auction of Swiss Art on 28 June. This offer is captured by Alfred Sisley's Autour de la forêt, juin (Around the Forest, June), completed in c. 1885 in Moret near Fontainebleau, the artist’s former residence.

René Magritte, ‘Les voies et moyens (Ways and Means)’, Gouache, gold, paper, signed and dated, 1948. Photo: Koller
René Magritte, ‘Les voies et moyens (Ways and Means)’, Gouache, gold, paper, signed and dated, 1948. Photo: Koller

From the creative Période Vache phase, René Magritte's Les voies et moyens (Ways and Means) is on offer. In 1947/48, Magritte had departed from his earlier style and turned to a new style, which combined caricatures and comics and the colour explosions of the Fauvists.

Magritte's goal was to shock the Parisian audience, which had repeatedly shown him the cold shoulder in the past. And shock them he did, at the exhibition at the Galerie du Faubourg in the spring of 1948. However, that is not to say the exhibition was a financial success…

Theodoros Stamos, ‘Hovering Yellow Sun Box’, acrylic on canvas, signed and dated, 1967. Photo: Koller
Theodoros Stamos, ‘Hovering Yellow Sun Box’, acrylic on canvas, signed and dated, 1967. Photo: Koller

Koller’s Impressionism & Classical Modernism sale will be followed by Graphics & Multiples and Post-war & Contemporary on 29 June.

Highlights, to name a few, include Red with Green Ellipse / Black Frame (1988/89) by Robert Mangold, Hovering Yellow Sun Box (1967) by Theodoros Stamos and The Tree (1944) by Hans Hofmann.

Alfred Julio Jensen, 'Temple of Numbers at Paestum', oil on canvas, signed and dated, 1961. Photo: Koller
Alfred Julio Jensen, 'Temple of Numbers at Paestum', oil on canvas, signed and dated, 1961. Photo: Koller

The works of Alfred Julio Jensen can’t be assigned to any art direction; the basis for this unique selling proposition was the early education of the Guatemalan-born Jensen by a Mayan nanny who introduced him to the meaning of surfaces, colours and boundaries.

Later, Jensen discovered his own formal language less so at art schools but rather on long trips, which led him to Greece and Italy, where the remnants of ancient cultures complemented his conception of art.

Johannes Itten, 'Squares in Motion', oil, signed and dated, 1958. Photo: Koller
Johannes Itten, 'Squares in Motion', oil, signed and dated, 1958. Photo: Koller

The auction also features artists from this side of the Atlantic, including Johannes Itten with Squares in Motion from 1958 and Jean Fautrier with La passoire (Colander) from 1947.

Jean Fautrier, 'La passoire (Colander)', oil, signed, 1947. Photo: Koller
Jean Fautrier, 'La passoire (Colander)', oil, signed, 1947. Photo: Koller

The days preceding these art-filled auctions are filled with plenty of other exciting objects and items, including jewellery on the morning of 26 June, before wristwatches and pocket watches take over the afternoon. Of particular note here are rare models of Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet and Cartier, as well as other sought after brands.

27 June will feature design and a collection of glass art from Murano, followed by Art Deco & Art Nouveau and photography.

If you happen to find yourself in Switzerland, the auction week at Koller will be made accessible for viewing from 20 to 25 June. Like the auctions, it takes place online and in person at Hardturmstrasse 102 in Zurich.

Discover all lots available at Koller here

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