Published: January 4, 2011
Cologne Fine Art & Antiques 2010 closed its gates on November 21 on a high note. Dealers and organizers were in a buoyant and enthusiastic mood. Stefan Horsthemke, managing director of AXA Art Deutschland, commented, “Our clients love the fair. Its unique focus and flavor have injected new ideas into the art market and renewed the Rhineland’s trend-setting role.” One happy private collector was full of praise: “It’s all you could wish for in a fair.”
The new planning †designed to promote visual interplay and dialogue between different cultures, epochs and collecting fields †was strongly supported by both organizers and dealers. This focus met with approval across the board. “Visitors are responding very positively to the rich mix of visual relationships,” commented Cologne dealer Rolf Hirschberg of Teppichkunst Hirschberg. “We see from the kind of response we’re getting just what the attractions are of a really high-caliber mix of styles.”
Strong sales were reported in all specialist fields †underlining the success of the fair’s new strategy †both in the five- to six-figure brackets and at the top end of the market. “We always sell well in Cologne,” noted fine furniture specialist Georg Britsch jun of Bad Schussenried. He did good business in antique chairs, tables and cabinets.
Sales and attendance got off to an excellent start on vernissage night and dealers reported no letup in the trend as the fair progressed. The Hamburg photography specialist Flo Peters notched up what proved to be one of the biggest successes of this year’s fair. She sold a 1957 Picasso collage along with a photo documentation of the creative process by David Douglas Duncan at $1.5 million. Peters had taken a shared stand with the Cologne-based non-European art expert Dierk Dierking and design specialists frankandoliver of Frankfurt and Zurich. The stand drew the crowds, and all three dealers reported high turnover.
Galerie Schlichtenmaier from Grafenau also had a very successful fair, selling a 1959 oil on canvas by Emil Schumacher titled “Blauschwarz” at $190,000 and works by Willi Baumeister, $472,000; Karl Otto Götz, $197,000; and Walter Stöhrer, $78,700.
Beck & Eggeling of Düsseldorf, returnees to the fair, did very good business. Sales included a watercolor by August Macke with a five-figure price tag. The gallery is in “advanced discussions” with a client over the purchase of an Emil Nolde oil titled “Peter und Hans” priced at $2.8 million.
Fair newcomer André Kirbach of Düsseldorf described the preview as “a fabulous first night party.” He was showing a selection of ceramics from Japan impressively juxtaposed with abstract paintings, and sold a variety of works, one of them a painting by the Cologne-based artist Jupp Lückerath. Also new to the fair were Frankfurt specialists Friedrich, who spoke highly of the “knowledgeable and discerning public.” The gallery reported strong buying and plenty of interest in items of jewelry from its own studio.
Claude Noëlle, a specialist in antique and contemporary jewelry, reported a number of spur-of-the-moment buys in a price category equivalent to a “‘midrange luxury car.” Fair newcomer Renate Krümmer, Hamburg, who specializes in images of women in art, also voiced her enthusiasm. “Interest has been really strong and my show was well received,”‘ she said. She found buyers for a work by Max Klinger for $57,700, a small-format canvas by Franz Skarbina titled “Junge Frau am Strand” for $16,800 and a work by Dodo for $125,000.
Hubertus Melsheimer of Cologne reported good sales. He sold a large-format Ernst Ludwig Kirchner drawing and found buyers for a work by Antoni Tàpies and a nail painting by Günther Uecker. Exciting contrasts between Modernism and the art of the antique world were the focus at the stand of Aurel Scheibler of Berlin. Here large-format, black-painted wall pieces by Louise Nevelson were juxtaposed with a pre-Christian marble bust offered by the Cologne antiquities expert Gordian Weber.
Schlapka, Munich, staged a show-stopping juxtaposition of postwar art and Biedermeier furniture. Collectors rewarded this stunning display of contrasts with substantial purchases in the four-figure bracket. At the stand of Dr Eva Toepfer, collectors’ items like a box adorned with a cameo and a small, late Seventeenth Century silver teaspoon went well.
Oberacker sold items of fine porcelain at prices ranging between $5,000 and $25,000, while Elfriede Kirsch (Langeloh) sold porcelain items made by smaller German factories as well as Meissen tableware and figures. Hamburg dealers Basedau had an outstanding range of fine antique walking canes on offer. Pieces snapped up by collectors included an extremely rare watch cane and a cane with a moveable ivory handle that, when raised, revealed a delicately carved erotic scene.
Prices reported have been converted from euros to US dollars. For information, +49 221 821-3832 or www.colognefine-art.com .
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
Mon - Fri / 8:00 am - 5:01 pm