Piz Corvatsch by Ferdinand Hodler – SFr1.15m (£943,000) at Beurret, Bailly and Widmer.

Enjoy unlimited access: just £1 for 12 weeks

Subscribe now

Among them was the 22 x 18in (56 x 47cm) canvas Piz Corvatsch, viewed from the shore of Lake Champfèr. Since its creation, the painting has belonged to various Swiss private collections: its provenance can be traced back to at least 1913.

On March 23, Piz Corvatsch took the top price at Beurret, Bailly and Widmer (22% buyer’s premium) in Basel, when it sold for SFr1.15m (£943,000), going slightly above the lower guide.

Compared to the price paid by the previous owner, the successful buyer – another private collector – got a bargain. When the well-documented painting last came up at auction, in December 2007 at Christie’s in Zürich, it was knocked down for a substantial SFr3.48m (£3.07m).

On the other hand, there were dramatic price rises for the two bizarre drawings by Alfred Kubin previewed in ATG No 2534. Fanatismus (Fanatism) went from the guide of SFr60,000 to a hammer of SFr200,000 (£164,000) and Das schlimmste Geschenk (The Worst Present) from SFr30,000 to SFr165,00 (£135,300).

Successful exporter


The Effinger clock by Pierre Jaquet- Droz – SFr210,000 (£172,200) at Koller.

In the latter part of the 18th century, the Swiss clock and automaton maker Pierre Jaquet-Droz was a highly successful exporter of complex timepieces to Japan, India and China, where many were sold to the imperial court.

Nevertheless, in no way did he neglect his home market. A fine example of his work was one of the star lots at Koller’s (25/22% buyer’s premium) auction of decorative arts on March 31 in Zürich.

The ornate wooden case, lacquered in ‘vernis Martin’ and decorated with opulent gilt mounts, contains a striking verge movement and an organ with 18 metal pipes and a drum.

The mechanism plays eight melodies. The Effinger clock, as it is known, is dated 1783, and takes its name from its first recipient, Franz Victor Effinger von Wattenwyl, the long-time mayor of Büren, a small town in the canton Berne.

The clock was presented to him in 1784 by the grateful citizens of the town. For over two centuries it remained in possession of the family and in more recent years, it has been in a Swiss collection.

Koller was expecting SFr70,000-100,000, but fierce international competition drove the price to SFr210,000 (£172,200), at which point a Swiss museum gained a new exhibit.

The Boulle commode by Sageot previewed in ATG No 2534 reached the upper estimate of SFr120,000 (£98,400).


Terracotta figure of a Young Woman Bearing an Amphora by Claude Michel Clodion – SFr110,000 (£90,200) at Koller.

The auction house vastly underestimated the demand for the 17in (44cm) high terracotta figure of a Young Woman Bearing an Amphora by the late 18th century French sculptor Claude Michel Clodion. Guided at just SFr1000, it went on to change hands for SFr110,000 (£90,200).

£1 = SFr1.22