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The Grand Opening, results

With a thematic auction “The Grand Opening”, Bernaerts Auctioneers focused its attention to its neighbour, the newly reopened Royal Museum Of Fine Arts (KMSKA) by presenting in its October auction a series of specially selected works of art from the 16th to the 21st century. An report below with the hammer prices (excl. commission 22, 25 or 28%).

The original architectural plans of the KMSKA by Frans Van Dijk generated a lot of attention. Lots 159 to 170 were auctioned for a total amount of € 94500, compared to an estimation of € 30/40,000. All plans were signed, dated 1883 and provided with a stamp of approval of the city council. Not only impressive for their size and rarity, but also for their thorough attention to detail, they were assured of the interest of contemporary architects, museums and collectors.

Old Masters
Another Antwerp piece that found a new home was the Mary Magdalene by Jan Cossiers (lot 4, res.: € 32,000) while from the same 17th century, among others, a ‘Last Supper’ by Chrispijn Van den Broeck (lot 3) was hammered at € 16,000 and € 12,000 was obtained for the ‘Parrot Shooting’ by an anonymous master (lot 10).

Subsequently, a number of large and small art cabinets from a private Antwerp collection found buyers at modest prices between € 750 and € 9000.

The Red Star Line painting by the relatively unknown Paul Sohn (lot 107, res.: €5,500) and an interior of the St. James’ Church by Hippolyte Sebron (lot 72, res.: €4,500) also sold well above estimate while an Exodus from Antwerp of 1915 by Louis Van Engelen failed to find a buyer.

A pastoral painting by Frans Van Kuyck – certainly of museum quality – (lot 114) also fetched € 6,500, while other works by Jaroslav Cermak (lot 63, res.: € 11000), Luigi Rubio (lot 77, res.: € 7000), Constant Montald (lot 231, res.: € 16000), Leon Dansaert (lot 105, res.: € 6000) and Adolf Chwala (lot 41, res.: € 6000) also realised more than satisfactory results.

Art Déco
As for the 20th-century animal sculptures, ‘Lionne rugissante’ by animal sculptor Albéric Collin (lot 151) fared brightly as expected (res.: €32000), bronzes by Karel Trompeneers (lots 149 and 150, res.: €10000 and €12000) scored well, and interest in contemporary animal sculpture also proved to be alive and kicking (Patrick Villas, lot 155, res.: €7,800).

Among the decorative objects from the interwar period we highlight a Lalique vase (lot 246, res.: € 3000), a standing nude by Pierre Le Faguays (lot 243, res.: € 6000) and among the paintings, Alice Frey (lot 256, res.: € 4,600), Emile Claus (lot 249, res.: € 3000 ) and Modest Huys (lot 248, res.: € 7,500).

A newly discovered James Ensor (lot 158, res.: € 10000), along with a mounted photolithograph by Panamarenko (lot 319, res.: € 11500) and a sheet by Paul Delvaux, “L’annonce faite à Marie,” from 1952 (lot 241, res.: € 56000) were among the best results for ‘works on paper’.

World records for Shirley Jaffe and Kati Heck
The highest result in the post-war work section was achieved by the painting ‘Pile ou Face’ by American Parisienne Shirley Jaffe. This work from 2013, painted at the age of 90 (!), originating from Galerie Greta Meert, was valued at € 35/45000 and was auctioned for almost double that amount, a world record for this artist (lot 335, res.:€ 65000) .

There was also fierce competition for “Pan Farynx, ohnmachtig,” a 2011 work by rising star Kati Heck. The work, estimated at 35/45000, fetched € 56000 (lot 342), resulting in the second world record of the evening.

However, an early Louis Van Lint did not find a buyer in contrast to Bram Bogart (lot 277, res.: € 22000), Takesada Matsutani (lot 283, res.: € 26000), Koen Van den Broek (lot 334, res.: € 22000) and Luc Peire (lot 280, res.: € 10500) which sold very smoothly.

Other results: Christian Krekels (lots 285 and 287, res.: € 6,500 and € 4,500), Daniele Bragoni (lot 302, res.:€ 5400), Jan Cobbaert (lot 328, res.: € 7000), Zaha Hadid (lot 323, res.: € 8,500), Pieter Vermeersch (lot 337, res.: € 5,500) and Philippe Aguirre y Otegui (lot 295, res.: € 4,500).

24 – 25 September: 10am-5pm
26 – 30 September & 3 – 5 October: 10am-12pm and 1pm-5pm
6 – 9 October: 10am-6pm

Platformconcert XXX october 9 at 10.45 am
Bram De Looze (piano)
The Goldberg Variations, J.S. Bach
More info here.

Live Sales
Tuesday October 11 at 2pm The Grand Opening I (lots1-182)
Wednesday October 12 at 2pm The Grand Opening II (lots 200-343)

Exactly 299 passes* away from the KMSKA, the auction house presents itself as the ‘antechamber’ of the newly reopened monument. The fact that the building has been inaccessible (for too long) will, in our view, be overshadowed by the wealth of the collection, which will once again be on display in not just one, but two museums. Antwerp will thus be able to play its role as city of the arts and commerce even more fully. The efforts at urban development level that have been made in this neighbourhood in recent years and that are still going on have required a great deal of patience, but they were desperately needed for the somewhat sleepy district.

Nieuw-Zuid, Zuidpark, the Kaaien, the relocation of the MHKA, but especially the impressive renovation of the Museum of Fine Arts, which was completed in 1890 originally, will create a dynamic in which the auction house, as an ‘antechamber’, will gladly receive guests from home and abroad before and after their visit to the museum.

To celebrate this joyous occasion, exceptional pieces were reserved for a thematic auction, The Grand Opening.

Auctioneers Bernaerts
Verlatstraat 18

(un)loading zone in front of the door
Q-park (parking Kooldok) (3 min)

* steps, taken by a middle-aged man, 1m87, from the entrance to Verlatstraat 18 to the Corinthian column, at the top of the KMSKA steps.