Auctions Museums Market Netherlands

A rush on realist art

Works from the Scheringa Museum collection completely sell out at Christie’s Amsterdam

Duane Hanson’s Man on a Bench (right), 1977, watches over the Scheringa sale at Christie's

All 158 works consigned to auction at Christie’s Amsterdam last week from the Scheringa Museum of Realist Art in Spanbroek, north Holland, found buyers, achieving a total of €2.9m (pre-sale estimate €1.3 million to €1.8 million). The museum was founded by the former football club chairman Dirk Scheringa but closed late 2009 after Scheringa’s DSB Bank crashed.

Duane Hanson’s 1977 Man on a Bench installation was the top lot, fetching €313,000 with buyer’s premium (est €140,000-€180,000). A 2003 work by Alex Katz, entitled Mae, also jumped above its high estimate, achieving €169,000 (est €100,000-€150,000); the piece was acquired by a US private buyer. A 2007 painting by the high-profile Turkish artist Taner Ceylan, whose work rarely comes to auction, crept into the sale top ten, selling for €51,400 (est €50,000-€70,000) to a Turkish collector; Ceylan’s auction record was set at Sotheby’s London in April 2011 when his work 1879 (from the Lost Painting Series), 2011, fetched £229,250.

In November 2009, ABN Amro seized the Scheringa museum collection, which included Magritte’s Ceci n’est pas une Pomme, 1964, and paintings by Carel Willink and Lucian Freud. Scheringa had used the works of art as collateral for a €32m loan to build a larger museum nearby (The Art Newspaper, November 2009, p20).

Earlier this year, following a legal battle, Hans Melchers, a chemical industrialist who is one of the Netherlands’ richest men, was on the brink of buying around 1,000 works of art from Scheringa’s collection for €16m, according to the Dutch media. Melchers could not be reached for comment.

Alex Katz's Mae, also jumped above its high estimate, achieving €169,000 (est €100,000-€150,000). It was acquired by a US private buyer
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