Skip to main content

World Record for Modern Art in Copenhagen

Press release   •   Sep 28, 2016 10:04 UTC

Paolo Scheggi sold for DKK 2.5 million / € 335.000

There was a great demand for world-class modern art at the international auction at Bruun Rasmussen in Copenhagen, where a work by the Italian artist Paolo Scheggi was sold for DKK 2.5 million. Other surprises among the auction results include works by Fernand Léger, Jan Křížek and Tetsumi Kudo, as well as a world record on a painting by Alan Uglow.

"It is rare that art by the Italian superstar Paolo Scheggi (1940-71) comes under the hammer here in the Nordic countries, and it is actually a bit of a sensation this time, since the work we sold has remained unnoticed in a private Danish collection and was only recently registered by Associazione Paolo Scheggi in Milan. This all resulted in an impressive sale of DKK 2.5 million for one of the artist's characteristic three-dimensional works," says Niels Raben, head of the department of modern art at Bruun Rasmussen.

In addition to this, the work "Physichromie No. 393" by the Venezuelan-born Carlos Cruz-Diez (b. 1923), which was also consigned from a Danish private collection, was sold for DKK 884,000. Cruz-Diez is one of the absolute pioneers within optical art, and the work from 1968 is a fantastic example from the most sought-after period in the artist's production.

Fernand Léger

The auction featured many impressive hammer prices, including a watercolour from 1917 by the French artist Fernand Léger (1881-1955). The work belonged to the Danish artist and author Robert Storm Petersen (Storm P.), who originally bought it directly from Léger in Paris. The watercolour is a sketch for the oil painting "Le Remorqueur" from 1920 that belongs to the Musée de Grenoble. The small, fine work was sold for DKK 1.03 million.

Jan Křížek

One of the artists that surpassed expectations was the Czech-French sculptor and painter Jan Křížek (1919-1985). He was represented at the auction with three paintings from Knud Pedersen’s Kunstbibliotek (Art Library) in Copenhagen. Křížek began his work during the post-war period in France, where he developed a style that was related to "Art Brut" and Jean Dubuffet. The three works sold were moderately valued, since there have not been many high hammer prices recorded so far for the artist. The fact that the works nevertheless surprised at the auction is due to their rarity and high quality, which appealed to our international customers.

A part of the story is that the art collector Knud Pedersen (1925-2014), who originally spotted Jan Křížek and got his works to Copenhagen, was a bit of an entrepreneur with an extremely good eye for experimental art in the late 1950s. He acquired works from the "Nederlandse Informele Groep" (Dutch Informal Group) from Galerie Köpcke and visited several galleries in Paris, from where he brought home works by Selim Turan, Marcelle Loubschansky, Jan Křížek among others.

Tetsumi Kudo + Alan Uglow

In the more curious section of the auction there was a small poetic work by the Japanese artist Tetsumi Kudo (1935-1990) that was sold for DKK 286,000, which was far above the estimate. His works are extremely sought after on the international auction market right now, and he is certainly an artist worth following. Last but not least, another world record was broken for an abstract work by British artist Alan Uglow (1941-2011), which achieved a hammer price of DKK 150,000.

Six Impressive Hammer Prices (Incl. Fees)

  1. Paolo Scheggi: "Intersuperficie curva dal rosso", 1962-63. Red acrylic on canvas in three layers. 70 x 50 x 5,5 cm. Sold for: DKK 2.5 million / € 335.000
  2. Fernand Léger, "Étude pour le Remorqueur", 1917. Watercolour on paper mounted on cardboard. 22.5 x 27.5 cm. Sold for: 1.03 million / € 138.000
  3. Carlos Cruz-Diez: "Physichromie No. 393", 1968. Relief in mixed media mounted in a white wooden frame. 61 x 62 cm. Sold for: DKK 884,000 / € 119.000
  4. Jan Křížek: Untitled, 1957. Oil on canvas. 91 x 64 cm. Sold for: 585,000 kr. / € 78,000
  5. Tetsumi Kudo: Birdcage with a Heart, approx. 1975. 13 x 9 x 8 cm. Sold for: DKK 286,000 / € 38,000
  6. Alan Uglow: "Untitled (White, Red, Yellow and Black)", 1986. Oil on canvas. 214 x 183 cm. Sold for: DKK 150,000 / € 20,000

Bruun Rasmussen Auctioneers is one of Scandinavia’s leading international auction houses, and one of Denmark’s oldest. It all started on 6 October 1948, when Arne Bruun Rasmussen conducted the first traditional auction in the saleroom at Bredgade 33 in Copenhagen. Today, Jesper Bruun Rasmussen stands at the helm of the family-run business together with the third generation of the family, his son Frederik and daughter Alexa, and the company’s CEO Jakob Dupont.

In 2004, the first online auction was launched, and today the auction house has expanded to include departments in Copenhagen and Aarhus and representations in Sweden, Germany, France, Belgium, Luxemburg, Spain, Italy, Thailand and the US. About 100,000 lots are auctioned off each year at the traditional auctions and daily online auctions. Here you can bid on everything from art, antiques, modern design and jewellery to books, coins, stamps, wine and weaponry.