This month Sotheby’s is hosting a major sale of antiques and works of art from the collection of the Bernheimer family. The Bernheimers started with a humble market stall in Munich and grew to become one of Europe’s most dominant dealer dynasties. They have been incredibly resilient, overcoming deportation during the war to Dachau and the business being expropriated by the Nazis. During this time some of the family moved to Venezuela and after the war they returned and managed to entirely rebuild and eventually expand their business. The collection is in impeccable condition and features works of art, porcelain and furniture.
Here are a few of our favourite pieces from the sale …
This pair of gilt bronze mounted rouge grotto marble cassolettes from the 19th century are exquisitely sumptuous. They come from France and are in a classic Louis XVI style. Each one has a domed cover which conceals a nozzle. The details are wonderful, with each also featuring ram’s mask supports which are hung with beautiful tasselled chains. The beaded circular base gives a sense of stability to this ornate design.
This French grand piano (c. 1902) caught our eye instantly, it is an unusual and unique piece. It is in a neoclassical style known as ‘Adam’ which was inspired by the work of Robert and James Adam who advocated an integrated style for architecture and interiors. This stunning piano is polychrome painted with satinwood, ivory and ebony details. The case is decorated with roundels and rectangular panels. The painted details are very much in the style of Angelica Kauffman, a neoclassical painter from Austria who often worked alongside Robert Adam. Much of her work portrayed pretty and poetic scenes from Classical literature, like the painted roundels on this piano which have an almost Rococo quality. The piano also features decorative musical trophies, drapery and ribbon-tied laurel swags. While an item like this might seem like an extravagant addition to an interior, it would truly be a talking point and add a real charm and history to a room.
We loved this sculpture by German artist Hermann Haase-Ilsenburg entitled ‘The Amazon’s Farewell’. It has been cast in bronze with a beautifully rich dark brown patina. The female nude is elegantly modelled and the rich patina reflects light to produce a wonderful sense of movement when you walk around the work. This sculpture would look wonderful in a drawing room, either on display individually or as part of a collection. We source works of art for clients and enjoy finding unique pieces that work with their existing collection.
We also loved this sculpture by Max Klinger, a German sculptor and symbolist painter. This sculpture was most likely made during his time in Rome where he was heavily influence by Renaissance works and subject matter. Again this work is cast in bronze with a rich black patina and sits on a mottled green marble base. The female nude is reminiscent of Renaissance and classical figures like Venus.