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Jean Dubuffet, Serge Poliakoff, Ernest Biéler, and other works from prominent European artists of the XIX-XX centuries at the December Piguet auction 2020

In the period between the 8th and 10th of December, 2020, Genevan auction house Piguet will hold a traditional winter auction and will present works of renowned artists of the XIX-XX centuries. The startling Art Brut by Jean Dubuffet (1901-1985), the bright composition by Serge Poliakoff (1900-1969), the portrait painting by Ernest Biéler (1863-1948), the landscape paintings by Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot (1796-1875) and Magnus Hjalmar Munsterhjelm (1840-1905), the still-life paintings by Édouard Vuillard (1868-1940) and Bernard Buffet (1928-1999) will be put up for auction.

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Jean Dubuffet
Jean Dubuffet (1901-1985),
Psycho-site E434, “Site avec 5 Personnages” (Psycho-aerial E434, “Aerial with 5 Persons”,
Acryl on paper mounted on a canvas.
December 16th, 1981. Dated 1981, 50*67 cm.
More images here.

The top lot at the auction will be the striking work of the founder of the Art Brut style Jean Dubuffet “Psycho-Aerial E434, Aerial with 5 Persons” (esimated at CHF 100 000 - 150 000). Jean Dubuffet combined the collection of works he put together in Lausanne under the common philosophy of “crude” and “pure” art, having once been inspired by the work of Hans Prinzhorn (1886-1933) on art of people with mental disabilities. The canvas presented is executed in a deliberately inapt manner with the use of vivid contrasts.


  • Artist’s workshop;
  • Jeanne Bucher Gallery, Gfhb;, #7804;
  • Private collection, Switzerland.


  • MaxLoreau, Catalogue des Travaux de Jean Dubuffet, Fascicule XXXIV: Psycho-sites, 1984, Editions de Minuit, page 116, #435.
Serge Poliakoff
Serge Poliakoff (1900-1969),
“Composition Murale” (“Mural Composition”),
Tempera on paper mounted on a canvas.
Signature, date, the inscription “tempera”. 1966. 92x73 cm.
More images here.

One of the main lots will be the work “Mural Composition” (estimated at CHF 80 000 - 120 000) of Russian-French modernist Serge Poliakoff - the most striking representative of Tachisme. Serge Poliakoff left Russia in 1918 and settled in Paris, where he studied art at the Grande Chaumière Academy. After meeting Kandinsky, Robert and Sonia Delaunay, Poliakoff developed a passion for abstractionism, subsequently becoming one of the founders of the new wave of expressionism.


  • Alice Pauli Gallery, Lausanne, catno. C660518.


  • Alexis Poliakoff: Serge Poliakoff: Catalogue Raisonné, Volume V, 1966-1969, Archives Serge Poliakoff, Paris, 2016, page 94, # 66-43, Archives: 966100


  • Kunstmuseum, St. Gallen, “Serge Poliakoff”, 1966;
  • Cavalero Gallery, Cannes, “Mur Cavalero”, May 2nd, 1967-June 10th, 1967;
  • Cavalero Gallery, Cannes, “Serge Poliakoff”, June 11th, 1967-July 31st, 1967.
Жан Дюбюффе
Ernest Biéler (1863-1948),
“Le Vieux Laurent” (Old Lawrence),
Watercolour paint on paper, signature. 30*30 cm.
More images here.

The ingenious portrait painter Ernest Biéler devoted his art to landscapes and the depiction of people of the Canton of Valais. His watercolour painting “Old Lawrence” (estimated at CHF 50 000 - 80 000) likely shows a citizen of Savièse and in our days symbolizes the lost past. The portrait is among the series of works from the artist’s most valuable legacy. Biéler intertwined the techniques of the Old Masters of Holland, the Italian Renaissance, and Art Nouveau in the linearity of the painting.


  • A. Gattlen Gallery, Lausanne, 2008 Inventory, Photo 10008;
  • In the collection of the Canton of Vaud;

Annotation on the back:

  • Souvenir de P. Virchaux, Nov. 1931.
Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot
Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot (1796-1875),
“Le Passage du gué” (“Crossing by Ford”),
Oil/canvas, signature. c. 1873-1874. 46.5*55.5 cm.
More images here.

“Crossing by Ford” (estimated at CHF 40 000 - 60 000), filled with air and freshness, by the French landscape painter who has had the most influence on impressionists - Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot. The palette is built on the relationship between the tones and the use of a minimal number of colours.


  • M. de Lussy collection, France;
  • Arnold & Tripp, # 8257;
  • Acquired from the last M. Fayard on March 8th, 1918;
  • Sold Tédesco Frères - Paul Rosenberg;
  • Sold in Switzerland in 1956;
  • Collection of M. Henri Vulliet and Baumann-Schindler, Switzerland.


  • There is a letter of authenticity from Martin Dieterle and Claire Lebeau, ref. 7228 dated November 4th, 2020.
Magnus Hjalmar Munsterhjelm
Magnus Hjalmar Munsterhjelm (1840-1905),
“Paysage au Clair de Lune” (“Moonlit Landscape”),
Oil/canvas, signature, date. 1863. 110*138 cm.
More images here.

“Moonlit Landscape”, 1863 (estimated at CHF 20 000 - 30 000), by Finnish artist Magnus Hjalmar Munsterhjelm - an academic of the Imperial Academy of Arts - mesmerizes due to its realism and the lighting effect of the moon’s image, illuminating the still water through the clouds. The series of moonlit works by Munsterhjelm represents the most well-known of his paintings.

Bernard Buffet
Bernard Buffet (1928-1999),
“Roses dans un Vase de Gallé” (“Roses in a Gallé Vase”),
Oil/canvas, signature and date. 1955. 73*50 cm.
More images here.

Several works by French expressionist Bernard Buffet will be presented for auction. The still-life painting “Roses in a Gallé Vase” (estimated at CHF 20 000 - 30 000) is executed in a sketching manner typical of Buffet with a predominantly elegiac mood created by the dark and cold palette. The rose is depicted in a glass vase from Émile Gallé (1846-1904).with an iconic botanical picture.


  • Tag from the Moos Gallery, Geneva;
  • Drouant-David Gallery, Paris.


  • There is a certificate of authenticity from Galerie Maurice Garner, Paris, October 22nd, 2020.
Édouard Vuillard
Édouard Vuillard (1868-1940),
“Roses dan un Vas de Verre” (“Roses in a Glass Vase”),
Oil/cardboard. 1910. 24.5*37.5 cm.
More images here.

The still-life painting “Roses in a Glass Vase”, 1910 (estimated at CHF 20 000 - 30 000) by prominent representative of the symbolism of the “Nabi” group Édouard Vuillard is from the artist’s interior art period when he had not yet transgressed to portrait painting. The resolute, matte brush strokes, the damped tones and soft colour arrangements create the manner of painting typical of Vuillard.


  • Felix Vallotton S.A. Gallery Lausanne, # 3772;
  • Private collection;
  • Private collection Argovie, Romandy.
Maurice de Vlaminck
Maurice de Vlaminck (1876-1958),
“La Truite” (“The Trout”),
Canvas, oil, signature in bottom right.
1933. 50.5*65 cm.
More images here.

“The Trout” by Maurice de Vlaminck (estimated at CHF 20 000 - 30 000) features the domination of shadows and the prevalence of earth tones and the monochromatism of the palette.


  • Notification of inclusion in “The Vlaminck Archive” #20-00135/2020-08-27 dated September 5th, 2020.;
  • The back contains the label “Brussels Palace of Fine Arts”.


  • Gallery of The Great Palace, Paris;
  • The work has been in the family since 1961.
Salvador Dali
Salvador Dali (1904-1989),
“Madone” (“Madonna”),
Chinese ink on paper, signature.
26*20 cm.
More images here.

The graphic work of Salvador Dali “Madonna” (estimated at CHF 10 000 - 15 000) is executed in Chinese ink on paper in the manner of a sketch.


  • Dali sales, Tokyo, December 1989.


  • Musée de l’Athénée, Geneva, Dali, July 8th - September 30th, 1982, # 2.
Мкртыч Дживанян
Mekertich Givanian (1848-1906),
“Constantinople au Clair de Lune” (“Constantinople in the Moonlight”),
Canvas/oil, signature in the bottom right.
52.5*69.5 cm.
More images here.

“Constantinople in the Moonlight” (estimated at CHF 10 000 - 15 000) by Armenian artist Mekertich Givanian was done with the influence of famous seascape painter I.K. Aivazovsky, whom Givanian met in 1974. In the painting, Constantinople, lit with sparse night lamps, is seen on the shores of a calm sea in the bright light of the full moon.


  • Sold at Sotheby’s in 2007 in London, #123

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Photos and information: courtesy of the Piguet auction house

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