Auction 136C

The Ellen Sauter Collection

13. December 2017 at 5:00 PM CEST


Benefit auction in Munich: Kinetic jewellery by Friedrich Becker. Art Nouveau. Design

Collection Ellen Sauter

On 13 December, Quittenbaum Art Auctions is going to offer about 120 objects from the remarkable collection of Ellen Sauter who used to bring about a synergy between Concrete Art, ZERO works of art, kinetic objects and Art Nouveau glass in her home.

The late Ellen Sauter was a woman with an inner compass, guiding her through life. With instinct and lucidity, she managed the manifold tasks in her life, even if it became difficult. After her husband passed away in 1978, she, left with two teenage children, took over the family-owned knitwear factory with great success. It was then that Art obtained a special place in her life.

The art aficionado used business trips to go visit artists in their studios as well. In Düsseldorf, she got acquainted with goldsmith Friedrich Becker, who held a chair at the senior technical college from 1973 to 1982. Becker is considered to be the inventor of kinetic jewellery. The collection, an exquisite cross-section through Becker's oeuvre, mirrors the fascination Sauter held for his elegant and technically elaborate pieces of jewellery. Works from the 1950s to the 1980s will be called up, among the selection are several important bracelets with movable parts. Friedrich Becker and Ellen Sauter became friends for life. In the meetings with the groundbreaking jewellery designer they exchanged ideas and found inspiration, furthermore Sauter encountered significant artists of the postwar era. That way, she met Gotthard Graubner, Adolf Luther and Erich Reusch and got to purchase some of their works.

Her interest went beyond the protagonists of postwar art, though. Among Ellen Sauter's collection are exquisite and decorative vases and lamps by Daum Frères, like a vase with poppies, acid etched and martelé cut (estimate €8,000 – 12,000), glass by Emile Gallé, Schneider, Legras and Poschinger, staged effectively in her white-walled residence awash with light. “Fascinating about my collection”, the native of Sauerland said, “is the interaction between delicately coloured Art Nouveau objects and the lines, colour and surfaces of utterly clear-cut Concrete Art.”

When Ellen Sauter learnt about her severe illness, her greatest concern was to make sure that the collection that had been such a source of strength and inspiration for her should, on two accounts, become a fountain of joy for others after her passing. She decided to have all the works come up for auction in favour of the SOS-Kinderdorf e.V. thus finding new aficionados for the works of art and at the same time having the proceeds benefit children in need.

The auction will take place in cooperation with Munich-based auction house Ketterer. Quittenbaum Art Auctions will call up kinetic jewellery, Art Nouveau and Design on 13 December while Ketterer will include ZERO and Concrete Art into its autumn auction.

With the Benefit auction ‚Collection Ellen Sauter‘ the year culminated in a gross proceeds of more than €355,000. 

Right from the start, entrepreneur Ellen Sauter's comprehensive and rare collection of works by Düsseldorf-based goldsmith Friedrich Becker caused quite a stir, correspondingly, the demand was high during the auction. The kinetic jewellery of the exceptional artist received record prices. Especially the cover lot. An afficionado offered €33,670 for the sophisticated kinetic bracelet with rotating balls - a chrysoprase and a hematite - more than five times its estimate. The mobile pieces of jewellery motivated many bidders on the floor, on the phone lines and online. The kinetic ring of white gold, as well as another specimen of stainless steel with red spinel, reached over €22,000 each. Even the large-formatted designs of Becker scored a hit. A kinetic wall object found a new owner for €12,950. 

All but a few items by the artist were sold. 

The auction continued with a selection of Art Nouveau vases, to the delight of quite a few collectors. The wonderful ‚Pavots noirs‘ Martelé vase by Henri Bergé increased its price to €16,835.

Purchase unsold lots in our post auction sale until 12 January 2018.