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Landscapes, portraits, sculptures and more Fine Art
Considered by many the pinnacle of aesthetic beauty, and the foundation of culture in the Western world, covering everything from the Old Masters, all the way up to Impressionism and Modern Art.
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"Modern Art: a contradictory and multifaceted epoch marked by war and peace, poverty and self-indulgence. The beginning of the 20th century produced possibly the most exciting art, bringing everything previously in the shadows into the light."
Sabine Riedlberger, Head of Fine Arts Department
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About the Fine Art Department
The Fine Arts department is divided into two technical departments: "Impressionism and Modern Art" and "Old Masters and the 19th century". Paintings, drawings, prints and sculptures dating from the 15th century to the mid-20th century from the hands of national and internationally renowned artists are offered here. The main task of our department is primarily in the professional and fair valuation and acquisition of art pieces which are suitable for our auctions. For this purpose, our experts travel extensively, both at home and abroad, to regularly evaluate a piece at the customer's location.
When someone mentions art, in most contexts, fine art is what we think of. The aesthetic ideal. A purity of beauty. Historically, the five main fine arts were painting, sculpture, architecture, music and poetry, though today they are often confined to the visual arts.
Fine art covers a wide variety of disciplines and practices. By far the most common and readily-identifiable is painting, which can itself be sub-divided into many forms. Portraiture is one of the most popular forms of painting, having been used to portray rulers and other “great” figures throughout history. The art of the portrait flourished in the ancient world, memorializing the rich and powerful, but over time portraits began to be commissioned by more middle-class patrons. And indeed, portraiture itself is not confined to painting, but covers other media such as sculpture and art photography.
Similar but contrasting to portraiture, still life depicts mostly inanimate objects, taking as subject matter commonplace objects from the natural or man-made world, often containing religious and allegorical symbolism relating to the objects depicted. Still life traditionally occupied the lowest position in the hierarchy of genres, but is still extremely popular with buyers.
Landscape paintings are also very popular, depicting natural scenery and spectacles from nature. The earliest forms of landscape painting date to around 1500BC, and has remained prominent throughout most eras, intensifying with the Romantic movement in the 19th century AD. Landscapes can feature real-life scenes, but equally featured are landscapes from mythology, or imaginary idealized vistas. Landscape drawings and ink paintings are particularly prominent in Asian art; in East Asia the classic Chinese mountain-water ink painting was traditionally the most prestigious form of visual art.
Religious paintings use religious inspiration and motifs to depict ritual and sacred scenes, as well as portraying and illustrating the principles of the religion. These pieces can often form part of religious services and worship. Artistic practices and representations differ widely across religions, and all have their own characteristics.
Historical painting is defined by its subject matter rather than an artistic style, usually depicting a moment in an historical, literary or mythological narrative, rather than a specific and static subject, as in a portrait. Multi-figure historical paintings were considered the highest form of art, because they were a visual form of history, and were treated as equivalent to the ‘epic’ in literature.
The medium is the message
Fine art is not only divided by ‘genre’ but also media. In Western cultures, oil painting and watercolor painting have rich and complex traditions in style and subject matter. In the East, ink and color ink historically predominated the choice of media, with equally fertile and well-rooted traditions.
Sculpture traditionally involved carving or modeling in materials such as stone, metal, ceramics and wood, but since the late 19th century there has been an almost complete freedom of materials and processes. Sculpture generally distinguishes between free-standing sculpture, such as statues and busts, and reliefs, which are attached to a background surface.