Sculptures at auction


One of the surprises of last month’s auction at Galerie Moderne was the little elephant (above, 10 cm tall) by the Belgian sculptor Alberic Collin (1886-1962), initially estimated at some hundreds euros, which reached the sum of 18.000 euros in the heat produced by telephone bidders. Although this sculptor was already an international figure during his lifetime (he won the gold medal at the “Salon des independants” in Paris in 1922), the school of Belgian animal sculptors has been unfairly neglected these days. There might be a tendency to recover this part of the Belgian heritage. You are invited to follow it in the auction on Wednesday where several interesting items will be sold.
Some pieces by Albert Hager (1857-1940), all of them in plaster, caught my attention. He, as a contemporary of Collin, worked also around Antwerp’s zoo when the Belgian animal sculpture was a world reference. His sculptures are less stylized than Collin’s but their compositions are very original and full of movement.
Lot 1031 represents a hippo being attacked by a crocodile while a second one attacks the attacker. The composition is very dynamic, with some violence but no excessive pain. Its estimated price is around 200 euros while an identical version in bronze with black patina was sold last year for 4.000 euros in Brussels. I would bid for this one.
Lot 1043 has the charm of a more static, traditional theme, two wore-down draft horses. This image was part of everyday life a hundred years ago but reminds us now of a past, less mechanized world. 
The panther of lot 1009 has been caught in a very asymmetrical pose just when it snatches a prey. Here the animal protagonist looks lighter and thinner than in the other two sets. Perhaps too thin.
There are also a good number of Asian sculptures, some with certificates of authenticity (lots 1244, 1255, 1270, 1287, 1326). Although the classical serenity of Thai and Khemer sculptures appeals to me especially (see below lot 1273), there is a particular flourishing market for Chinese antiques, controlled by Chinese treasure hunters, a more and more common character in any European auction. 
Finally, there is a good collection (lots 1300-1326) of Pre-Columbian ceramics at rather high prices (from 200 to 1.500 euros).

image credits © Galerie Moderne