Folk art goes online

Mon, 15. Mar. 2021

From 5 to 7 March, collectors and enthusiasts were able to get a glimpse of the valuable private collection of découpages and pictures at Park Gstaad, which will be auctioned off in Basel on 24 March. In particular, the works by local artist Johann Jakob Hauswirth should attract potential buyers to the cultural capital – although auctions are increasingly migrating to the digital.

"This is one of the most important private collections ever to be put up for auction," explained art expert and business manager Nicolas Beurret of Beurret Bailly Widmer Auctions. 18 works of art, exhibited in the Park Gstaad, gave an overview of the planned auction in Basel. The découpages by Johann Jakob Hauswirth in particular attracted the attention and interest of many visitors. The artist is regarded as the founder of Swiss paper cutting art, which conceals much more than everyday Alpine life.

The folk art of paper cutting
"Hauswirth created a subject that numerous artists – including contemporary ones – took up and continue today," Beurret informed. Hauswirth's works show filigree cows, workers, flowers or hearts with geometric elements. They tell the story of the Alpine transhumance or the hunt. In doing so, the artist by no means intended a wholly realistic depiction of Alpine life. Rather, he was interested in combining popular everyday motifs with decorative, poetic elements, so that the result was a picture of extraordinary beauty. He also created larger compositions with multi-layered collages, a technique that intensifies the impressive effect. The artworks reflect a lyrical and cheerful world of life in a special way and are thus anything but profane. The actress Elisabeth Taylor also enjoyed this brilliant art form. She owned what is now Lot 613, which originally hung in her chalet in Gstaad.

More online, less ambiance
The general advance of digitalisation is also having an impact on traditional auctions. According to art expert Beurret, prospective buyers are bidding for art objects primarily online or by telephone. A real auction is characterised by its special ambiance, among other things. "Unfortunately, this feeling is lost online," says Beurret. The migration to the internet is not exclusively due to the corona pandemic, though, but it certainly favoured the trend. According to Beurret, internet auctions are not only increasing because of the banned face-to-face events. The current restrictions further encourage online trading.

Based on AvS/Sophia Grasser

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