Sotheby's to sell treasures from the Bernheimer family collection
Sotheby's are set to offer treasures from the collection of the Bernheimer family, one of Europe's greatest antique dealer dynasties.
The November auction will include more than 500 lots from the German family, who have spent more than 150 years selling antiques and artwork to some of the world's most prestigious collectors.
“It is the dream of any art connoisseur to have had the chance to wander through the Bernheimer Palais’ majestic halls in its days of glory," said Mario Tavella, Sotheby's Deputy Chairman and Head of Single Owner Collections. "This collection reflects the erudite quest of four generations of art dealers for discovering the best art."
Beginning with a Munich market stall in the mid-19th century, the Bernheimer family built their company into the world's foremost supplier of antiques and decorative objects.
During WWII the family were forced to flee to Venzuela as the Nazis appropriated the business, but following the war they returned to Germany and rebuilt their empire, establishing themselves as the “Bloomingdales for Antiques”.
In 1989 Konrad Bernheimer purchased an 11th century Bavarian castle known as Burg Marquartstein, which has since housed the remarkable family collection acquired over more than a century. Now this collection, including furniture, painting, sculpture, porcelain, and fine wine, will be offered for sale in London.
Amongst the countless highlights from the collection are the 'Holbein Chair' which served as the throne for Pope John Paul II during his visit to Munich in 1980; a 1900 lamp regarded as one of the world's first electrified art objects; and the stone Bernheimer Lions, which once stood outside the doors of the great Bernheimer Palais.
“During the 30 years we spent at Burg Marquartstein, my family and I have lived surrounded by works of art and objects that tell the tale of the Bernheimers and reminded us of the extraordinary journey of my ancestors," said Konrad Bernheimer.
"While it was not an easy decision to part with this collection which includes so many treasures and memories, I know it is now time to move on and explore new exciting avenues. This sale is a way to hand over the Bernheimer legacy to the next generation.”
The Bernheimer Collection will be offered across two auctions, an evening sale and a day sale, on November 24-25.
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