The Dorotheum Auction House



2015-06-26 10:51:57

The Dorotheum is the largest auction house in Central Europe, the largest in the German-speaking area and one of the leading auctioneers worldwide.

It hosts about 600 auctions per year, with more than 100 specialists attending to over 40 departments in offices throughout Europe including Brussels, Düsseldorf, Munich, Milan and Rome.


The Dorotheum offers items for auction over a range of more than 40 sales categories. The key art categories – Modern Art, Contemporary Art, Old Masters, 19th Century Paintings – and many of the categories of antiques: glass and porcelain, Art Nouveau, silver, sculpture, furniture, design, jewellery and clocks - are of particularly note.

There are specialist departments dedicated to traditional and modern areas of collecting, such as books, coins and medals, autographs, stamps, orders and decorations, historical scientific instruments, historical militaria and weapons. Toys, model railways, old posters, historical radio technology, vintage cars and vehicles are also to be found among the items for auction at the Dorotheum.

The centre point of the auction year is the four main international Auction Weeks, with important auctions in the foremost art and antiques categories. Each specialist area has its own auction. The presentation of the items offered for sale in more than 100 special catalogues per year and a large international clientele ensure worldwide attention.


The firm was founded in 1707 by Emperor Joseph I and, with its history of more than 300 years it is the oldest of the great auction houses of the world.
Eighty years after its foundation as a pawnshop, it moved into the premises of the former Dorothea Convent, whose name it still bears. The magnificent palace – the Palais Dorotheum, which eventually supplanted the old convent in the Dorotheergasse, was completed in 1901.
Today the Palace continues to provide the perfect setting and an attractive ambience for the Dorotheum’s major international auctions.


19th Century Paintings

Mag. Dimitra Reimüller
Dr. Christl Wolf
Dr. Alexander Graf Strasoldo
Dr. Mark MacDonnell
Alessandro Rizzi

The 19th Century Paintings department has produced the best auctions in the Dorotheum’s history with world record prices, most recently for works by Friedrich von Amerling, Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller, Olga Wisinger-Florian and Oswald Achenbach.

Modern & Contemporary Art

Mag. Elke Königseder
Mag. Eva Königseder
Mag. Patricia Pálffy
Dr. Petra Maria Schäpers
Alessandro Rizzi
Maria Cristina Corsini

The department has seen spectacular successes with world record prices and top results for works by artists including Kolo Moser, Schiele, Klimt, Egger-Lienz, Moll, Kokoschka, Modersohn-Becker, Liebermann, Chaim Soutine, Morandi and de Chirico.

Master Drawings and Prints before 1900

Mag. Astrid-Christina Schierz

These auctions ranges from the draftsmanship of the Old Masters through to drawings and sketches made by important artists of the 19th century. The spectrum of prints embraces a whole variety of techniques, from woodcarving through to etching.

Modern Prints

Dr. Monika Meindl

The department exhibits an extensive collection of lithography, etchings, woodcuts and serigraphy.

Old Master Paintings

Prof. Dr. Peter Wolf
Dr. Alexander Graf Strasoldo
Dr. Mark MacDonnell
Michael Hatzl
Dr. Maria Cristina Paoluzzi

The Dorotheum is continental Europe’s leading auction house for Old Masters, and has in recent years seen world record prices such as 7 million Euros for Frans Francken’s masterpiece ‘The Human who has to decide between Virtue and Vice’.


Mag. Eva Königseder

The Photography Auction, which takes place once a year at the Dorotheum in Vienna, features both contemporary photography and historic images from the early days of photography.

Watercolours and Miniatures

Dr. Brigitte Huck

19th century watercolours, landscapes, city veduta, genre scenes and still lifes are all offered, as well as miniature portraits from the 17th century onwards, up to the advent of photography.

Art Nouveau and Art Déco

Dr. Julia Blaha

One of the main focuses of the Jugendstil and Art Déco department is high quality works of the Viennese Jugendstil movement, including art objects and furniture by architects and designers from the turn of the century, such as Josef Hoffmann, Otto Prutscher, Adolf Loos, Koloman Moser, Otto Wagner and Michael Powolny.

Antique Scientific Instruments and Globes

Simon Weber-Unger

Twice a year medical equipment and models, pharmaceutical equipment, microscopes, telescopes, binoculars and other optical equipment, meteorological instruments and equipment, chronological (sundials) and measuring equipment (geodesy), models of machines and ships, globes and planetaria are auctioned at the Palais Dorotheum.


Wolfgang Matschek

The Dorotheum offers a large selection of carpets from Europe and Asia (e.g. Caucasus or Turkmenistan) in their special furniture auctions and as part of their regular smaller furniture and antiques auctions.


Dr. Gerti Draxler
Susanne Hochstetter

The department deals with all the recognised design classics of the 20th and 21st century, from the earliest design phases of the Wiener Secession through Bauhaus, constructivism and on to the radical design objects of the post modern and deconstructivism.

Folk art and Faience

Regina Herbst
Annette Kinsky

Rustic art work of the past, faience, ceramic, pottery and earthenware from the 15th century to the mid 20th century are all included for public sale at the biannual auctions of folk art.

Furniture and Decorative Arts

Ulrich Prinz
Alexander Doczy
Günther Minichreiter

Selected furniture and furnishings from the period of the Renaissance through to Art Nouveau are offered four times a year as part of Doretheum’s important Auction Weeks. Furniture auctions for which there are no catalogues are held twice a week at the Palais Dorotheum and include a wide and multifaceted variety of pieces.

Glass and Porcelain

Ursula Rohringer

Sales have featured items from some of the oldest leading European manufactories of porcelain such as Meissen, the Du Paquier manufactory in Vienna, Kaiserliche Manufaktur in St. Petersburg, Höchst, Fürstenberg, KPM-Berlin, Nymphenburg, Frankenthal, Ludwigsburg, Ansbach, Kelsterbach, the Thuringian Manufactories and other smaller manufactories of the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries.


Erzpriester Chr. Pijnenburg

The selections include icons from around the world depicting Christ, the Virgin, the apostles and saints.

Imperial Court Memorabilia

Dr. Georg Ludwigstorff

Auctions offer historical objects such as the estates of higher noble families or personal articles of historical import, as well as portraits of rulers from the House of Habsburg, the House of Wittelsbach, the Russian Imperial Family, Austrian-Hungarian higher nobility and others, and a variety of historical paintings.

Longcase and Mantle Clocks, Wall Regulators, Travelling Timepieces

Peter Hüttler

Auctions at the Vienna Dorotheum include rare works made by English, French and Viennese clockmakers including curiosities such as singing bird automatons.


Christine Masser

Items for auction include important wooden, stone and terracotta sculpture from the Gothic period, the Renaissance, the Italian Baroque and Classical periods, as well as Flemish, Austrian and Southern German works.

Silver and Metalwork

Dr. Georg Ludwigstorff

Work from the hands of silver and goldsmiths from the Middle Ages through to the Art Nouveau period are featured in the Dorotheum’s silver auctions. Their auctions boast a wide selection of works originating from the large historical centres of silversmithy such as Augsburg, Nuremberg, Vienna, London, Paris, Moscow or St. Petersburg as well as creations from famous workshops such as Fabergé.


Mag. Andreas Löbbecke

For over 100 years the Dorotheum has been holding its own specialist auctions of autographs. In the twice yearly auctions, collectors can find autographs of well-known figures from the widest variety of genres, such as history, science, philosophy, music, the visual arts, architecture, literature, theatre and film.

Antique Arms, Uniforms and Militaria

Karl Hellmer
Reg. Rat Mag. Friedrich Mayer

The selection includes all familiar types of weapon, whether designed for representative purposes, for sporting activities, for hunting or for war, which were used both in Europe and further afield, providing a fascinating glimpse into the art of weapons-making as far away as South East Asia.

Books and Decorative Prints

Kurt Szendi

The Dorotheum’s book auctions offer rare books originating from the 15th to the 20th centuries as well as incunabulum, books of woodcuts, old atlases, illustrated books, Viennensia, Austriaca etc. covering art and art history, science, geography and literature.

Coins and Medals

Mag. Michael Beckers
Dr. Norbert Helmwein

The Dorotheum’s coins department covers two and a half thousand years of history, and extends from antique coins to the Middle Ages (Europe with particular focus on Austria, Bohemia, Hungary, Germany) and through to the modern age (international, with particular focus on the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation, Austria, Germany, Bohemia and Moravia, Hungary, Italy) and the present day.

Comics and Comic Art

Gerhard Krusche

Collectors will find well-known comic series such as Micky Mouse, Donald Duck, Scrooge & Co, and adventure stories with Nick, Sigurd, Silberpfeil or Tarzan. Original drawings and lithography are also included in the Dorotheum comic auctions, as are commercial cells and rare figures.

Classic Cars

Wolfgang Humer
Ernst Pilger
Peter Frohnwieser
Gert Fasching
Joachim Althammer
Johannes Graf Walderdorff
Heinrich Schubert

The department covers obscure pre-war vehicles from the early days of automotive history to sports car icons of the likes of Ferrari, Porsche or Jaguar to modern era classics; from the two-wheeled protagonists of mass motorization such as Puch, DKW or NSU to the lifestyle scooters of Vespa and Lambretta to motorcycle-classics such as Harley Davidson, Indian or Triumph; from the rarest hood ornaments to original brochures.

Decorative Objects, Objects of Vertu and Small Silver Objects

Regina Herbst
Mag. Sonja Evelyn Höpp

Film and Cinema History

Gerhard Krusche

This specialist division is dedicated to everything concerned with film and the history of film as well as historical photography, including film posters and souvenir pictures of actors in films and the theatre, along with film programmes, film magazines, billboard photographs or original signatures from famous film and stage actors.


Ferenz Moharos

Auctions of furs take place at the Palais Dorotheum between October and March each year. The auction offerings encompass carefully worked mink in many models and shades as well as valuable furs such as fox, lynx, blackglama, sable, ocelot and exclusive sheepskin coats in a variety of cuts, from modern to classic.

Historical Shares and Paper Money

Gerhard Krusche

Paper money and historical shares are offered within the framework of Dorotheum’s coin auctions. In addition to paper money from all eras and parts of the world, the department covers interesting related objects, such as token money, money used in war time prisoner camps, play money, donation certificates, vouchers as well as documentation and literature on the subject of bank notes.

Hunting, Sporting and Collectors weapons

Ing. Martin Kruschitz

Four times a year hunting, sporting and collectors weapons are auctioned at the Palais Dorotheum.

Jewels and Jewellery

Mag. Astrid Fialka-Herics
Alessandra Thornton
Günther Fröhlich
Günter Eichberger

The department offers glittering valuables dating from the turn of the last century to the present day, gold and silver jewellery, pearls, corals, diamonds and coloured stones as well as small silver objects and loose gemstones.

Motor Vehicles/Technology

Manfred Humer
Gerhard Strauch
Franz Widler

The motor vehicles/technology centre of Traun and Vienna regularly hold auctions of vehicles, machines and technical equipment at locations throughout Austria.

Musical instruments

János Márkus-Barbarossa

The auction of musical instruments at the Dorotheum in Vienna offers a unique selection of fine instruments from throughout Europe. The wide range covers fine violins, cellos, violas through to clarinets, saxophones, double horns and flugel horns through to violin zithers, lutes or traverse flutes.

Orders and Decorations

Dr. Georg Ludwigstorff

Orders and decorations from Austria-Hungary, Europe and overseas, as well as international decorations, rings of honour and documents play a central role in the Dorotheum’s special auctions. Examples include the Franz Joseph medal, the Iron Crown medal or the Turkish Osmanje medal, the Order of St. Andrew, the Order of the Yamburg Ulanen and the Order of the Siberian Cossack Army.

Posters and Advertising Art

Gerhard Krusche

Poster art from the past and advertising from its early days, posters by important artists as well as advertising signboards and objects of historical and social significance form the focus of this department.


Erich Kosicek
Gernot Abfalter
Mag. Gerhard Babor
Adolf Kovar
Fritz Sturzeis

The Dorotheum’s Department of Philately has a tradition of around 100 years and during that time it has overseen the auctioning of a wide selection of classical and modern stamps from Europe and abroad. Valuable single issues and complete sets, interesting cancellations, franking marks, airmail and zeppelin post are all represented as are rare forgeries and historical postcards.


Manfred Reichel
Dr. Helmuth Stadler
Gudrun Groh-Pracher
Prof. Dr. Gerhard Bruckmann

The Dorotheum’s toy auctions feature dolls and teddy bears, historical tin toys and model trains. Brands such as Arnold, Bing, Carette, Distler, Doll, Elastolin, Fleischmann, Hausser, JNF, Lehmann, Lineol, Märklin, Matchbox, Schoenner, Wollner and offerings from numerous other renowned and traditional toy manufacturers from around the world.

Tribal Art

Prof. Erwin Melchardt

The Dorotheum's selection is extended by “Tribal art". International demand for objects created by the peoples of Africa, Indonesia, Asia, Australia, North- and South America is steadily increasing.

Vintage Radios

Erwin Macho

Detector equipment, radios dating from the early days of radio and curiosities such as boxed gramophones, disc music boxes or jukeboxes, pin-ball machines and shellacs provide a detailed glimpse into the history and technology of entertainment electronics.

Wrist and pocket watches

Günther Fröhlich
Günter Eichberger

The top-quality offerings range from historical pocket watches through to the timeless and elegant wristwatches of renowned brands, such as Jaeger LeCoultre, Iwc – Schaffhausen, Omega, Breitling, Heuer, Rolex, Baume & Mercier, Cartier, Chopard, Glashütte Original, Lange und Söhne, Panerai, Girard Perregaux, Vacheron & Constantin, and Zenith.

Vintage Cameras and Accessories

Simon Weber-Unger

The sale at the Palais Dorotheum in Vienna offers lovers of technological gimmicks and photographic experts a selection of vintage cameras and equipment, such objects from the pre-cinema period as cameras obscura, projectors, and various technical and optical devices.

Notable sales


  • ‘The Human who has to decide between Virtue and Vice’ by Frans Francken, sold for €7.02 million
  • An oil on canvas by artist Friedrich von Amerling sold for €1.5 million
  • ‘Achrome 958/59/000’ by Piero Manzoni, sold for €1,112,000


  • A Ludwig van Beethoven signed letter sold for €41,480

Classic cars

  • A Mercedes Benz 300 SL Roadster sold for €360,000


  • A Märklin passenger steamboat ‘Wien/Vienna’, sold for €39,100
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