A previously unknown landscape by the Swiss artist Ferdinand Hodler is to be auctioned by Sotheby's after it was discovered in a private collection in Germany.
The painting, of the Mönch mountain in the Bernese Oberland, is
expected to fetch about SFr1.5 million.
It had been thought that Hodler completed a total of four variations of the
Mönch while staying in Mürren in 1911, seven years before his death. The fifth
canvas shows the mountain at dawn, just as the sun is about to rise.
The painter's works have been meticulously catalogued by art historians, and it
is rare for hitherto unknown paintings of such high quality to emerge. The
discovery of a new one was therefore greeted with delight by Jura Brüschweiler,
a leading Hodler expert.
Brüschweiler heard of its existence from a German collector who had inherited
the work from his banker father: "The father bought the painting in 1911 or
1912, at a time when major Hodler exhibitions were taking place in German
cities. That explains why it was unmentioned in Swiss art history
Just over two years ago Hodler's "Lake Silvaplana" was sold at Sotheby's
in Zurich for Fr4.2 million - twice the estimated price and a world record at
auction for a Swiss work of art.
The "fifth Mönch" will be auctioned in Zurich on May 29.
swissinfo and agencies