Winter Sale of the Wolf Collection at Artcurial Paris



This winter, Artcurial, the leading French auction house will be presenting the sale of the Liuba and Ernesto Wolf collection in ‘The Art of the Collection’. The sale will cover a wide variety of different art objects broken in to two sales at the start of December.  The collection has been on show at the auction house since the start of November and will be on display until the sales begin.

Hailing from South America, Ernesto Wolf began his career collecting art in 1950 when he met his wife Liuba in Brazil. Liuba, a sculptor, and Ernesto built their collection over sixty years, developing a varied and eclectic mix of art objects. In it’s in its entirety the collection is made up of almost 300 items, in an impressive array of genres and mediums.

The first sale on the 1st December covers the early Greek and Medieval part of the collection as well as some modern prints, ancient books and manuscripts. This sale will also contain some of the key highlights, including works by Rouault, Matisse, Picasso and Chagall.

The second sale which will take place on the 10th December will focus on Ernesto and Liuba’s collection of Tribal art. The Wolf Tribal art collection originated in the 1950s and is comprised solely of a single item, the spoon. Made up of 127 pieces from a variety of Sub-Saharan Africa ethnic groups.

We spoke with Bruno Jaubert, Head of the Impressionist and Modern department at Artcurial to find out more about the collection.

  • What’s the most significant thing about the sale which makes it distinctive?

The Lubia and Ernesto Wolf Collection is particularly significant since it gathers objects from numerous and very diverse specialties – the encyclopedic manner is perhaps akin to the curiosity cabinet of the 16-17th centuries.

It is nowadays increasingly rare to find such a diverse and sophisticated collection, and especially one that is still privately owned, such as the Wolf Collection.

  • What have been some of the hurdles with putting on such a large and eclectic sale?

It has been a wonderful experience putting together such a large and eclectic sale. Having the opportunity to coordinate with specialist across so many fields in order to fully dissect the hidden treasures of the collection has been a real joy.

  • How have you found the reception for the sale so far?

The reception for the sale has been unanimously positive so far. Collectors seem to be particularly attracted to the quality of the collection but also the scarcity of the objects across the multiple specialties.

  • How many people are you expecting & where are you expecting the majority of bidders to be coming from?

Collectors with a broad range of interests have expressed interest in the Wolf Collection; for instance, some contemporary art collectors have expressed interest in the Cycladic objects. We are expecting international bidders mainly from Europe and the United States.

  • Why is the sale-taking place now?

The sale is scheduled for the first week of December to coincide with the major Impressionist and Modern art, and Post-War and Contemporary sales week in Paris, when international collectors will focus their attention on the Paris market.

This is a wonderful opportunity to highlight a private collection of such importance, diversity and quality, as the Wolf Collection.

  • How much are you expecting to make on the collection as a whole?

The estimate for the collection as a whole is 3,5 – 4 M € Euros?

  •  Are you finding there is a strong demand in the current market for the specialist items within the collection, for example the glass collection or collection of tribal spoons?

Demand is driven by the quality of the objects, whatever their specialty may be.

Lot 51 cuiller Dan collection Wolf - © Artcurial C

Lot 51 cuiller Dan collection Wolf – © Artcurial C

The expert’s conclusion:

It is increasingly rare to see a collection come to market that is as multidisciplinary and of such high quality as The Liuba and Ernesto Wolf Collection. We are confident that the collection will yield strong results at auction as collectors relish this exceptional opportunity.