Prince of Liechtenstein to sell hundreds of works of art at Christie's

April auction will include paintings as well as antiques


The main sale will be held in Amsterdam on 1 April, with estimates ranging from E300 to E300,000 ($440 to $440,000). Items on offer include furniture, paintings, sculptures, clocks and tapestries.

The auction is something of a surprise, since Prince Hans-Adam II has previously expressed regret that financial problems had forced his family to sell important works of art after World War II. However, the present sale is of lesser objects, and is partly to save space (800 chairs are being offered).

Most of the important items in the princely collection are either in the Liechtenstein Museum in Vienna or at the schloss in Vaduz and other private residences. “We have been unable to place many other works” in the main palaces and these remain in store, explained the Prince.

The most important lot is a pair of early 17th-century Willem Blaeu globes (E200,000-E300,000). There is also a Dresden bureau cabinet, probably made by Johann Christoph Hesse in the early 1740s (E100,000-E150,000). Altogether the sale with 450 lots is likely to bring in around E2m ($3m), and the distinguished provenance could push prices higher.

Prince Hans-Adam II is extremely wealthy and is ambitiously adding to the collection, particularly for his Vienna museum; he paid £19m ($34m) for the Badminton Cabinet at Christie’s on 9 December 2004. Indeed, the Liechtenstein Museum is probably spending more on acquisitions than any other in Europe (The Art Newspaper, June 2007, pp1,4).

In addition to the Amsterdam sale, 30 paintings from the Prince’s collection are to be sold at Christie’s, King Street, on 9 July. Twenty lots of antiquities will also be sold at Christie’s, South Kensington, on 30 April.

Originally appeared in The Art Newspaper as ‘Prince of Liechtenstein has a clear out'