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They covered different phases of the artist’s oeuvre, ranging from 1916-54. All belonged to a south German collection and were fresh to the market. In the event they all went to different south German private buyers.

The earliest painting, Strasse in Stocksund (Street in Stocksund), an 18in x 2ft (46 x 60cm) canvas, was painted in 1916 during the artist’s year and a half stay in Scandinavia. It was expected to bring €80,000 but the hammer fell at €125,000 (£107,760).

The next painting, Auf dem Balkon (On the Balcony) from 1933, was presumably painted during Münter’s trip to northern Italy and went on to sell for €150,000 (£129,310), more than double the guide.

The following lot did the same: a Portrait of Hanna Stirnemann from 1934. Stirnemann was the first woman to be appointed as a director of a German museum.

Her tenure at the town museum in Jena was, however, short-lived. Her first exhibition was devoted to women painters and included 25 works by Münter and fell foul of the new German government.

Soon afterwards she resigned.

Her portrait went from €40,000 to a hammer of €85,000 (£73,275). A more conventional floral still-life from 1954, typical of many of the artist’s post-war works, sold at €56,000 (£48,275).

Venetian views

The German painter Friedrich Nerly (1807-78) enjoyed great success with his views of Venice, which he sold to the international visitors to the city. He often repeated popular subjects, sometimes – as in the case of his most famous painting The Piazzetta in Moonlight – more than 35 times.

On May 10 at Karl & Faber (29.75% buyer’s premium) in Munich, Nerly’s Casa di Desdemona on the Canal Grande, a 1ft 10in x 18in (55 x 45cm) canvas from c.1850, was one of the top lots, changing hands for a mid-estimate €75,000 (£64,655).

A well-known engraving by Albrecht Dürer, his iconic Knight, Death and Devil from 1513, brought the same price, but in this case the bidders went way above the estimate of €45,000.

Several surprise results emerged in the auction. Among them was the international interest for a recently discovered Still Life with Roses by the Dutch painter Otto Marseus van Schrieck (c.1614/20-1678), probably painted in the 1660s. It came from an Austrian collection and was priced at €10,000-15,000, but was finally sold at €30,000 and went to a European collector.

A 13 x 16in (32 x 40cm) painting by Alexandre Calame (1810-64) caused even more commotion in the room. His Sunlight among Fir Trees was modestly guided at €4000- 5000 and after prolonged bidding it was sold to a German collector for €28,000 (£21,140) against strong competition from the London trade.

Icon surprise

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A Russian icon with silver oklad of the Virgin of Vladimir sold for to SFr67,000 (£51,390), at Dobiaschosky.

Tucked away among the international paintings in the extensive auction at Dobiaschosky (22% buyer’s premium) in Berne on May 8-11 was a Russian icon which caused the biggest surprise for the saleroom and consignor.

The Virgin of Vladimir, also known as the Vladimirskaya is based on a 12th century Byzantine icon and is the most popular depiction of the Mother of God in the Russian Orthodox Church.

It derives its name from Vladimir, a medieval city some 120 miles east of Moscow, which was the 12th century capital of Russia.

The 16 x 11in (41 x 27cm), possible 18th century painting, executed in tempera on wood, was fitted with a silver and cloisonné enamel oklad, which bears the marks of the Moscow master Andrej Michajlowitsch Postnikow and the date mark for 1887.

The guide was SFr12,000. However, the international bidders were willing to go way beyond it and pushed the price to SFr67,000 (£51,390), which was also the top result of the sale.

An earlier Cretan icon was the sale leader in the April 12-13 Russian works of art auction held by Hargesheimer in Dusseldorf.

A late 15th century triptych of the Lamentation of Christ, flanked by depictions of the Annunciation and of several saints, was attributed to the Cretan painter Nikolaos Tzafoures and went to a Russian collector for the catalogue price of €90,000 (£77,585).