Van Ham

Hitzelerstr. 2, Cologne, Germany 50968
+49 221-92-58-62-0

About Auction House

In 1959 the art historian Carola van Ham founded the auction house "Kunsthaus am Museum" in her hometown of Cologne. As the first female auctioneer in Europe, she quickly led the company into the top group of German auction houses with optimism, business acumen and in-depth knowledge of art history. Van Ham is not only distinguished by its auction program, but also by its unique and extensive scientific commitment. Through constant art research, the house makes a decisive contribution to the networking of science and the art market.

Auction Previews & News

2 Results
  • Auction Preview
    From A Universal Collector – The Olbricht Collection

    Cindy Sherman’s self-portraits have defined her artistic career after over four decades of development. By placing herself in different scenes and roles, she has intimately explored perceptions of feminism and representation. Van Ham’s upcoming auction of the Olbricht Collection will highlight three Sherman self-portraits, including a black-and-white print from her first round of photographs in 1979. Sherman is referenced in two additional works in the sale. American photographer Robert Mapplethorpe captured her in a 1983 photoshoot and Japanese appropriation artist Morimura Yasumasa alludes to Sherman’s famous Untitled #96 in a 1998 reimagined self-portrait.   Another female artist exploring themes of feminism under the male gaze is Vanessa Beecroft. She is an Italian performance artist known for her arrangements of nude women. Available in this event is a set of three props used in her VB64 performance, held in New York in 2008. In the original show, 20 models were painted to resemble marble Renaissance funerary statues. The living women laid next to wax sculptures, three of which now come to auction.   The event will feature the collection of Thomas Olbricht, a physician and chemist who has amassed a well-known and sizeable collection of contemporary art. A selection of his Wunderkammer or Cabinet of Curiosities objects will complete the auction. Visit the Van Ham website to place a bid. 

  • Artists, Auction Industry
    Artist to Know: Vanessa Beecroft

    Installation Sculptures from Performance Artist Available in Upcoming Van Ham Event Perhaps best known for the controversies she has courted, Italian performance artist Vanessa Beecroft has rarely failed to push the boundaries. Her conceptual performances have used women’s bodies to explore themes of gender, eating disorders, and race. Routinely crossing the line between the art and commercial worlds, Beecroft’s work has stirred conversation around the contradictions present in modern culture.  “It's the perfect product of a time when we claim to despise reality TV but secretly watch it; fear globalisation but cherish that Starbucks latte,” Nick Johnstone wrote for The Guardian in 2005. “... like all great art, Vanessa Beecroft's performances beam that uncomfortable truth right back at us.”  Three paraffin wax sculptures from Beecroft’s 2008 VB64 performance art piece will come to auction with Van Ham on September 26th, 2020. Find out more about Beecroft before placing a bid.  Vanessa Beecroft at a performance. Image from Widewalls. The daughter of a British classic car dealer and an Italian teacher, Beecroft grew up in the small town of Malcesine, Italy. After her parents separated, the artist lived with her mother in an environment with “no cars, no men, no meat.” Her early experiences planted the seeds for her later development and artistic vision, especially after she developed an eating disorder at the age of 12. Beecroft began chronicling the food she ate and the exercise she compulsively completed. She started pursuing art in earnest during college by putting her food logs on display with live performance models. Early on, she was discovered by New York dealer Jeffrey Deitch and debuted on the global stage.  Beecroft has spent the rest of her career experimenting with the bodies of women in performance art. Her models, typically numbering between 15 and 50 in a single performance, are described as the medium of her tableaux vivants—  “a material in an almost pure state.” Beecroft views her art as autobiographical as she projects her own insecurities and struggles on the models. Though she rarely involves herself in the performances, each show is named after her…

  • Auction Industry
    Van Ham to Offer Over 500 Works from the Olbricht Collection

    Thomas Olbricht (Photo Courtesy: Der Spiegel) The art world was disappointed in May when top German collector Thomas Olbricht announced the closure of his private museum, me Collectors Room Berlin. Now, the Essen-based doctor and scientist is unloading some 500 pieces from his private collection, including numerous works from his cabinet of curiosities this September at Cologne-based auction house Van Ham. Olbricht began collecting at five years old, buying toy cars, stamps, matchboxes, and later butterflies. In the 1980s, Olbricht started collecting post-war German art, beginning with the work of local artists. Since then, Olbricht has built one of the most extensive private collections in Europe. His collection encompasses works from the early 16th-century to contemporary art. Olbricht once said, “Collecting is part of my life cycle and as my focus in life changes, so does my collection.” Olbricht, who has been included in the Top 200 Collector list of ARTnews 12 times, is deaccessioning selections from his collection beginning September 26, 2020. “From a Universal Collector - The Olbricht Collection” will include nearly 200 contemporary and modern paintings, photographs, sculptures, and installations by such artists as George Condo, Cindy Sherman, Gerhard Richter, Thomas Schütte, and Marlene Dumas, along with young South American and Chinese artists. The sale will take place exclusively through Van Ham, one of the leading auction houses in Germany. “Such a famous collection has never been auctioned in Germany before,” said Van Ham. Among the top lots is George Condo’s Screaming Couple, 2005, with an estimate of USD 354,600 – $591,000. George Condo, Screaming Couple, 2005 (Photo Courtesy: Van Ham Art Auctions) Other notable lots include one of the first photographs from Cindy Sherman, Untitled Film #39, with an estimate of $94,395 – $141,830. Cindy Sherman, Untitled Film Still #39, 1979 (Photo Courtesy: Van Ham Art Auctions) The Untitled Film Stills is a suite of 70 black-and-white photographs in which the artist poses as various female film characters, including a working girl, ingénue, vamp, and lonely housewife. Also hitting the auction block at Van Ham is Untitled (Target), created in 2001 by Swiss performance artist and…