With its 80 years of company history, Stuker is one of the oldest, certainly most traditional and at the same time internationally active auction house in Europe and one of the leading auction houses in Switzerland. With its beautiful premises and an exceptional geographic location between the French and German parts of Switzerland, Stuker invites an international audience twice a year to its May and November auctions.
The founder of the house, Mr. Jürg Stuker (1914-1988), was interested in arts and antiques even back in his early years. His career started with the opening of his first antic shop in Thun on April 1st 1938. Despite Second World War, the young entrepreneur prospered and in 1940 transferred his location to Bern. In 1943 he bought a house at the Krammgasse, in the city’s historic centerwhere he started with his first auctions. Already at this time, an extraordinary rich choice of objects became a special feature of his auctions.
After 25 years of activities, Jürg Stuker could buy an exceptional property – The Rosenberg Villa – near the famous Bear Park and Rose Garden in Bern. These luxurious premises offer an unforgettable auction experience as well as practical amenities for Stuker’s clients.
Thanks to his personal connections Jürg Stuker could not only offer for sale antique Swiss furniture or decorative arts but entire collections of famous European aristocratic houses. One of the most important auctions was the sale of three vermeil services, manufactured by Napoleon Bonaparte’s Goldsmith Biennais for the Empresses Josephine and Marie Louise, as well as for Grand Duchess Stefanie of Baden. Many other valuable pieces changed their owners by Stuker, such as the emerald necklace of Empress Eugenie or the golden Cup of the Rothschild Family. Jürg Stuker was largely appreciated among art and aristocratic society. He was an exceptional auctioneer, known for his sense of humor and original ideas. The imprint of this extraordinary man terminated in 1989, shortly after his death, with a dedicated sale of his personal collection from his castle in Gerzensee.
But before that, in 1976 Jürg Stuker transformed the house into an anonymous society and sold it to another successful entrepreneur – Mr. Charles Vögele. At this moment, the latter had already proven his deep interest in arts establishing a cultural foundation in Pfäffikon near Zurich – now the Vögele Culture Centre.
The new auctioneer, Mr. Ulrich Christian Haldi, supported by the wife of the new owner, Mrs. Agnes Vögele, continued the traditions of the houses and expanded them even more. At this period, on demand of a new generation of collectors, the house Stuker started a series of publications dedicated to different fields of collecting. More substantial books devoted to Swiss craftsmanship – as the Berne silver factory Rehfues or the Swiss “small master” Johan Ludwig Aberli – have been published, too. Thanks to their constant efforts, during the period from 1976 to 2003, Mr. Haldi and his devoted team have been able to position the house Stuker in a predominant way in Switzerland and abroad.
As it often appears in the history of Stuker, the change of the emplacement or its enlargement is a sign of renewal but also of continuity at the same time. Under the direction of the art historian Mr. Peter Vögele, one of Charles Vögele’s sons, the premises have been modernized and transformed by the internationally known architectures Diener&Diener. The protected Villa Rosenberg has been restored following guidelines of the Historical Service of Bern, while the new construction allowed modernizing the saleroom and enlarging exhibition spaces.
In the 21st century, the Auction house Stuker adjusts its services to the demands of another generation of connoisseurs of arts. It uses all modern communication channels following the motto of Mr. Stuker “Discretion and Distinction”.
Nachdem sich Stuker aus dem Auktionsbetrieb zurück gezogen hatte, ging dessen Leitung an den langjährigen Mitarbeiter Ulrich Christian Haldi über, der in seinen Bemühungen das Auktionshaus in der Tradition Stukers weiter zu führen auch von der Gattin des neuen Inhabers, Frau Agnes Vögele unterstützt wurde. Den definitiven Abschluss der Gründerphase markierte 1989 der Verkauf der Privatsammlung von Jürg Stuker durch die von ihm 1938 gegründete Firma, welche sich bis zu seinem Ableben in Stukers ehemaligem Wohnsitz, Schloss Gerzensee, befand. Auf Anregung des neuen Besitzers begann Stuker eine kleine Buchreihe zu bernischen Themen herauszugeben. So entstanden unter anderen Schriften über die Goldschmiedewerkstatt Rehfues und den Maler und Radierer Johann Ludwig Aberli. Dem von 1976 bis 2003 massgeblichen Direktor U. C. Haldi und seinem Team gelang es, das Auktionshaus in der schweizerischen und internationalen Kunsthandelslandschaft erfolgreich zu positionieren.
Wie seit jeher in der Geschichte des Auktionshauses Stuker sind räumliche Veränderungen auch in jüngster Zeit sowohl Ausdruck eines Neubeginns, als auch von Kontinuität. Unter der Leitung eines Sohnes von Charles Vögele, dem Kunsthistoriker Peter Vögele, wurde der Eingangstrakt nach Plänen des international bekannten Architekturbüros Diener & Diener neu gestaltet und in enger Zusammenarbeit mit der Berner Denkmalpflege die geschützte Villa Rosenberg restauriert; gleichzeitig modernisierte man die Auktionsräume sowie die Infrastruktur der Firma. Damit wird Stuker den Anforderungen gerecht, welche an ein Auktionshaus gestellt werden, das man als "Privatbank" unter den schweizerischen Auktionshäusern bezeichnet.