Lucio Fontana (1899-1968), Concetto spaziale, Attesa, firma, titolo e iscrizione l. Fontana "Concetto spaziale" ATTESA Oggi ò [sic] proprio una gran malinconia (sul retro), idropittura su tela, cm 61x54. Eseguito nel 1964-65. Estimate: Euro 600,000 – 900,000. Photo: Christie's Images Ltd 2015.
MILAN.- Christie’s presents the annual sale of Milan Modern and Contemporary, taking place on 28 and 29 April 2015 at Palazzo Clerici, Milan. Following the strong results of last year’s auction, which realised €9.8 million, this year continues to meet the market’s ever growing appetite for Italian works by offering a wide array of museum quality works by some of the great modern masters such as Lucio Fontana, Enrico Castellani, Agostino Bonalumi and Paolo Scheggi through to Arte Povera artists such as Alighiero Boetti and Michelangelo Pistoletto as well as by some Modern classics including Giorgio Morandi and Gino Severini.
Mariolina Bassetti, Chairman of Christie's Italy, and International Director in the Post-War & Contemporary Art Department: “The Global demand for 20th century Italian Art has never been higher, as witnessed during the record Italian Art sale in London in October 2013, and in February 2014 when the single owner sale ‘Eyes Wide Open: An Italian Vision’ set a benchmark for Post-War Italian art and Arte Povera, making Christie’s the market leader for 20th century Italian art”.
Renato Pennisi, Director and Senior Specialist, Head of Sale for the Modern and Contemporary Art Department, Christie’s Italy: "We are pleased to offer a special selection of works from some of the most acclaimed Italian artists of the 20th Century, each of which are fresh to the market and coming directly from prestigious private collections. This confirms Milan as an international platform to buy and sell Italian masterpieces".
Epitomising the creative dynamism and influential legacy of the 60s and 70s in Italy, the sale presents almost 90 works and will be led by Lucio Fontana’s Concetto Spaziale, Attese, which is considered to be among the most perfect examples of the artist’s cuts in the most pristine condition (estimate: €600,000-€900,000). Fresh to the market, this perfect single white cut in immaculate condition is an iconic and elegant piece, a must have for any discerning collector. As a painter and sculptor, Fontana was a pioneer in the exploration of infinite space, pushing the boundaries of the canvas in the search for a new aesthetic language. 'With the slash’, he said, ‘I invented a formula that I don't think I can perfect. I managed with this formula to give the spectator an impression of spatial calm, of cosmic rigour, of serenity in infinity'. Further Fontana highlights include the ceramic sculpture Concetto Spaziale, (estimate: €120,000– €180,000) and the painting Concetto Spaziale, Attese from 1960 (estimate: €500,000–€800,000).
Lucio Fontana (1899-1968), Concetto spaziale, firmata l. fontana (sulla base), ceramica policroma, diam. cm 23. Realizzata nel 1960-66 c. Opera registrata presso la Fondazione Lucio Fontana, Milano, n. 330/186. Estimate: Euro 120,000 – 180,000. Photo: Christie's Images Ltd 2015.
Lucio Fontana (1899-1968), Concetto Spaziale, Attese, firma, titolo e iscrizione l. Fontana "Concetto Spaziale" ATTESE quando uno va in treno si addormenta? (sul retro), idropittura su tela, cm 65,4x54,3. Eseguito nel 1964. Estimate: Euro 120,000 – 180,000. Photo: Christie's Images Ltd 2015.
Fontana influenced many of his contemporaries including Castellani, Bonalumi, Scheggi & Simeti who were all simultaneously questioning traditional approaches to painting. Castellani’s Superficie argento, is an exquisite example of the artist’s series of Superfici, produced in a very rare and elegant silver tone (estimate: €150,000–€200,000). Inspired by the slashed canvas, Scheggi aimed to challenge the dynamics of perception with their optically complex works, as we can see in Intersuperficie curva dal rosso, which was executed in 1963, early in the artist’s tragically short career (estimate: €300,000-€500,000).
Enrico Castellani (N. 1930), Superficie argento, firme, titolo e data Castellani Castellani - Superficie argento - 1996 (sul retro), acrilico su tela estroflessa, cm 80x80. Eseguito nel 1996. Opera registrata presso l'Archivio Enrico Castellani, Milano, n. 96-015, come da autentica su fotografia. Estimate: Euro 150,000–200,000. Photo: Christie's Images Ltd 2015.
Paolo Scheggi (1940-1971), Intersuperficie curva dal rosso, firmato e datato Paolo Scheggi 63 (sul retro), acrilico rosso su tre tele sovrapposte, cm 80x50. Eseguito nel 1963. Estimate: Euro 300,000-500,000. Photo: Christie's Images Ltd 2015.
Further highlights include two stunning three dimensional works by Agostino Bonalumi. Bianco, 1965 (estimate: €180,000-€200,000), and Nero, 1963 (estimate: €180,000-€250,000) are both elegant examples of the artist’s practice from one of the most important years of his early career. Reconceiving the canvas as a perceptual object in its own right, in the early 1960s Bonalumi began making works by inserting dimpled cushions beneath the pictorial surface, creating a basic formal terrain upon which light, colour and space could interact.
Agostino Bonalumi (1935-2013), Bianco, firmato e datato A. Bonalumi 65 (sul retro), tela estroflessa e tempera vinilica, cm 70x59,8. Eseguito nel 1965. Opera registrata presso l'Archivio Agostino Bonalumi, Milano, n. 65-078 come da autentica su fotografia. Estimate: Euro 180,000-200,000. Photo: Christie's Images Ltd 2015.
Agostino Bonalumi (1935-2013), Nero, firmato e datato Bonalumi 63 (sul retro), tela estroflessa e tempera vinilica, cm 81x61. Eseguito nel 1963. Opera registrata presso l'Archivio Agostino Bonalumi, Milano, n. 63-002, come da autentica su fotografia. Estimate: Euro 180,000-200,000. Photo: Christie's Images Ltd 2015.
The sale also features a selection of works by Alighiero Boetti, including Il progressivo svanire della consuetudine consisting of 5 panels, which is rare work to acquire at auction (estimate: €350,000–€550,000). Handcrafted circa 1974 through a lengthy process of cross-hatching lines with biro pen, when viewed collectively the hundreds of thousands of striations merge into a scintillating sea of ball point pen work. Boetti's coded linguistic system spells out its title from left to right across the five fluctuating monochrome fields of colour and embodies its self-reflexive title, which means ‘The progressive vanishing of habit’.
Alighiero Boetti (1940-1994), Il progressivo svanire della consuetudine, penna biro nera su carta applicata su tela, cinque elementi, cm 100x350 (totale); cm 100x70 (ogni elemento). Eseguito nel 1974 c. Opera registrata presso l'Archivio Alighiero Boetti, Roma, n. 6208, come da autentica su fotografia in data 25 maggio 2009 (5). Estimate: Euro 350,000–550,000. Photo: Christie's Images Ltd 2015.
Alighiero | Clino | Michelangelo
At the origins of Arte Povera: three seminal works from the collection of Clino Trini Castelli
Christie's presents three significant works by Michelangelo Pistoletto and Alighiero Boetti from the collection of Clino T. Castelli, renowned Milanese designer and theorist of ‘no form’ language. These three seminal works of Arte Povera include a very rare portrait that Pistoletto made for his friend Clino. Portrait of Clino 1963 (estimate: €350,000– €550,000) is one of the first portraits painted on the mirror series called 'velina' whereby Pistoletto applied painted tissue onto a mirrored surface; Drawing 5 of 1962, also by Michelangelo Pistoletto (estimate: €80,000€120,000), and Alighiero Boetti’s historic Emme I Elle Elle from 1970 (estimate: €120,000€180,000).
Michelangelo Pistoletto (N. 1933), Ritratto di Clino, firma, iscrizione e data Pistoletto all'amico Clino con viva simpatia 1963 (sul retro), velina dipinta su acciaio inox lucidato a specchio, cm 75,5x50. Eseguito nel 1963. Estimate: Euro 350,000–550,000. Photo: Christie's Images Ltd 2015.
Alighiero Boetti (1940-1994), EMME I ELLE ELLE E..., vernice spray su legno, cm 35x34,7.Eseguito nel 1970. Opera registrata presso l'Archivio Alighiero Boetti, Roma, n. 205. Estimate: Euro 350,000–550,000. Photo: Christie's Images Ltd 2015.
Beyond forming a cohesive and historically important collection of works, these works are a testament to the special friendship between Clino, Alighiero and Michelangelo. At the same time, they represent an important tribute to an entire period, echoing the great cultural turmoil and the profound transformations of artistic languages that the artists were a part of.