It seems that Brexit has not stopped the market yet, and Christie’s now just aims for new records in London this march, announcing the top lot of its sale of Postwar & Contemporary on March 6 and 7 :Warhol, Basquiat, Fontana, Burri, Pollock, Bacon, Richter, Flavin are the leading names expected to reach record prices, with a avery high quality works selection.
24 vertical cuts of dramatic perfection are in the 2m “Concetto spaziale, attese” (1965) by Lucio Fontana. A work of absolute rarity already presented in preview a Hong Kong e which will go on sale in London this March with a $11-16.6 millions bidding start. Originally owned by Carla Panicali for more than 30 years, the work set the world auction record for the artist’s tagli when it sold to the present owner in 1998. Not only are the formal qualities of Concetto Spaziale, Attese unique in Fontana’s oeuvre but a dedication written by the artist on the reverse reads: Yesterday Tro-tro Klein came to visit me. The visitor in question is Rotraut Klein, the sister of Günther Uecker, the widow of Yves Klein (who died in 1962), and an artist in her own right. As well as recording Fontana’s personal friendship with Rotraut Klein, the inscription bears witness to a key artistic exchange at the heart of the post-war European avant-garde. Fontana and Yves Klein had worked closely with Günther Uecker, Piero Manzoni, Heinz Mack and Otto Piene as part of ZERO, united in their exploration of light and space without representation or illusion.
With its visionary usage of withe and polished black, shadows and light in the dialectic relation between blank and full surfaces and in the reflections of spaces and other energies to guess and explore beyond the canvas, Concetto Spaziale, Attese, is a unmatched example in Fontana’s research. Engaging with a new form of conceptual purity that was emerging in the mid-1960s, Concetto spaziale, Attese also reflects Fontana’s fascination with the developments of American Minimalism.
Mariolina Bassetti, Head of Southern Europe Post-War & Contemporary Art, Christie’s: “We are delighted to present this special collection which is led by two major Italian artists in the context of their international peers. The sense of material which is at the core of Italian Post-War art runs through this collection. One can see, touch and feel the purity of iron, Cor- Ten steel, bronze, canvas, lacquer and light in this highly sensuous group. The Fontana is a truly remarkable object where minimalism and a sense of adventure to find a new space come together in a gorgeous symphony of 24 cuts on white canvas, which would never be repeated by Fontana in one piece.”
Indeed, together with this work there will be all very high-profile lots, as the leading a series of six late self-portraits by Andy Warhol created in 1986, just months before his unexpected death. (The suite is priced at £16–22 million, $22–30 million). In this exclusive block we unsubtly then have to mention the Basquiat for $13.8-20.7 millions, the extraordinary work by Francis Bacon which was included in his historic retrospective at Grand Palais, as well as major works by Richter, Dan Flavin, Daniel Buren and Thomas Schütte (Bronzefrau Nr. 7). Looking to our italian artist, there will be also a very interesting work by Alberto Burri , Ferro T (1959), with an absolute charm in its complex alchemy of metal layers, part of the well-known series of the “Irons” and estimated $4.000.000/7.000.000.
Also very rare is then the iconic work by Pollock, Number 21 (1950), one of his major works, at the highest point of his dripping technique, included in the landmark exhibition by Betty Parson in 1950.
All work will be on view at Christie’s London from February 28th to March 6th
After the release of the 2017 total sale result for $6.6 billion (+26% dal 2016), Christie’s seems bent to welcome the 2018 in the most successful way, confirming and consolidating from the very first moment its role as leading player of the market .
While waiting for another history-making (and secure record-making) auction, namely the collezione Peggy e David Rockefeller collection on next spring, the auction house continues in a very high level line of proposal. With a great optimism for a growing confidence by buyers, despite they’re now willing to spend just for very masterpieces.
Francis Outred, Head of Post-War & Contemporary Art, confirmed this is a very favourable moment fair the market, especially due a recent correction in the global equities market could also boost bidding activity. “Historically, whenever we’ve seen this kind of situation in the [equities] markets, it has brought positivity to the art market because people are withdrawing their stocks, and they tend to have more money to spend on art” he said. He’s also very confident with a boost in sales also in London, describing the city as a “crossroads of the global market,” Outred argued that it’s unlikely that political and economic uncertainty surrounding Brexit would affect the upcoming London auctions. “The works come to London to sell, and then they get sold [to buyers] all over the world” he said. “The impact of Brexit is less than you would think.”