This year Sotheby’s spring auction will be in a very strategic period, between the milan art fair Miart and the Design Week for Salone del Mobile, undoubtedly the best time of the year for art for the city, when it is almost full of events, creative people and international audience:  On April 18 and 19, with 2 sessions, Sotheby’s will score 147 lots from all greatest name of italian postwar as well as modern and contemporary international art.

We have a look to the works both in the catalogue and the preview, and we’d like to enlighten you all can’t-miss highlights of the sale.

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of Sotheby’s in Italy, they will to offer a wide selection of artworks by one of the greatest name of Italian postwar,  Lucio Fontana: the catalogue cover is dedicated to an harmonious canvas with four slashes dated 1967 (lot.12, Concetto spaziale, est EUR 1/1.5 m) .  Next, in this auction catalogue  we find a bright orange work dated 1964 with a single central cut, which is inscribed with a reference to the French critic Michel Tapié. The selection of Fontana”paintings” is completed with a gold oil on canvas, Concetto Spaziale, executed in 1963-64 and a thickly painted ‘olio’ executed in 1961.(est. EUR 350.000/450.000 )

LOT. 4 – LUCIO FONTANA, Concetto Spaziale, 1963-64. Olio, squarci e graffiti su tela, oro, cm 55×46. Courtesy: Sotheby’s

In addition, we can find several  Fontana’s remarkable ceramic sculptures illustrate: from this very rich selection, we can highlight a special  1956 terracotta from a private Italian collection in Como and a 1964-65 rare white oval from the Liverani Collection in Rome.

But, also in conjunction with Milan Design Week, very special and rare to see on the market Fontana works, are the 2  wonderful environmental art works offered,  fruit of the collaboration between Lucio Fontana and the designer, Osvaldo Borsani, for a distinguished Milanese residence in the early 50s. One is a almost baroque inspired wall decoration DECORAZIONE PARETE: ARLECCHINI, made in 1954, and estimate EUR 300.000/400.000; the other is a fascinating lighted ceiling, SOFFITTO: CONCETTO SPAZIALE, 1952/54 (est. EUR 300.000/400.000),  an example of a transferal of monumental decoration into a domestic sphere and the ‘Concetto spaziale’ dominates the space in which it is placed, determining its aspect.

Estimate 300,000 — 400,000 EUR

So I placed a luminous sculpture on the ceiling, but it is not a light. They try and tell me that I made a chandelier. Why? If I have called it “spatial concept”, why must they call it a chandelier or a hole and so on? Who knows, it is a phenomenon that I cannot understand, especially since I have given them the specific terminology to use in titling it a ‘spatial concept’.” (Lucio Fontana in conversation with Tommaso Trini, Domus n. 46, September 1968)

“Even before Picasso became fashionable, Lucio Fontana was inspired by his sculptures to make ceramics: in this particular example, though, it is the painted image that has value since it is the evocation of environmental spaces. It is not simply the joy of pure colour which finds its roots in the paintings of the Fauvists […] but in the environmental spaces which hark back to a Baroque aesthetic in the best possible way […] Fontana’s ceramics decorate walls, they arrange themselves throughout domestic spaces: they are not merely decorative objects that can be repositioned according to one’s whim, they hold their own in the environment. They are real ‘decorations’ and as such they are more easily classed as pure art.” -Guido Ballo

Among the highlights of the sale, Sotheby’s also  present 10 iconic lots from a private Italian collection:  Bendato by Salvatore Scarpitta, (EUR 350.000/400.000) formerly exhibited at Leo Castelli’s gallery, New York sits alongside with Fiori, a delicate 1952 still life by Giorgio Morandi (EUR 200.000/250.000) as well as Umberto Boccioni’s 1911 Testa di bambina (EUR 200.000/250.000), formerly in the renowned Ruberl collection in Frankfurt. From the same collection, the  Arte Povera is represented by a mirrored work by Michelangelo Pistoletto dated 1982.

LOT. 23 – SALVATORE SCARPITTA, Bendato, 1960. Bende e tecnica mista, cm 39×49. Courtesy: Sotheby’s

This spring selection then  also includes two magnificent canvases by Piero Dorazio, from a European private collection, a Bianco executed in 1960 by Alberto Burri and donated by the artist to the curator Paul Wember (est. 200.000/300.000) , and two embroidered tapestries by Alighiero Boetti from 1988, both estimate EUR 280.000-350.000 (lots: 6 e 26).

Very lyrical is also Fausto Menotti’s work, Hotel Dieu ( EUR 200.000/300.000)  which  is a halfway house between Melotti’s ‘little theatres’, tableau-like compositions that draw on the human subconscious, and his large-scale works (e.g. La sequenza, Pirelli Hangar Bicocca, 1971), of which this could almost be an architect’s working model.

Fausto Menotti’s work, Hotel Dieu ( EUR 200.000/300.000)

Among the international artists we find the 1956 Gris Brun Noir Rouge by Serge Poliakoff, a composition titled Fines vibrations en blue et noir by Jesús-Rafael Soto, dated 1974, and works by Christo and Jeanne-Claude and Carlos Cruz-Diez.


Sotheby’s Arte Moderna e Contemporanea

18 APRIL 2018 – 19 APRIL 2018 | 19.00 | MILAN

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