Christies 20th Century Italian Art Auction

. September 17, 2008

London – On 20 October, Christie’s will present the 7th edition of The Italian Sale in its historical salerooms in London. This annual auction will offer an exceptional selection of twentieth century Italian Art by the most renowned and internationally sought-after artists including Alberto Burri, Giorgio de Chirico, Lucio Fontana, Mario Merz and Pino Pascali. The sale is part of a series of exhibitions, events and auctions dedicated to Post-War and Contemporary art and 20th century Italian art which will take place at Christie’s London from 15 to 21 October 2008 during a week when the international art world will gather in London for a showcase of contemporary art exhibitions and events including The Frieze Art Fair.

Mariolina Bassetti, head of the Modern & Contemporary Art department at Christie’s Italy and co-head of the sale: “20th Century Italian Art has tremendous appeal in the international marketplace. In recent years interest in this category has grown enormously and artists such as Fontana, Manzoni and Burri are more and more appreciated by important collectors worldwide. The catalogue for our forthcoming Italian Sale includes a number of works created by some of the best Italian artists from last century including “Ponte”, one of the most iconic works by Pino Pascali which we expect to set a new auction record for the artist.”

Christie’s Italian Sale will be lead by one of the most relevant art movements in post-war Italy, the Arte Povera. A major highlight is Ponte, an extraordinary installation created by Pino Pascali in 1968 using braided steel wool (estimate: £1,500,000-2,000,000.) Part of a series of works through which the artist meant to explore the primitive world, Ponte comes directly from the collection of Fabio Sargentini. Founder of L’Attico gallery in Rome, Sargentini launched the careers of many artists whose work can be seen in the most important museums around the world today.

The sale will also offer Untitled by Jannis Kounellis from 1960 (estimate: £400,000-600,000) and Fibonacci, an installation created in 1972 in New York by Mario Merz (estimate: £100,000-150,000.) Works by Giuseppe Penone, Gilberto Zorio and Giovanni Anselmo, whose estimates range between £30,000 and £150,000 will also be offered for sale.

Dated from the same period, though radically different in genre and concept, Partizione centrale is a large canvas painted with oil colors and sand by Domenico Gnoli in 1969 (estimate £250,000-350,000). Also of particular interest is Superficie bianca created in 1968 by Enrico Castellani (estimate: £200,000-300,000), which comes from the renowned Galleria dell’Ariete in Milan, and Untitled by Agostino Bonalumi from 1966, the only example in the artist’s oeuvre to reunite all the themes he explored in 1960s.

Executed by Lucio Fontana in 1965-66, Concetto Spaziale, Attesa will be offered with an estimate of £500,000-700,000. Created a few years earlier are two more works by Fontana both titled Concetto spaziale: one is dated 1962 and was created using brass (estimate: £350,000-550,000), the second is a black and yellow painting on canvas from 1957 (estimate £250,000-350,000.) Dated from the end of the 1950s, an excellent Achrome by Piero Manzoni is expected to realise £1,500,000-2,000,000 and Cavaliere in blu, a painting by Marino Marini created in 1952 carries an estimate of £400,000-600,000.

Also included in the sale is the very sophisticated Still Life painted by Giorgio Morandi circa 1948 which is offered from the private collection of the artist Giacomo Manzù (estimate: £400,000-600,000.) The popularity of this great Bolognese painter is demonstrated by Giorgio Morandi, 1890-1964, the first complete retrospective exhibition dedicated to his work from New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art in the U.S.A. which will take place from 16 September to 14 November 2008.

Created by Alberto Burri in 1953 using Pumice-stone, canvas, oil colors, paint and glue on plywood, Rosso is considered to be a noteworthy work in the artist’s œuvre (£800,000-1,200,000.) Strongly related to his famous Sacchi, this work also comes from the important collection of the Galleria dell’Ariete.

Other leading highlights to be offered at Christie’s Italian Sale include Piazza d’Italia, two works by the celebrated metaphysical artist Giorgio de Chirico: the paintings were created at the end of the 1930s (estimate £300,000-400,000 each). Christie’s are pleased to announce the important rediscovery of Sewing Lady by Umberto Boccioni from 1906. This exceptional painting belongs to the artist’s Divisionist period and is estimated to realise £250,000-350,000.

Christie’s will present a series of exhibitions and auctions dedicated to Post-War and Contemporary art and 20th century Italian art from 15 to 21 October 2008, during a week when the international art world will gather in London for a showcase of contemporary art exhibitions and events including The Frieze Art Fair.

The auctions will take place at the newly refurbished salerooms at Christie’s, 8 King Street, St James’s, and are scheduled as follows:

Sunday 19 October at 4pm Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Sale

Monday 20 October at 7pm The Italian Sale

Tuesday 21 October at 10.00am and 2pm Post-War and Contemporary Art

The public exhibitions for the sales will take place as follows:

Post-War and Contemporary Art: 15 to 19 October 2008 at Christie’s South Kensington

The Italian Sale: 15 to 20 October 2008 at Christie’s King Street

Category: Auction News

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