Sotheby’s Announces Strongest Ever Sale of 20th Century Italian Art

. September 27, 2011 . 0 Comments

Including ‘Italian Identity’, An Exceptional Private Collection of 20th Century Italian Art, and Property From an Important New York Collection

SOTHEBY’S LONDON announce that its forthcoming 20th Century Italian Art Sale on Thursday, October 13, 2011 will be the company’s strongest ever, both in number of lots offered and the quality of works featured. Expected to realise between £15,872,000 and £21,718,000, it is also the highest estimated sale in this collecting category ever staged by an auction house. The sale, which is highlighted by two important private collections ‘Italian Identity’ and Property from an Important New York Collection, features works by Alberto Burri, Gino Severini, Lucio Fontana and Marino Marini among many others.


Gino Severini, Natura Morta con Arance. Estimate: 400,000-600,000 GBP. Photo: Sotheby’s.

Headlining the sale will be an exceptional private collection of Italian Art that spans the whole of the 20th century. The collection, ‘Italian Identity’, represents all of the major developments in Italian Avant-garde art and is highlighted by the most comprehensive group of ‘Arte Povera’ ever to come to the open market. The collection, which includes pieces by Giorgio de Chirico, Giorgio Morandi, Alberto Burri, Piero Manzoni, Alighiero Boetti and Michelangelo Pistoletto, is estimated to realise in excess of £7 million.

One of the most important highlights in the collection is from a series initiated in 1957 comprising nearly 60 works in total, Combustione Legno, executed during same year, is the very first combusted wooden piece produced in this large scale by the immensely influential Alberto Burri (1915-1995). Preceded only by a small experimental work significantly smaller than the present Combustione, this piece stands as the most compositionally resolved of these formative examples and is estimated at £800,000-1,200,000.

For further information about this remarkable collection, please see the dedicated press release. Prior to the pre-sale view in London, the collection will also be on view in Italy both in Turin and in Milan.
PROPERTY FROM AN IMPORTANT NEW YORK COLLECTION: Four lots in the sale come from the Estate of an American collector, whose home was filled with a wonderful variety of late 19th to mid-20th century art. The collector’s spacious townhouse barely contained an uncovered wall, with original art nouveau drawings by Alphonse Mucha alongside exceptional examples of Czech Cubism, Italian Futurism, Picasso ceramics, French Impressionism, and early Modernism. The superb Marini Cavaliere in this sale was exhibited just below a marvellous Calder mobile, and within view of important bronzes by Henry Moore: just one example of many daring displays in the house, and evidence of the collector’s distinctive curatorial eye. The collector had an inexhaustible appetite for learning and knowledge, and he had a large and eclectic library that filled the top floor of his house. A frequent visitor to Europe, this successful businessman and erudite polymath befriended many of the great dealers of the post-war era and acquired many of his works directly from the artists themselves**.

Category: Fine Art

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