Modern & Contemporary Art sale | Sotheby’s Milan
By Alessandra Stefanini.
10,733,125 €: this is the sale total for the Modern and Contemporary Art Auction that took place this week at Sotheby’s Milan, on 23rd and 24th November.
With 73 lots sold out of 124 offered (3 lots withdrawn), the Italian auction didn’t go well as the British one on the 7th October, with some outstanding pieces of Modern and Contemporary masters unsold, such as Concetto spaziale, Attesa (1957) by Lucio Fontana. Evaluated between 800.000 and 1.200.000 euros, it was the work chosen for the catalogue’s cover, a real masterpiece whose rarity is the elegance in the rhythmic succession of the horizontal stripes, which light up in yellow and golden paint, hiding and revealing the holes. Another Fontana, though, exceeded the estimate: the small and beautiful Concetto spaziale (due tagli su blu), dated 1968, which was in the same collection since the Seventies and now has changed owner for 943,500 €.
All the eyes were on Domenico Gnoli’s Le Sofa, a huge painting made with acrylic and sand on canvas, for the first time on a sale in Italy. In the early Sixties, the artist starts to faithfully reproduce the details of everyday objects and what we can see in this painting is exactly nothing but a salmon pink couch, which becomes a sort of archetype of all the couches of the world. The big close-up has been sold for to 2,576,000 euro (with buying commissions) and it is the fourth top price for Gnoli, but this wasn’t unexpected after all: Black Hair has been sold in the 2014 at Christie’s London for 7 million pounds, with a starting price of 1,2-1,8 million.
The other protagonist of the evening was Tancredi, with a 180x200cm canvas, mixed media, dated 1953. The big painting looks like a labyrinth of colour, with its texture made with light and curved brush strokes that seem to hide a gateway to another dimension, like the artist himself said: “I was attempting, at first, to give ‘impressions’ of Space that could convey the idea of a curved Universe, of which the matter was filtered through the Light”.
The painting dates to the period when Tancredi met Peggy Guggenheim and becomes her protégé; the expectations for this canvas were understandably high, as the Guggenheim’s collection in Venice is now hosting a retrospective entitled: “Tancredi. La mia arma contro l'atomica è un filo d'erba” (Tancredi. My weapon against Atomic is a blade of grass).
What a pity for the unsold Alghiero Boetti’s black and white embroidery Segno e disegno (80,000 — 120,000 €), even if almost every artist’s work has been sold, like the paper ones Senza titolo (arrossire), Calendario and the two beautiful versions of Faccine colorate.
If your lust for art is not over and you want to give yourself a very special Christmas present, you can’t miss the online auctions on the website: you can bid and buy a very different kind of works, like paintings and works from the East, from Beijing to Istanbul; a selection of 20th Century iconic photographs and a collection of prints, paintings and photos of la belle époque.
Don’t miss the wonderful catalogue of Sotheby’s auction, you can download it here.