LONDON – White was truly the hottest colour at Sotheby’s London in a city abuzz with Frieze Week activity. The largest ever Italian Sale came just shy of a white glove sale, with 48 of the 49 offered lots finding buyers, totaling £41.4 million. The top four results of the sale went to pieces that were white in colour, including Piero Manzoni’s Achrome, a five-foot wide canvas from 1958–9, which soared past its presale estimate to achieve £12.6 million. The work is one of only nine works from Manzoni’s celebrated Achrome series, which is monumental in size.
Enrico Castellani’s enormous 1967 work Superficie Bianca more than doubled its high estimate, finally selling for £3.8 million. Two white canvases by Lucio Fontana each sold for £2.3 million, rounding out an auction that was decidedly white hot.
On the same night, the Contemporary Art Evening sale followed up on the success of the Italian Sale with a total £28.2 million. Leading the results were Pierre Soulages’ Peinture 125 X 202cm, 30 Octobre 1958, which sold for £2.7 million and Martin Kippenberger’s 1992 self-portrait Untitled (My Lies are Honest), which sold for £2.3 million.