S otheby’s Milan is delighted to announce Contemporary Art I Milan to be held from June 4-16. This exceptional sale will offer a selected array of high-quality artworks by Italian and international masters spanning from the early 20th century to the present day. Led by seminal works of century-defining artists, the sale celebrates the very best of Italian creativity through manifold different artistic media. From an oil on canvas by Giorgio Morandi, dated 1948, to Post-War masterpieces such as a 1950s canvas by Lucio Fontana and a ‘Merda d’artista’ by Piero Manzoni, as well as the Roman Pop Art of Mario Schifano, the sale also offers more contemporary pieces by Yayoi Kusama and Liu Ye.
Agata Boetti, the daughter of the artist
Francesco Arcangeli, art historian and close friend of the artist
Lucio Fontana, 'Gamba di tavolino', 1949
Lucio Fontana, ‘Concetto Spaziale’, 1951
Lucio Fontana, ‘Crocefissione’, 1957-58
Lucio Fontana, ‘Concetto Spaziale’, 1959
Piero Manzoni, ‘Merda a'Artista’, 1961
Leoncillo, ‘Tempo Ferito’, 1963
Leoncillo, ‘Racconto di Notte II’, 1965
Lucio Fontana, ‘Concetto Spaziale, Natura’, 1967
Giulio Paolini, ‘Quam Raptim Ad Sublimia’, 1969
Stefano Arienti, ‘Turbine’, 1988
Ettore Spalletti, ‘Piccolo Movimento, 6’, 2001
Sold to Benefit the Research Project of the Policlinico di Milano on Covid-19
The artist Francesco Vezzoli has created a tribute to Lucio Fontana and the country of his birth, which represents the wound and the gap left in the wake of the pandemic. The image was published on the cover of the 15 April 2020 issue of Vanity Fair. Following the publication, the work has been republished by international newspapers, television stations, websites and on social media, becoming a universal symbol of reflection and hope that has crossed over the Italian borders to reach everyone. The artist himself said: "This is a tribute to Italy and Lucio Fontana. And I would just like to quote a verse of Leonard Cohen's 'Anthem': There is a crack in everything, that's how the light gets in”. The proceeds of the sale will be donated to the research project on Covid-19 of the Policlinico di Milano.
Lucio Fontana continues to earn his place as one of the most sought-after Italian artists for international collectors, whether for the forcefulness of his artistic message, or for the versatility of his investigation into matter. As an artist, Fontana always maintained his own identity, from collaborations with the best Milanese designers of the Post-War period, to his diverse interpretations and manipulations of ceramics. Fontana is equally acclaimed for his iconic cut canvases, his oil paintings and his Baroque works, as well as his highly sought-after iconic bronze multiples.
The understanding possessed by the best Italian collectors of the avant-garde is highlighted in many of the works in this sale. First, there is the collection of an Italian gentleman dedicated to Surrealism, with major works by André Masson and Oscar Dominguez. The open-mindedness of Italian collectors has been evident since the Post-War period, when the likes of Hans Hartung, Jean-Paul Riopelle, Serge Poliakoff and Max Bill made appearances in larger collections alongside the usual Italian names. These are artists who were all connected to Italy by the pioneering exhibitions held there. Later, a curiosity for American Pop encouraged many art lovers to invest in icons such as Andy Warhol and Robert Rauschenberg. This dialogue continues today and is evidenced by the attention paid to Contemporary giants such as Yayoi Kusama, the Brazilian Vik Muniz and Liu Ye, who recently had a solo exhibition at the Prada Foundation in Milan.
Two Works by Giorgio Morandi
We are particularly proud to present these two different yet equally significant Still Life by Giorgio Morandi, one painted in 1948 and the other in 1951. Appreciation for this globally acclaimed artist is undiminished and his works are highly sought after around the world. This phenomenon is a result of Morandi’s aesthetic consistency. In a way, the artist’s silent and delicate objects reflect the present moment, particularly these housebound months we have experienced. His precise and intimate message is more alive and universal than ever and capable of capturing that which is acutely human in every historical moment, at every latitude and in every circumstance.
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