Contemporary Art | Milan
Online Auction: 4–16 June 2020 • 4:00 PM CEST • Milan

Contemporary Art | Milan 4–16 June 2020 • 4:00 PM CEST • Milan

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.

Featured Highlights

Mario Schifano
Estimate: 300,000 – 400,000 EUR
Mario Schifano | En plein air
In his apparent return to figuration, Schifano opened the doors to a new way of understanding the genre of the ‘landscape’, all from a perspective that was often satirical, sometimes quoting from the art of the past, and always distinguishing itself within the international panorama of Pop Art.
Alighiero Boetti
Estimate: 300,000 – 400,000 EUR
Alighiero Boetti | Aerei
"If to me the multitude of planes executed by Alighiero represented a delightful and playful concentration of an ideal sky, for my father this accumulation had to be developed to the extreme in order to achieve accuracy, precision and knowledge. […] It was essential for him to catalogue every plane in existence and all the models in the world. A perfect inventory.”

Agata Boetti, the daughter of the artist
Giorgio Morandi
Estimate: 650,000 – 850,000 EUR
Giorgio Morandi | Natura morta
"I love Morandi because, even though the undeniable and great filter of his balance, his measure, his 'tone', I find him rich, strong, interested in the tensions of the mind and the darkness of the senses, participant, and sometimes forerunner, of some of the fundamental modern experiences."

Francesco Arcangeli, art historian and close friend of the artist
Alberto Burri
Estimate: 200,000 – 300,000 EUR
Alberto Burri | Combustione CP 4
Executed in 1964, Combustione CP 4 is an extraordinary example from the Plastiche series. Black craters open on the surface, and the layers of matter, obedient to a mysterious command, are re-formed in a new order, which is only partly foreseeable to the artist.
Fifty Years of Exceptional Sculptures

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.

Works by Lucio Fontana

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.

International Artists from Italian Collections

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.

Tour the Virtual Gallery
  • Created with Sketch.
  • Created with Sketch.
  • Created with Sketch.
  • Created with Sketch.
  • Created with Sketch.
  • Created with Sketch.
  • Created with Sketch.
  • Created with Sketch.
  • Created with Sketch.

How to Bid Online at Sotheby’s

Sotheby’s leads the industry in providing simple and secure ways to bid. In the video below, learn about the features that make bidding online at Sotheby’s easier than ever. Discover how to place your bids — on your smartphone or computer — from almost anywhere in the world. To learn more about bidding at Sotheby’s, watch our video.

Stay informed with Sotheby’s top stories, videos, events & news.

Receive the best from Sotheby’s delivered to your inbox.

By subscribing you are agreeing to Sotheby’s Privacy Policy. You can unsubscribe from Sotheby’s emails at any time by clicking the “Manage your Subscriptions” link in any of your emails.

Sell with Sotheby's

Sell with Sotheby's

Curious to know if your item is suitable for one of our upcoming sales?

Provide information and share images to request an online estimate now.

Start Selling
arrow Created with Sketch. Back To Top