Frieze Features Finest Fontana

LONDON -- Sotheby’s Frieze-week sales will be led by one of the greatest works of post-war Italian art ever to appear at auction: Lucio Fontana’s Concetto Spaziale, La Fine di Dio (The End of God), 1963.

Art collectors of ArtKabinett social media network are eager to bid in this extraordinary art sale.

Never previously offered at auction and last exhibited over 30 years ago, Fontana’s masterpiece, shown here, is estimated at a £15-20m (the current record for the artist stands at £13.1m).

This human-sized black egg, which has been violently punched, stabbed, gashed and gouged with the artist’s bare hands, creating an almost lunar surface, is considered the “holy grail” for collectors of Fontana.

Painted in 1963, shortly after the Soviet cosmonaut, Yuri Gagarin, became the first human in space, Fontana was profoundly affected by the dawn of the space-age and the rapid scientific advances of the 1960s.

La Fine di Dio will lead the Italian Sale on 15 October, which carries a combined estimate of £35.2-48.6m.

Last year’s equivalent auction smashed pre-sale expectations; estimated at £23.8–33.5m, the sale totaled £41.4m -- a record for any auction of its kind.

The meteoric rise in the market for post-war Italian art over recent years is further illustrated by the fact that 10 of the 22 artists offered in the 2015 Italian Sale have seen their auction record broken since the beginning of 2014.

Following the Italian sale, the Contemporary Art Evening Auction will showcase the rising stars of today’s art scene alongside the masters of post-war painting. Work by the New York-based artists Cory Arcangel and Ella Kruglyanskaya will be offered at an evening sale for the first time, while landmark paintings by Frank Auerbach and Agnes Martin, both the subject of retrospective exhibitions at the Tate in 2015, are also featured. The combined estimate for Sotheby’s three sales during Frieze week sales stands at £79.4-110.8m.

Cheyenne Westphal, Sotheby’s Co-Head, Contemporary Art Worldwide, said: “La Fine di Dio is the crowning highlight of perhaps the greatest series that Fontana ever created. Unseen for decades, this is the nirvana for collectors of the artist’s work.’

Italian Sale Highlights:

PAOLO SCHEGGI, Parete della Intercamera Plastica (1966-67)
acrylic on three curved superimposed wood panels, 250 by 307 by 9cm
est. £1-1.5m / $1.6-2.3m.

Paolo Scheggi’s Parete della Intercamera Plastica (Wall of the Plastic Interchamber) reigns supreme as one of the most ground-breaking creations, not only of 1960s Spatialism, but in the entire canon of post-war Italian art. Created for his seminal exhibition in 1967 at Galleria Naviglio, Milan, the work was installed as the inner-most chamber of Scheggi’s curvilinear architectural vision which consumed an entire room of the galleria. Gifted to the current owners by the artist in the 1960s, the work has remained in the same collection ever since.

ALBERTO BURRI, Bianco Plastica 1 (1961) plastic, combustion and tempera on faesite, 75 by 99.5cm £1.5-2m / $2.3-3.1m

Sold to benefit the Passaré Foundation, Bianco Plastica 1 has been held in the renowned collection of Milanese doctor Alessandro Passaré for over three decades.

An early supporter of the Italian avant-garde, who famously instated a policy to treat artists free of charge, Passaré became known as “the doctor of artists”.

He developed close relationships with some of the greatest exponents of the Milanese art scene, counting Italian avant-gardist such as Burri,, Manzoni and Fontana as his close friends.

The walls of his apartment on Via Colonna were bedecked with masterpieces by some of the most important Italian artists.

Paying tribute to Burri’s radical interrogatory practice, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum is playing host to the first major U.S. retrospective of Alberto Burri’s career in over 35 years this October. In total, three works by the artist will be offered in Sotheby’s Italian sale this October.

Today's homepage Featured Art Video offers a brief overview of a major retrospective of Lucio Fontana held in Paris last year.