Sotheby's Milan announces sale of Modern & Contemporary Art
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Sotheby's Milan announces sale of Modern & Contemporary Art
Kenneth Noland, Raft Way. Estimate: €180.000- 250.000. Courtesy Sotheby's.

MILAN.- This Autumn, Sotheby’s Arte Contemporanea in Milan brings together an eclectic host of artworks by Italian and international artists from esteemed private collections worldwide.

A beguiling work on paper by pioneering American painter Cy Twombly, will lead the evening sale with an estimate of €1.200.000-1.800.000. Dating to 1964, the Untitled canvas hails from a revered period in the artist’s career following multiple residencies in Italy. The artist began a love affair with the country, and in particular the Italian capital, Rome, following an eight-month expedition to Morocco and Europe with fellow artist Robert Rauschenberg (whose work is also represented in the sale) – whom he had met in New York at the Art Students League the previous spring. In the years that followed, the duo would return to Europe, and it was during this time that Twombly developed a revolutionary visual language in reaction to the mythical past that weighed heavy in Rome. Infused with antiquarian splendour, Mediterranean mythology and esteemed literary influences, Untitled is an exceptional example of this artistic direction. Having remained in the same private European collection since it’s creation, the canvas will publicly be exhibited for the very first time as part of Sotheby’s pre-sale exhibition in Milan from 22 November (Palazzo Serbelloni, Corso Venezia 16, 20121 Milano).

Twombly’s multi-layered piece will feature alongside significant works by celebrated masters including Kenneth Noland Josef Albers, George Condo, Julien Opie, Robert Rauschenberg and Hans Hartung. The sale will also present seminal pieces by some of the most acclaimed Italian artists, including Salvatore Scarpitta, Lucio Fontana, Giorgio Morandi and Mario Schifano, as well as a condensed survey on Arte Povera with exemplary pieces by Alighiero Boetti.


KENNETH NOLAND, RAFT WAY, EST. €180.000- 250.000

Exhibited in the 1978 Biennale di Venezia, Noland’s Raft Way is a quintessential example of the artist’s investigations into the seemingly endless variations of colour and stripes.

Considered one of the greatest colourists of the 20th century, Noland’s work resides in some of the most important museums globally, including the Centre Pompidou in Paris, the Whitney Museum New York and London’s Tate gallery.

Executed in 1958, Scarpitta’s Untitled canvas evokes the vitality, high-rise buildings, and bustling crowds of the world’s artistic capital New York, where the artist would later live during the 1960s. Composed of layered, folded and stretched bandages, this body of work sought to subvert the genre of painting through the deconstruction of the canvas.

The sale follows the recent auction record set for Salvatore Scarpitta’s Housing Developed, which sold for £2,535,000 / €2.855.177 at Sotheby’s London in October 2019.

Four pivotal works from Mario Schifano’s oeuvre will be offered in the forthcoming evening sale. The offerings include two pieces with coloured Perspex, executed as part of the artist’s explorations into popular culture, namely billboard advertisements, during the 1960s.

Formerly housed in the distinguished Franchetti Collection, Schifano’s Particolare di Deserto comes from the artist’s pivotal ‘Palm’ series and carries an estimate of €250.000-350.000. A further highlight includes Schifano’s Vittoria sul Sole per Kasimir Malevic which was first exhibited at the Marconi Studio in Milan in 1966, the year the work was created (est. €280.000-350.000).

In April 2019, Sotheby’s Milan achieved the top two prices at auction for the artist following the sale of 7 Agosto 1961 which realised €948.500, and the record-breaking price achieved for Con Anima when it sold for €972.500.

Coinciding with a major presentation of the artist’s work at The Palazzo Reale in Milan, three works by Giorgio de Chirico will be offered during the evening sale. Among the offerings is Gli Archeologi from 1929 with an estimate of €220.000280.000.

Three still lifes by revered artist Giorgio Morandi will also be presented, including the artist’s Natura Morta from 1957, which was exhibited at the Royal Academy of Arts, London, in 1970-71 (est. €600.000-800.000).

A Milanese Collection by Fausto Melotti will highlight Sotheby’s Contemporary Day Sale.

Coming of age in pre-war Milan and living through the horrors of the Second World War, Melotti metabolized wartime devastation in his work by returning to Renaissance principles of harmony, order, geometry, and musical structure. Integrating these values into a highly personal yet universally accessible artistic language, Melotti’s ceramics express the full range of emotional experiences in modern human existence.

Elsewhere in the auction, a work by contemporary Swiss artist John Armleder, titled Allegretto, will be sold to benefit the Dino Ferrari Foundation, Modena, for research on Muscular Dystrophy (est. €5.000-7.000).

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