Christie’s Italian Sale Leads with Fontana Venice Work

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Christie’s Italian sale in London this October will feature a number of works by Marino Marini, Alberto Burri, Michelangelo Pistoletto and Maurizio Cattelan. The lead lot is a Concetto spaziale from 1961. The work comes to auction without a published estimate but the “whisper number” breaks the $10m barrier.

In piazza San Marco (1961, estimate on request) is from the much celebrated cycle of paintings titled Venezie. This sequence of 22 ornate, large-scale, baroque- inspired oil paintings are today recognised as the painterly culmination of Fontana’s Spatialist vision. An ever- changing animated play of light, space and colour, the work is a spatial concept of St Mark’s Square in Venice.Fontana used light-reflecting black paint, sparkling Murano-glass stones and an architectural grid of punctured black holes to conjure a sensation of the piazza at night from multiple viewpoints. Unique in the Venezie cycle, this work’s title includes the name of Fontana’s wife Teresita. The dedication suggests that not only is St Mark’s Square a romantic location but that it holds personal significance for the artist and his wife.

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