6 OCTOBER 2017

Lucio Fontana, Concetto spaziale, In piazza San Marco di notte con Teresita (1961), acrylic and stones on canvas, 59 × 59 in. (150 × 150 cm.). Estimate on request

London – This October, during London’s Frieze Week, Christie’s will present Thinking Italian, a showcase of the very best in Italian Art of the 20th Century. The auction will follow Christie’s Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Auction on 6 October 2017 and present a tightly curated selection of artists across the century; from Marino Marini, to Alberto Burri, Lucio Fontana, Michelangelo Pistoletto and Maurizio Cattelan. Defined by eclecticism, revolution and a deeply rooted yet ever-changing dialogue between the past and the present, Italian art of the 20th Century encompasses some of the most influential artistic creations of our times. A selection of works will tour to the MAXXI Museum in Rome from 14-15 September and then to Turin from 20-21 September, before the full sale exhibition in London from 30 September to 6 October 2017.

Leading the auction, Lucio Fontana’s Concetto spaziale, 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. It reflects the floating city’s history as a place of love, mystery, romance and illusion. 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 theVenezie 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. The work combines a highly specific sense of earthly time and place with a broader, Spatialist understanding of the universal play of light, space and time throughout the cosmos.

Mariolina Bassetti, Chairman Italy, Head of Southern Europe Post-War & Contemporary Art: “This year we are looking forward to introducing a new concept to the London sale with ‘Thinking Italian’, which will be dedicated to Italian masterpieces and works important to the specificity of the history of art in Italy.  Fontana’s Concetto spaziale, In piazza San Marco di notte con Teresita is without doubt a highpoint in the career one of the most sought-after artists today. The dialogue and understanding of Post-War and Italian Art grows year on year, and in 2017 we are looking forward to a Christie’s Education conference dedicated to Italian art at The Italian Cultural Institute (ICI), alongside many other events dedicated to the importance and influence of Italian Art in the world.”

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