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Art Market Italy

Art Market Italy: Gabriella Crespi at Piasa in Paris

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Written by SILVIA ANNA BARRILÀ   
Tuesday, 18 November 2014 13:36
Gabriella Crespi, 'Mushroom' from the series 'Rising Sun,' lamp, 1974, bamboo and brass, 84 × 61 cm, estimate €5,000-7,000. Courtesy Piasa, Paris PARIS – French auction house Piasa celebrates Italian designer Gabriella Crespi with an auction that will take place here Nov. 26. Auction Central News interviewed Piasa's Vice Chairman Chief Executive Frédéric Chambre.

Who is Gabriella Crespi?

Gabriella Crespi is an Italian designer, artist, socialite and fashion muse. Born in 1922, she grew up in Tuscany, near Florence, before studying architecture at the Politecnico in Milan, where she discovered Le Corbusier and Frank Lloyd Wright. She married into one of Italy’s wealthiest families, who owned the Corriere della Sera and a textiles empire. From Rome and Milan she hired the finest craftsmen to produce her designs.

Why is she important in design history? What does her work represent?

Gabriella Crespi has always conveyed an art de vivre in tune with her times, full of freedom and pioneering bohemian chic: a mix of 1970s aspiration and Italian tradition. Although her style goes perfectly with materials like wood, bamboo, mirror and Plexiglas, Gabriella Crespi’s most characteristic designs are in metal – notably brass. All of Crespi’s designs place as much importance on aesthetics as on functionality, or even multifunctionality. Coffee tables are raised in height, bookcases are transformed into partitions, chairs turn into beds … .

What inspires her? Who are her mentors?

She finds her inspiration in the forces of nature in which she senses a symbolic value. On these solid grounds she established her life plan. When asked about her masters, she mentions a number of great figures in the world of architecture such as Frank Lloyd Wright in whom she sees the proximity with the vernacular spirit in Taliesin West, where he grounded his teaching on the observation of the truth of large open spaces and devised his Prairie houses to serve man and his family. Le Corbusier is also among her models. She likes his habit of collecting objects, whether seashells or driftwood. With simple gestures he composed his art as a painter and architect. In him she appreciates the way he took nature as a model, the way he captured light, his bold lines and minimalist approach.

How many objects do you offer and what are the price ranges?

The auction offers 75 objects from €600 to €40,000 ($750 to $50,000) .

Where do the objects on sale come from?

The objects on sale come from different private collections and all the lots have been certified by the Gabriella Crespi’s archives.

What are the most important objects on sale and why are they significant in her production?

The convertible, three-part dining table, from her celebrated Yang Yin series designed in 1979, is a perfect blend of brass and lacquered wood (est. €20,000-30,000). A fine example is provided by her ingenious, twin-opening Mr-Mme commode (est. €20,000-30,000), as the iron and brass bed Sheherazade (est. €30,000-40,000) Other sale highlights include a bamboo and brass Fungo lamp from her Rising Sun series (est. €5,000-7,000), and her 1976 Tavolo Scultura coffee table (est. €20,000-30,000). For the collection of sculptures, the sale offers the elegant, hand-chased silver-plated Ostrich, with a veritable ostrich egg (est. €2,500-3,000).

Are Gabriella Crespi's objects frequently on the market?

The market does not offer much of Crespi’s works. Most of her works were produced in limited editions and have been rare and highly sought-after since the 1970s – and are all the more so today. Her designs are rare and were mostly the result of special commissions.

Do you know any museums or private collections that include her work?

Unfortunately, Gabriella Crespi's work is still under-represented in the major international museum collections, even though she was exhibited in institutions such as Palazzo Reale in Milan. Her work is, however, part of many important private collections everywhere in the world, especially in the U.S.

Why did you choose "Timeless" as the title of the sale?

Even though Gabriella Crespi mainly produced pieces in the ’60s and ’70s, her work has managed to cross the decades in a very impressive way, with the same strength and spirit of innovation. Forty years later, her creations remain timeless, as well as her great beauty. Gabriella has become a timeless icon.



ADDITIONAL IMAGES OF NOTE
Gabriella Crespi, 'Mushroom' from the series 'Rising Sun,' lamp, 1974, bamboo and brass, 84 × 61 cm, estimate €5,000-7,000. Courtesy Piasa, Paris Gabriella Crespi, 'Mr / Mme,' chest of drawers, 1972, brass and chrome, 79 × 120 × 55 cm, estimate €15,000-20,000. Courtesy Piasa, Paris Gabriella Crespi, 'Mr / Mme,' chest of drawers, 1972, brass and chrome, 79 × 120 × 55 cm, estimate €15,000-20,000. Courtesy Piasa, Paris Gabriella Crespi, 'Yin Yang' from the series 'Plurimi,' modular table, 1979, brass and lacquered wood 76.5 × 225 × 122 cm, estimate €20,000-30,000. Courtesy Piasa, Paris Gabriella Crespi, 'Bureau Z,' brushed steel, wood, glass, 1974, 78.5 × 149.4 × 75.3 cm, estimate €40,000-60,000. Courtesy Piasa, Paris
Last Updated on Tuesday, 18 November 2014 14:53
 

Art Market Italy: Cambi opens a department for vintage cars, cycles

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Written by SILVIA ANNA BARRILÀ   
Monday, 03 November 2014 15:13

Michael Schumacher's driving suit. Courtesy Cambi, Genoa GENOA, Italy - One of Italy's most prestigious auction houses, Cambi Casa d'Aste, has launched a new department specializing in vintage cars and motorcycles. In this interview, Auction Central News' Italy-based columnist Silvia Anna Barrila interviews auction house founder Matteo Cambi about Cambi's plans for the future.

Q: Where did the idea to open a department dedicated to vintage cars and motorcycles come from?

A: From a careful analysis of the market and also from the consideration that many of our customers, both Italian and foreign, are fans and / or collectors of the motor world.

Q: When and where will you hold the first auction? How many auctions will you hold per year?

A: We will hold the inaugural auction of the department exclusively online in the first week of December. Then, we will make our debut auction during the traditional auction week in late February-early March in our Milan headquarters. We intend to make two auctions a year, and evaluate the implementation of specific auctions for any major collections.

Q: It is the first department of this kind in Italy? Where does this lack come from?

A: It is an exciting field that has significant results in countries such as Britain and the United States, where there is a tradition in this area. At the same time we realize that it certainly has a complex management in terms of space, and this can be a deterrent. It is also a market that requires a deep knowledge of the industry, of the collectors and of the many models of vehicles and automobilia. Finally, you must have a clientele of foreign buyers, especially in recent years, as cars and motorcycles buyers are foreigners.

Q: What will Cambi offer in this new department? On what are you going to focus?

A: Given that we are an Italian auction house, and that our country has a history of motoring which is among the richest in the world, we want to focus mainly on Italian brands and products. In addition to cars and motorcycles, we will offer supercars and prestigious modern bikes and automobilia, such as pilots suits and helmets, trophies, memorabilia, documents, etc.

Q: Could you anticipate some highlights that Cambi will offer at its first auction?

A: At our first auction we will offer items related to the world of Ferrari, some of which are exclusive and rare because inherent to Formula 1, as well as modern collectible cars such as two exemplars of Alfa Romeo Roadster Zagato from the early 1990s which was produced in less than 300 exemplars. We will also have Moto Guzzi motorcycles from the prewar period and Vespas from the late 1940s-early 1950s which, besides being important and famous brands in the world, have Genoese origins just like our auction house.

Q: Which are the most popular cars and motorcycles? What are their prices?

A: The most popular cars worldwide are linked to famous brands such as Ferrari, Alfa Romeo, Maserati, Bugatti, Mercedes, Zagato, Carrozzeria Touring. Their values range from several hundred thousand Euros to several million Euros for a vehicle. It must be said that buying a vintage vehicle, whether it costs millions of Euros or tens of thousands of euro, it is an interesting investment, if it is well done, so that vintage cars are considered a great store of value.

Q: For a collector who is entering this market, what are the things to know and watch out for? What kind of investment is required?

A: For a collector who enters this market, there are many things to know. First, we need to distinguish whether you are buying for the pleasure of owning the car, or for investment, because the choices will have a different nature. Having said this, the main observations are to be inherent to the conditions of the car, because the values are very different if the purchase is fully restored or needs restoration. To own a vintage vehicle and enjoy the passion, even €10,000-15,000 for a car €5,000-10,000 for a motorcycle may be enough.

Q: What are the outstanding historical sales in the field of vintage cars and motorcycles?

A: In recent years there was a succession of outstanding sales. Many cars reach prices higher than 1 million Euros, and in the last few years the values have been growing so much that some historic cars produced in very few copies (Ferrari in particular) have reached record prices between 10 and 25 million euros.

Visit Cambi Casa d'Aste online at www.cambiaste.com.



ADDITIONAL IMAGES OF NOTE
Michael Schumacher's driving suit. Courtesy Cambi, Genoa Zippo lighter produced for the brand 1000Miglia, 2009. Courtesy Cambi, Genoa JR, Airbrush painting of Alfa Romeo Tipo 8C 2900B Berlinetta Touring 1938, 100x70 cm. Courtesy Cambi, Genoa Vespa TAP - Troupes Aéro Portées, 1956-59. Courtesy Cambi, Genoa
Last Updated on Tuesday, 04 November 2014 09:26
 

Art Market Italy: Pandolfini marks 90 years of auctions

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Written by SILVIA ANNA BARRILÀ   
Tuesday, 21 October 2014 16:18

Alberto Burri, ‘White Black,’ 1952, oil, cloth and rope on canvas, 50x80 cm, estimate €1-1.5 million. Courtesy Pandolfini

FLORENCE, Italy – Florence auction house Pandolfini celebrates 90 years of activity with three exceptional auctions to be held on Oct. 28. The first sale will be devoted to a series of important Renaissance majolica at 5 p.m. local time. It will be followed by an auction prepared in the course of a whole year, consisting of 34 lots selected by each department of the auction house (at 7 p.m). At the end a masterpiece by James Tissot will be put on sale.

Pandolfini's story begins in 1924 when Luigi Pandolfini, who owned a furniture store in Florence, began to organize occasional auctions. This activity, carried out by Luigi Pandolfini together with his son Cirano and his nephew Sergio, was developed through the years so that by the end of the 1930s the first auction with relevant objects of great artistic value was held: the auction of the collection of Villa Marten in Settignano. After World War II auctions represented the fastest way for the exhausted population to raise money from the sale of family objects that had survived. In 1954 the auction house moved into what is still his home, Palazzo Ramirez Montalvo in Borgo degli Albizzi. Its aim was to offer more selected objects to ensure prestige and artistic value. Each auction catalog was printed with extensive descriptions about the quality and provenance of the work.

Pandolfini grew and won the opportunity to hold sales of important heritages and private collections. For example, among the historical auctions was the sale of furnishings from Villa Papinian in San Domenico di Fiesole and from "Tasso" on the Elba island in 1972. Both were part of the legacy of Hugh Whitaker Sartorius, a foreigner who had settled in Tuscany in the 1950s and had collected valuable works of art and furnishings. Another historic milestone was the dispersal of the legacy of Countess Margit Berchtold. In this case, in addition to the traditional areas covered by Pandolfini, namely antique furniture and paintings, were also modern artworks and Chinese, Indian and Nepalese objects in coral and semiprecious stones. In the 1970s, Pandolfini expanded its field of activity devoting itself to ceramics, pottery and porcelain.

In the 1980s – which were feverish years for the art market – Pandolfini further expanded its areas of activity. Among the outstanding sales of these years we remember the dispersion of the furnishings from Villa Querceto in Florence and from the estate of Vigarano Mainarda from Ferrara, both belonging to the legacy of Marquis Uberto Strozzi Sacrati in 1983-84, and that of the property belonging to the Countess Tamara De Larderei, born Rucellai, in 1984-85.

Also in the 1990s the market stayed competitive, but Pandolfini managed to win the sales of collections such as those of the Antinori Buturlin family, of Dino Gavina, the Liverani Collection, of the furnishings from Villa Medici Lappeggi and from Palazzo della Gherardesca in Florence. We also remember the "Antonio, Fosco and Grato Maraini" auction and the sale of paintings, furniture and objects from the Turin house of Carlo Fruttero.

Today Pandolfini has offices in Florence, Rome and Milan. It holds about 20 auctions a year in all sectors of the market, from old masters to collectible wines. The auction on Oct. 28 will include exceptional pieces among which there is a high relief by Lorenzo Ghiberti and his workshop depicting the Madonna and Child Protected by the Mantle from about 1420, which is estimated €60,000-80,000, and a painting by Giovan Battista Spinelli, David with the Head of Goliath, estimated at €120,000-150,000. Among the works from the 19th century, there will be a bronze by Medardo Rosso, Aetas Aurea, estimated at €50,000-80,000; among the contemporary artworks will be an important work by Alberto Burri, Bianco Nero from 1952, estimated at €1-1.5 million. Among the jewels there will be an exceptional Cartier necklace in platinum, white gold and diamonds estimated at €250,000-300,000.

A separate catalog, as we mentioned already, is dedicated to the painting The Rivals by French-anglophile painter James Tissot. It carries an estimate of €600,000-1 million. In the work, which was owned by Paolo Ingegnoli, an important Italian collector of the 19th century, Tissot represented his beloved, Kathleen Newton, surrounded by admirers within the impressive winter garden full of exotic plants that he had built next to the his London studio. Tissot was a successful portraitist among the wealthy English collectors thanks to its ability to faithfully portray his models and choose poses and settings. Furthermore, he was also able to understand the market and the types of pictures that could attract different customers. Only three years after the completion of this work, Kathleen Newton died of tuberculosis; the artist sold the house, left London and returned to Paris for good.



ADDITIONAL IMAGES OF NOTE

Alberto

Cartier necklace in platinum, white gold and diamonds, estimate €250,000-300,000. Courtesy Pandolfini

Lorenzo Ghiberti and his workshop, ‘Madonna and Child Protected by the Mantle,’ about 1420, high relief, 71 x 56 x 20 cm, estimate €60,000-80,000. Courtesy Pandolfini

Medardo Rosso, Aetas Aurea, 1886-1889, patinated bronze, height 40.2 cm, estimate €50,000-80,000. Courtesy Pandolfini

James (Jacques Joseph) Tissot, Rivals, 1878-79, oil on canvas, 92x68 cm, estimate €600,000-1 million. Courtesy Pandolfini

Last Updated on Tuesday, 21 October 2014 16:40
 

Art Market Italy: The Italian Sales

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Written by SILVIA ANNA BARRILÀ   
Monday, 06 October 2014 16:10

Piero Manzoni, ‘Achrome,’ 1958-1959, kaolin on pleated canvas, cm 150x100, estimate £5 million-7 million. Courtesy Sotheby's.

LONDON – Christie's and Sotheby's will celebrate Italian art with Italian sales on Oct. 16 and Oct. 17 as the attention paid to Italian postwar artists continues to grow. Numerous exhibitions dedicated to Italian artists opened in the British capital in recent days: Pace Gallery has dedicated a show to Mario Merz (until Nov. 8), Dominique Lévy opens her new London space with Enrico Castellani along Donald Judd and Frank Stella (on Oct. 13), Luxembourg & Dayan shows Alighiero Boetti's monochromes (from Oct. 13) and plans other exhibitions of Italian artists such as Mario Schifano, Enrico Baj and Alberto Burri. Other galleries exhibits Italian postwar art in their booths at Frieze Masters: Marian Goodman will bring Giovanni Anselmo, Giulio Paolini and Giuseppe Penone; and Luxembourg & Dayan will present Manzoni, Fontana and Burri.

The same artists are the protagonists of the Italian Sales, annual events that have grown tremendously in recent years. It is enough to say that when Christie's started the Italian sales, in 2001, the total result was £4 million pounds, while at the last sale, in 2013, the total result reached £27 million. Last February the sale of the Italian collection "Eyes Wide Open, An Italian Vision" achieved £38 million.

So, what shall we expect this year?

Christie's auction will offer a half-century Italian art from modern artists like Giorgio Morandi, Giorgio De Chirico and Marino Marini. By the latter there will be a sculpture of Cavaliere strongly reminiscent of The Angel of the City, the famous work of art at the entrance of the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice (estimate: £800,000-£1.2 million). There will be, of course, the masters of postwar art Alberto Burri with Red Black (estimate: £1 million-£1.5 million) who will be celebrated next year in October with a major retrospective at the Guggenheim in New York on the occasion of the centenary of his birth; Lucio Fontana with Concetto Spaziale, a work realized at the dawn of the space age, the year after Yuri Gagarin's first trip in space (estimate: £1 million-£1.5 million); Piero Manzoni and Enrico Castellani, the two founders of Azimut / H, a gallery and magazine to which the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice devotes an exhibition these days (until Jan. 19).

And Arte Povera will not miss: Christie's will offer a masterpiece by Alighiero Boetti, the Column from 1968, which marks the culmination of the artist's earliest experiments on Arte Povera and the beginning of the more conceptual direction of his production (estimate: £1.5 million-£2 million). It is a column of classic appearance made by assembling an ordinary and modest material such as the paper doilies for cakes, stacked one above the other on a central rod of iron. It is a unique piece made for one of the first exhibitions dedicated to Arte Povera in Rome and the first of a group of nine columns that Boetti realized during 1968.

Sotheby's selection goes back to the early 20th century with a major work on paper from 1913 by Giacomo Balla. The work, titled Flight of Swallows, comes from the collection of Alfred Barr, the legendary founder and director of the MoMA in New York, who had purchased it during a trip to Rome in 1948 as a gift to his wife, Margaret Scolari Barr (estimate: £180,000-£250,000). Then, there are works from the 1930s by De Chirico and Morandi, and also here there is a sculpture of Cavaliere by Marino Marini (estimate: £750,000-£1 million). Among the most important works on sale there is also a horizontal painting by Domenico Gnoli titled Waist Line (estimate: £2 million-£3 million). It was made at the height of his career, shortly before his death in 1969, and belongs to a series of 43 works that represent fragments of everyday life with aesthetic and nostalgic tones that were revolutionary in the tradition of figurative painting.

From the 1960s there will be also four important works from the collection of the engineer Giobatta Meneguzzo: Teatrino Bianco by Lucio Fontana (estimate: £400,000-£600,000), Bianco by Agostino Bonalumi (estimate £300,000-£400,000), Bianco by Turi Simeti (estimate: £80,000-$120,000) and Superficie Bianca by Enrico Castellani (estimate: £1 million-$1.5). The four works form a sort of manifesto of the Zero Group titled "The beetle under the leaf," from the name of Meneguzzo's house, built in 1965 by Giò Ponti and Nanda Vigo. Zero Group, is currently object of much attention due the exhibition "ZERO Countdown To Tomorrow," which opens Oct. 10 at the Guggenheim in New York. Already in 2010, Sotheby's offered a private collection of works by the Zero Group, that of Austrians Anna and Gerhard Lenz, which doubled the preauction estimate making £23 million.

Finally, Sotheby's will auction a masterpiece by Piero Manzoni, exhibited at the Tate in London in 2005 and the Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna in Rome in 1971: a monumental "Achrome" painting from 1958-59. There are only nine works of this size, one of which is at the Pompidou, one of the GAM in Turin, one at Mumok in Vienna and one in the Rachowsky Collection in Dallas. The work is estimated to realize £5 million-£7 million.



ADDITIONAL IMAGES OF NOTE

 Piero Manzoni, ‘Achrome,’ 1958-1959, kaolin on pleated canvas, cm 150x100, estimate £5 million-7 million. Courtesy Sotheby's.

Enrico Castellani, ‘Superficie Bianca,’ 1967, acrylic on shaped canvas, cm 235x279.5, estimate £1 million-$1.5 million. Courtesy Sotheby's. 

Last Updated on Monday, 06 October 2014 16:49
 

Art Market Italy: Mario Merz in London

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Written by SILVIA ANNA BARRILÀ   
Wednesday, 24 September 2014 14:24
Mario Merz, 'Igloo con vortice,' 1981, mixed media on canvas, sticks, bottles and neon tube, 280 x 270 x 50 cm. Courtesy Pace London. LONDON – From Sept. 26 to Nov. 8, Pace Gallery in London dedicates an exhibition to Italian artist Mario Merz. The show, staged in collaboration with the Fondazione Merz in Turin, includes works from the 1960s to 2003, when the Arte Povera artist died. It is the first Merz exhibition in London for more than 20 years. For the occasion, Pace also publishes a catalog of the works on display and archival materials. Auction Central News spoke about it with Tamara Corm, director at Pace London.

How did it come that you decided to dedicate an exhibition to Mario Merz?

Mario Merz hasn’t had a UK private gallery exhibition in over 20 years. It was time to bring him back to London. We’re working closely with the Merz Foundation to stage this exhibition and it’s an honor to work with the foundation. We met Beatrice Merz and there was an opportunity and a need for a Mario Merz show in London, historically, aesthetically and commercially.

How did it come that Merz has not had an exhibition in London for so many years?

It’s hard to say but there’s definitely a resurgence of Arte Povera right now with the recent dOCUMENTA (13) curated by Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, one of the experts on Arte Povera, Giuseppe Penone’s exhibition at Versailles etc. We’re staging a small retrospective at our gallery at 6 Burlington Gardens, in the heart of Mayfair where most of the collectors come.

Can you tell us more about his last exhibition in London in 1993?

It was Anthony d’Offay’s exhibition, presented in 1993, and Merz was still alive. Like our exhibition, his featured one igloo. Our exhibition features a triple igloo, which is the last ever made, and it combines all the elements from Merz’s artistic language. Merz began constructing igloos in 1968 using a variety of materials, and this particular one combines many of these earthen and industrial objects—metal rods, neon, clamps, clay, glass and stone—in its tripartite structure.

How was the collaboration with the Merz Foundation born?

We announced the collaboration with the Merz Foundation at Frieze last year and we’re now staging this small retrospective. Beatrice Merz is supervising this exhibition with us and we’re delighted it’s happening. Right now, we’re focusing on this show, which will coincide with Frieze Art Fair and Frieze Masters – we’ll be at both fairs this year.

Are the works on show for sale? What is the price range of the works?

Yes, it’s a selling exhibition for sure. Any interested clients should get in touch with us regarding prices.

What is the provenance of the works?

Mainly European and American private collections as well as the from the Merz Collection.

How has Merz's market developed in the last years?

It’s a good moment for Arte Povera. Mario Merz is the founding father, the reference so it makes sense for us to show his works. We’re known for museum-quality exhibition and this is one of them. He had an impact on so many other artists today, on those who continued the Arte Povera movement, and on many others.

And in comparison to the other representatives of Arte Povera?

Mario Merz is still undervalued. As far as other Arte Povera artists, it’s hard to say.

Which are the most requested works and why?

The igloos and the Fibonacci are highlights of this exhibition because they strike something in everyone’s mind. People ask a lot about them. It’s interesting to note in this exhibition that sculptures and works on paper that express some of his most enduring motifs are also included. The show is on both floors of the gallery so plenty to discover or rediscover.



ADDITIONAL IMAGES OF NOTE
Mario Merz, 'Igloo con vortice,' 1981, mixed media on canvas, sticks, bottles and neon tube, 280 x 270 x 50 cm. Courtesy Pace London. Mario Merz, ‘Piume sulle tavole,’ 1991, paint on canvas, neon, clay 295 x 780 cm overall. Courtesy Pace London. Mario Merz, 1970, Courtesy Pace London. Mario Merz, 1973, Courtesy Pace London.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 24 September 2014 15:01
 
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