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Art Market Italy

Art Market Italy: Italian Design at Nova Ars

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Tuesday, 22 April 2014 13:39

Enzo Mari, pottery centerpiece, Danese Prod, 1973, Dimensions: 11.6 inches by 11.6 inches by 1.8 inches. Literature: ‘Enzo Mari, Il lavoro al centro, Electa editions, Courtesy Nova Ars.

ASTI, Italy – Nova Ars, an auction house based in Asti, Piedmont, and specialized in design, will hold a sale on May 6 dedicated entirely to Italian industrial design. It includes just over 100 lots, among which are some scarce icons of the past with original pieces from the period in which they were created.

"In the market of vintage industrial design, prices for the same object can change greatly depending on the series and on production details," Nova Ars Director Ilario Scagliola said to Auction Central News. "We always try to have an exemplary of the object from the year in which it was conceived or at most one of the following year in order to maintain the originality and the details of the time."

One of the most interesting lots of the auction is a Richard Ginori tea set in porcelain designed by Giò Ponti. It dates to the 1920s because it has a golden decoration that was used for important and high-level pieces only for a few years around 1923 to 1928 (lot 3, estimate €1,200-€1,500, $1,656-$2,070). It is, therefore, a service that dates back to the beginning of the collaboration between Giò Ponti and Richard Ginori in which one sees the change and the modernity brought by the Milanese master.

One can notice it also comparing, for example, the same tea service with the next piece at auction (lot 3A, estimate €1,800-€2,000), a Richard Ginori vase from 1880 that shows a floral decoration with cherubs, birds and snakes. A production like this would have gone ahead until the 1920s if Gio Ponti had not introduced a modern aesthetic.

Both lots are from Pittoria di doccia, one of the most prestigious porcelain factories in Europe, owned by Ginori and the by Richard Ginori after the merger.

Among the lighting elements, the auction includes a series of lamps realized by Murano company Mazzega and designed by Carlo Nason in 1969, a designer who comes from one of Murano's oldest families of glassmakers, but at the same time has always been innovative. They are important for their peculiarity and because they are not easy to find (lots 65, 66, 68, 69 and 72). Lot 68, a centerpiece, is part of the same series. Estimates run between €300-$500 and €1,300-€1,500.

Enzo Mari, important designer, artist and design theorist, is represented by two important centerpieces, both realized by Danese Milano. The first one is in porcelain, from 1973, and it was made by hand to bring back the craftsmanship into design (lot 84, estimate €3,000-€3,500). These pieces were expensive and difficult to produce. The other one is made of plastic and it is from 1968. It is rare because production was interrupted. The object was re-proposed by Alessi few years ago and even the Alessi piece is already a collector's item, so this is even more valuable and rare (lot 59, estimate €1,200-€1,500).

Of note, finally, the lamp by Toni Cordero, famous for its interiors realized for the houses of high society and fashion, which was designed for Artemide in 1990 and is interesting for the type of design and the materials used (lot 92A, estimate €2,500-€3,000).


Enzo Mari, pottery centerpiece, Danese Prod, 1973, Dimensions: 11.6 inches by 11.6 inches by 1.8 inches. Literature: ‘Enzo Mari, Il lavoro al centro, Electa editions, Courtesy Nova Ars.

Plastic centerpiece, model Adal, Enzo Mari, Danese, 1968. Courtesy Nova Ars.

Giò Ponti, pottery china tea set: six cups, six small plates, teapot, sugar bowl, milk jug. Signed and golden scroll on each piece. Courtesy Nova Ars.

Carlo Nason, ceiling lamp, chromed metal, blown glass, Prod. Mazzega, 1969, Dimensions: 8 inches high by 9.44 inches wide. Courtesy Nova Ars.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 23 April 2014 08:22

Art Market Italy: Urania Auction House

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Thursday, 17 April 2014 12:57

Lot 112, Benito Jacovitti, 'Pinocchio,' 1964, €9,500-13,000 ($13,128-17,964). Courtesy Urania.

PARMA, Italy – A new auction house dedicated to original drawings and illustrations by the masters of comics was born in Italy. Its name is Urania Auction House and is headquartered in Parma. Besides Little Nemo, a Turin-based auction house specialized in comics, Urania is a unique in Italy; while Little Nemo also sells comic books and gadgets, Urania focuses only on original comic boards.

"It is a growing market in Italy," founder Daniel Gramella told Auction Central News, himself being a collector of original boards for about seven years. “Unlike France or the United States, where there is an already structured market born in the 1980s-90s, in Italy the market has formed itself towards the end of the 1990s and so far has been restricted to few private dealers and the fair sector. But demand is growing."

It is also significant that Christie's has just held its first auction dedicated to original comics in Paris, the center of this market, on April 5, realizing €3.9 million with sold rates of 87 percent by value and 73 percent by lot. The auction, organized in collaboration with Parisian art dealer and expert Daniel Maghen, brought as many as 12 records.

In France there are several auction houses that hold sales of comics, among them Artcurial and Millon. Furthermore, there are specialized galleries such as the already mentioned Galerie Daniel Magen, Galerie Marcel in Paris and Galerie Laqua in Berlin. General museums do not usually collect this genre yet, but there are specialized museums, for example one in Lucca.

"In recent years, prices have grown," Gramella said, "and this also represented an incentive to collectors, but Italy has yet to develop a market structure and the culture that comic boards are original works just like a work of art." For Tintin by Hergé, for example, a record price of €1.3 million was reached in 2012 at Artcurial.

Urania's first auction will be held on May 4 at Spazio WOW - Museum of Comics of Milan. It includes 360 lots with estimates ranging from €100 to €22,000 ($138 to $30,409). The works on sale are predominantly by Italian authors, such as Pratt, Manara and Serpieri, but there are also foreign names like Foster and Herriman.

The auction is divided into three sections. The first is dedicated to the great masters, the second to the Disney authors, and the third to "strips," the typical weekly publications.

Among the notable lots are two watercolors by Hugo Pratt, "The Wedding Part I and Part II" (lots 206 and 207, estimate €8,700-14,000 each). These are two illustrations for the first and the second part of the short story The Wedding, published in the newspaper La Nuova Venezia on July 20 and 27, 1986, by Pratt's friend from the Argentinean times, Alberto Ongaro. It is a rare case in which Pratt decided to lend his face to one of his characters, thus creating a true self-portrait. Besides being rare, it is important that they were published, which attests their authenticity, because the Pratt market is threatened by fakes.

By Milo Manara there is a watercolor from 1983 titled Everything began with an Indian summer (lot 150, estimate €7,500-10,000), while by Magnus there is a very difficult to find cover realized for A certain Dr. Nadir (1993), in which he shows his mature mastery of technique and composition (lot 133, estimate €3,600-4,500).

Andrea Pazienza, author from Pescara who lived in Bologna, is represented by a portrait of Zanardi, his most famous character (lot 189, estimate €2,900-4,000).

Also by Benito Jacovitti there is a rare work, realized for his masterpiece Pinocchio (1964). The coloring of this work was done by the artist himself, and this makes it even more valuable as Jacovitti usually let himself help in the coloring by one of his assistants (lot 112, estimate €9,500-13,000).

Another great Italian name is Guido Crepax, who is represented through a single panel of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, 1986 (lot 54, estimate €4,500-6,000), a mature work by the Milanese author both in terms of graphic and composition.

Among the international names, the most important works are a table of Tarzan by Hal Foster from 1936, a classic of American comics (lot 360, estimate €18,000-22,000). A work that is rare even in the United States and in Europe is almost impossible to find. And then there is a strip of Krazy Kat by George Herriman, a pillar of American comics, from 1933, which stages the historic misunderstanding between Krazy Kat, cat in love, and Ignatz, the mouse (lot 337, estimate €2,000-3,500).

Among the Disney authors, the highlight are two covers of The Walt Disney Classics, one by Giorgio Cavazzano (lot 296, estimate €450-700), and the other one by Marco Rota (lot 317, estimate €700-1,100).


Lot 112, Benito Jacovitti, 'Pinocchio,' 1964, €9,500-13,000 ($13,128-17,964). Courtesy Urania.

Lot 150, Milo Manara, 'Tutto ricominciò con un'estate indiana,'(Everything began with an Indian summer), 1983, €7,500-10,000 ($10,364-13,818). Courtesy Urania.

Lot 207, Hugo Pratt, 'Il Matrimonio Parte II,' (The Wedding Part II), 1986, €8,700-14,000 ($12,021-19,3435). Courtesy Urania.

Lot 360, Hal Foster, 'Tarzan, Death from the Skies,' 1936, €18,000-22,000 ($24,873-33,164). Courtesy Urania.

Last Updated on Thursday, 17 April 2014 13:46

Art Market Italy: Frida Kahlo in Rome

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Thursday, 10 April 2014 12:29

Frida Kahlo, ‘Self-portrait as Tehuana, (or Diego in my thoughts),’ 1943, oil on canvas, cm 76 x 61. The Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection of 20th Century Mexican Art and The Vergel Foundation, Cuernavaca. © Banco de México Diego Rivera & Frida Kahlo Museums Trust, México D.F. by SIAE 2014.

ROME – On the 60th anniversary of the death of Frida Kahlo (1907-1954), Italy pays tribute to the artist – myth and icon of 20th-century Mexican culture, with two exhibitions: one at Scuderie del Quirinale in Rome (through Aug. 31), which analyzes the relationship between the artist and the artistic and cultural movements of her time, and the other at the Palazzo Ducale in Genoa (starting on Sept. 20) that investigates, instead, the private world of the artist and her relationship with artist and partner Diego Rivera.

Of course in Frida Kahlo's works the inextricable relationship between art and life, which for her was marked by strong passions and sufferings, is always present, but at the same time her paintings and drawings also reflect the upheavals of her time, her political beliefs, the encounters with characters such as André Breton and Leon Trotsky. "I was born with a revolution," she liked to say, although she was born in 1907. "Let's say so. It's in that fire that I was born, carried by the impetus of the revolt until the moment I saw the light of day. The day was scorching. It inflamed me for the rest of my life. I was born in 1910. It was summer. Shortly after, Emiliano Zapata, el Gran Insurrecto, was to rouse the South. I had this good luck: 1910 is my date."

Also from the artistic point of view, Frida Kahlo's works represent a kind of point of intersection between folk traditions and avant-garde art, Modernism and Surrealism, New Objectivity and Magic Realism, Estridentism and Mexican Muralism. And this is what the exhibition in Rome, the first of this size ever dedicated to the artist in Italy, wants to show by putting the works of Frida Kahlo in dialogue with other protagonists of her time, such as Italian artists Giorgio de Chirico and Gino Severini, English artist Roland Penrose, German artist Carlo Mense, and Mexicans José David Alfaro Siqueiros, Maria Izquierdo, Abraham Angel, and of course Diego Rivera.

The exhibition is curated by Helga Prignitz Poda, author of the catalog raisonné of the artist, and includes about 160 works, including paintings and drawings spanning Kahlo's entire career. There are over 40 portraits and self-portraits, from the first of a long series: Self-portrait with velvet dress from 1926, which she painted when she was 19 years old to win back the beloved Alejandro Gomez Arias. In this work, painted after the terrible accident that marked her life, Frida Kahlo picked up the lesson of her future husband, Diego Rivera, who through his frescoes taught her the heritage of the Renaissance, and inspired herself to artists such as Botticelli and Bronzino.

Another famous self-portrait in the exhibition, which is on display for the first time in Italy, is Self-Portrait with Necklace of Thorns, painted in 1940. In those years, the reputation of Frida Kahlo was already beginning to spread internationally. In 1938 she had her first solo exhibition in New York at the gallery of Julien Levy, famous for bringing the Parisian Surrealists to America. This was followed by an exhibition in Paris in 1939 at the gallery Lerou et Colle, which was organized by Breton. And then, in 1942, she exhibited again in New York, this time in the show "Portrait of the 20th Century" at the MoMA and, in 1943, in an exhibition of female artists organized by the Peggy Guggenheim.

During this period, Kahlo was called to teach at the academy. Around her a small group of followers who called themselves "Los Fridos" arose. In Self-Portrait with Monkeys, from 1943, Frida Kahlo represents herself as a proud teacher and humorously portrays her students as a group of adoring monkeys. Also important collectors and art dealers began to support her with purchases and commissions. For example, the portrait of Marucha Lavín, which is also on display in Rome, was commissioned to Frida Kahlo by one of her collectors, the wealthy engineer Domingo José Lavín. To emphasize the figure of Lavín's wife, Frida Kahlo adopted the Renaissance format of the tondo.

In the exhibition there are also several drawings, including the Pencil Sketch for the painting Henry Ford Hospital (The Flying Bed) from 1932, and items such as the famous "plaster corset" that held Frida Kahlo prisoner immediately after the accident and that she painted before moving on to portraits. It is a unique piece that until recently was believed to be lost.

And finally the photographs: The exhibition includes portraits of Kahlo made by Nickolas Muray, who was a lover of the artist for 10 years, including Frida on a White Bench, New York, 1939, which later became a famous cover of Vogue magazine, helping to create the myth of Frida Kahlo.



 Frida Kahlo, ‘Self-portrait as Tehuana, (or Diego in my thoughts),’ 1943, oil on canvas, cm 76 x 61. The Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection of 20th Century Mexican Art and The Vergel Foundation, Cuernavaca. © Banco de México Diego Rivera & Frida Kahlo Museums Trust, México D.F. by SIAE 2014.

Frida Kahlo, ‘Self-portrait with velvet dress,’ 1926, oil on canvas, cm 79,7 x 59,9. Collezione Privata © Banco de México Diego Rivera & Frida Kahlo Museums Trust, México D.F. by SIAE 2014.

Frida Kahlo, ‘Self-portrait on the border between Mexico and the United States,’ 1937, oil on copper plate, cm 31,7 x 35. Collezione Privata © Banco de México Diego Rivera & Frida Kahlo Museums Trust, México D.F. by SIAE 2014.

Last Updated on Thursday, 10 April 2014 14:57

Art Market Italy: modern, contemporary art at Minerva

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Thursday, 20 March 2014 12:22

Mirko Basaldella, ‘Composition,’ 1954. Courtesy Minerva Auctions, Rome.

ROME – On April 15, Rome auction house Minerva will hold an auction of modern and contemporary art of more than 300 lots. The catalog is varied, with estimates ranging from a few hundred euro to €60,000-80,000 for the cover lot, an artwork by Piero Dorazio from 1965 (lot 249). "It is an important painting for its large dimensions (85 x 245 cm), but also for its history," department specialist Giorgia Bava says. "The work was exhibited in the 1975 retrospective in Todi, and it is one of the few paintings included in the biography written by Marisa Volpi Orlandini, which was the beginning of a catalog raisonné that was then not realized."

Besides Dorazio, another interesting work in the catalog is that of Mimmo Rotella: a particular composition from 1993 made with red-painted photographic films that make up the word "Developpe en Positif" (lot 263, estimate €20,000-30,000). Furthermore, there is Mirko Basaldella, brother of more famous Afro Basaldella (and of a third artist brother named Dino), with a large abstract canvas from 1954 (200 x 120 cm). It appears for the first time on the market after being preserved for many years in a private collection in Rome (lot 272, estimate €15,000-18,000).

Among the sculptures are Un anno d'amore by Mario Ceroli, an artist who is still underestimated (lot 192, estimate €5,000-7,000); Lettera del Cuore, a gilded bronze from 1976-77 by Arnaldo Pomodoro, which was made in only three copies plus one artist proof (lot 268, estimate €15,000-20,000); and Schönberg und Sonnenberg by Gastone Novelli, one of the few sculptures by the artist, made of brass in 1964 in only two copies (the other is in a private collection). In 1976, after the artist's death, the Rome gallery Marlborough reproduced this sculpture in a series of 12 bronzes produced in collaboration with the artist's archive, but the exemplar offered by Minerva belongs to the first series (lot 90, estimate €2,000-3,000).

Going back to the early 20th century, we find three works by Filippo de Pisis, which cover his entire artistic career. The first, depicting a mountainous landscape, dates to the 1920s and comes from a great collector of the artist, Giuseppina Ceretti Gussoni. The work carries a statement of authenticity written by Demetrio Bonuglia, who used to sign De Pisis' attests even before Briganti. Minerva's Bava writes, "already the certification of the painting is almost a historical document" (lot 257, estimate €24,000-34,000). The second work come from the 1930s: a painting from the Paris period, De Pisis' most classic and recognizable one. It is a representation of the Jardin du Luxembourg from 1933 painted with quick strokes, estimated at €18,000-24,000 (lot 236). Finally, the last one is a still life with garlic and onion from the 1950s (lot 166, estimate €12,000-18,000).

The catalog also contains a group of works by the Futurists. Among these, is the cliché used by Giacomo Balla for Vestito bianco-rosso-verde del parolibero futurista Marinetti (Mattino), published in the second page of Manifesto Futurista: Il Vestito Antineutrale on Sept. 11, 1914. It was acquired directly from Casa Balla for the current private collection in Rome (lot 209, estimate €30,000-40,000).

Alongside the paintings and sculptures, the auction includes a series of works on paper, both drawings and prints. In the first group, one of the most interesting is that by Osvaldo Licini (lot 147, estimate €2,500-3,500). "Licini is a rare author on the market because he produced few works," Giorgia Bava says, "so to have his works at auction, whether paintings or drawings, it is always a pleasure." The drawing in question comes from the collection of Caterina Hellstromm Riccitelli, adopted daughter of Licini's wife.

Another noteworthy drawing is the Landscape in pencil on paper by Giorgio Morandi from 1943, which has a good exhibition history and provenance – very important features for today's discerning collectors (lot 148, estimate €12,000-18,000). From the postwar period, there is a large sheet by Capogrossi, an artist who has grown on the market in the last five years. Its curiosity is that it is drawn on the front and on the back (lot 151, estimate €10,000-15,000).

Among the multiples is a beautiful and large sheet by Joan Miro (90.7 x 63 cm), dedicated to the Catalan architect Gaudí. It is a well-preserved incision of which there are only 50 pieces (lot 5, estimate €7,500-10.000).

From the postwar period, there are two sheets by Burri, a very sought-after artist at international level. One of them is an etching and lithography from the series of the "molds" from 1957 (lot 49, estimate €1,000-1,500) and a multiple by Victor Vasarely from 1967 (lot 1, estimate €1,500-2,000).



 Mirko Basaldella, ‘Composition,’ 1954. Courtesy Minerva Auctions, Rome.

Piero Dorazio, ‘Lungo e alterno,’ 1965. Courtesy Minerva Auctions, Rome.

Mimmo Rotella, ‘Untitled - Developpe en Positif,’ 1993. Courtesy Minerva Auctions, Rome.

Filippo de Pisis, ‘Jardin du Luxembourg,’ 1933. Courtesy Minerva Auctions, Rome.

Last Updated on Thursday, 20 March 2014 13:04

Art Market Italy: sale of the Bartolozzi collection

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Thursday, 06 March 2014 13:52
 Image courtesy Cambi Genoa. GENOA, Italy – On March 12, part of the collection of the famous antique dealers Bartolozzi, active in Florence for four generations, will go up for auction at Cambi in Genoa. More than 150 lots will be offered with estimates ranging from €200-250 for a golden mirror from the 19th century, up to €150,000-180,000 for two round oil paintings by Baroque artist Giovanni Battista Gaulli called Baciccio. Another part of the collection was dispersed at Christie's in London in October. The total result was £825,875 with sold rates of 51 percent by lot and 54 percent by value.

The gallery dates to 1877, when Guido Bartolozzi opened his antiques shop in an era in which Florence was the capital of the antiquities market. In addition to the historic location at 18 Via Maggio, which was already known for its prestigious antique dealers, Bartolozzi bought the Renaissance Palazzo Michelozzi in 1920, since then home of the family.

Over the decades the gallery's offer has been among the highest at the national and international level, ranging between various kinds of objects, artworks, furniture and paintings from the 15th to the 19th century. While following the evolution of taste, the gallery has always focused on quality and originality. The gallery has participated in the most important exhibitions of the field, including the Gotha in Parma and the Biennale of Antiquaries of Florence, where Bartolozzi has always participated since the foundation of the fair in 1959. The grandson of the founder of the gallery, also called Guido Bartolozzi, was also vice-president and general secretary of the fair from 1985 to 2001.

Now, after considering the changes of taste and of the art market, the gallery's heir and current owner, Massimo Bartolozzi, has decided to close the shop on Via Maggio to continue his activity in the prestigious premises of Palazzo Michelozzi, by appointment only. Massimo Bartolozzi intends to cater to collectors who seek objects that are not just for decoration but are exceptional, and he will focus on the high end of the market.

For Cambi it is an honor to offer this sale, also in consideration of the professional and personal relationship that the auction house founders have with Bartolozzi.

"It has been almost 20 years since the day I found myself with Massimo to run an auction," Matteo Cambi recalls. "At the time I took care of maritime art catalogs for the auction house Rubinacci and he was the auctioneer. I vividly remember how the room was full of participants, the hands that rose simultaneously, the deals that were running fast, and he always managed to lead the sales toward rewarding results. For me he was a teacher, the room could not resist ... It is also because of those days spent together that after some time we decided to open Cambi Auction House."

The sale catalog includes a great variety of objects, from sculpture to cabinetry, to furniture refined with semiprecious stones, to carved and gilded consoles.

Among the most important pieces, in addition to the already mentioned paintings by Baciccio (lot 56), there will be a couple of Louis XVI Maggiolini-style drawers (lot 80, estimate €40,000-50,000), a pair of lacquered and gilt 18th-century Moors (lot 115, estimate €30,000-40,000), a game table set with semiprecious stones scenes (lot 76, estimate €15,000-18,000), a small Empire desk ascribed to Giovanni Socci (lot 62, estimate €15,000-18,000); three wonderful scrolls (lot 116, €4,000-4,500), a Venetian majolica bowl from the 17th century (lot 108, estimate €1,000-1,500), six lacquered and gilt armchairs of Sicilian manufacture from 1830-1840 (lot 60, estimate €15,000-20,000), a French commode by Mathieu Criaerd (1698-1776) lacquered with chinoiseries and with gilt bronzes (lot 90, estimate €30,000-40,000), and two rare swivel stools from the 18th century (lot 100, €2,000-2,500).

Which is Massimo Bartolozzi's favorite lot? A pair of legs of an ancient refectory table from the 16th century (lot 3, estimate €500-600). "They are original, I have had them for years, and I almost regret selling them."

 Image courtesy Cambi Genoa.  Image courtesy Cambi Genoa.  Image courtesy Cambi Genoa.  Image courtesy Cambi Genoa.  Image courtesy Cambi Genoa.
Last Updated on Thursday, 06 March 2014 14:14
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