Modern and Contemporary Art

Palazzo Crivelli - Via Pontaccio 12, Milan
Viewing: 1-2-3 December (10/13 – 14.30/18.30)
Auction: 5 December

The fall auction of Modern and Contemporary Art organized by Il Ponte Casa d’Aste, a special and eagerly awaited event, again offers a rich and diversified selection of works by Italian and international artists.  In fact, the auction features works by the most important and critically-acclaimed Italian artists, like  Lucio Fontana, Fausto Melotti, Afro, Tancredi, Adolfo Wildt, Carol Rama, Maurizio Cattelan, Vincenzo Agnetti, Mario Merz, Mimmo Rotella and Mario Schifano. Among the most prominent foreign artists, there are Roman Opalka, François Morellet, Wifredo Lam, Shozo Shimamoto, Hervé Télémaque, Joan Miró and Christo.

Italian nineteen hundreds – There will be a section dedicated to Italian painting of the first years of the twentieth century, featuring works by Giorgio De Chirico, Massimo Campigli, Filippo De Pisis, Ottone Rosai, Ardengo Soffici, Giulio D'Anna, Giorgio Morandi and Umberto Boccioni. Standouts include two superbly elegant drawings by Adolfo Wildt, dated 1915 and 1917 (estimate € 12,000-15,000), “Paesaggio marino – La tenda sul mare” [Seascape – A tent on the ocean], 1940, an oil on canvas by Carlo Carrà (estimate € 25,000-35,000); a rare Gino Rossi dated 1913-14, inspired by van Gogh, and an important painting by Renato Paresce dated 1924.

Abstract art – Italian abstract art is represented by two significant paintings by Atanasio Soldati, “Natura morta con pipa” [Still life with pipe], painted in the ‘40s and “Composizione” [Composition], 1934, (estimate € 10,000 – 15,000 each ), as well as two important gouache works by Alberto Magnelli and an oil painting by Bruno Munari, dated 1950.

Informal art – An important place is reserved for informal art, among which collectors will be pleased to find works by some of the most prominent exponents of post-war art in Italy. The undisputed masterpiece is the large canvas entitled “Racconti di Guascogna” [Tales of Gascony], , 1951, by Afro; also from the ‘50s, Pesca in Adriatico [Fishing in the Adriatic] by Renato Birolli (estimate € 9,000 – 12,000). Both works were exhibited at the Catherine Viviano Gallery in New York in the '50s .

Two works by Tancredi come from different periods in the artist’s development: one is on paper, from the '50s, and the other is a large canvas dated 1960. The catalog also includes a collection of works by Emilio Scanavino, including the historic “I nostri fiori” [Our Flowers], 1978 (estimate € 10,000 – 15,000 ), and four pieces by Ennio Morlotti, including a canvas from the Corrente period.

A separate sub-section is dedicated to the artists of the Gruppo Forma 1, whose credo was “form as means and end,” in their search for objective abstract forms: Carla Accardi is represented by three works, including “Capriccio spagnolo 6” [Spanish capriccio 6], a splendid canvas 130x87 cm (estimate € 20,000 – 30,000). Pietro Consagra is present with the iron sculpture “Colloquio con il vento” [Dialogue with the wind], 1962 (estimate € 19,000 – 25,000 ). There are also works by other group members; Giulio Turcato, Piero Dorazio and Achille Perilli.

Arte Povera – An important private collector has placed a number of Arte Povera works on auction. There are two “Sali” by Pier Paolo Calzolari, part of his most characteristic body of work, one of them in a large format (estimate € 50,000 – 70,000), and six works by Giulio Paolini, including some card collages.  Gilberto Zorio’s three “Stelle” [Stars] are estimated at € 6,000 to 10,000. Claudio Cintoli is present with “Annodare” [Knots], 1969 (estimate € 6,000 – 8,000 ). There is also an important piece by Pietro Gilardi, “Sassaia di fiume” [Rocks in a river], an historic composition, 100x100x20 cm. Finally, there is the pair of sculptures by Mario Ceroli, “Aria di Daria” [An air of Daria] (estimate € 8,000 – 12,000).

Conceptual art – Collectors of Conceptual Art will have a wide range of works to choose from. A curious private collection, acquired by Arturo Schwarz in the ‘60s and ‘70s, is the origin of two objects in painted wood by Gianfranco Baruchello, 1965 (estimate 5,000 – 10,000), and five sculptures by Jiri Kolar. Vincenzo Agnetti is the author of the Bakelite piece entitled "Lo zero è la partenza e la fine di tutte le regole" [Zero is the beginning and end of every rule] (estimate € 35,000 – 50,000); and there is a large canvas by Emilio Isgrò dated 1974 (estimate € 10,000 – 15,000). The section is completed by two interesting assemblages by Ray Johnson from the '70s.

Ceramics and Sculpture – An important part of the catalog consists of a collection of sculptures, among which two black marble pieces by Gio' Pomodoro, a “Toro” [Bull] in brass and a tile in gesso by Fausto Melotti, an assemblage of toothbrushes and cement by Arman, 1971, two pieces in iron by Alik Cavaliere, three sculptures in glass and gesso by Paolo Icaro, a “Disco solare” [Solar disc] by Arnaldo Pomodoro and the iron piece by Pietro Consagra mentioned above. The ceramics include several pieces by Pablo Picasso, Wifredo Lam and Agenore Fabbri.


In conclusion, a few important works merit individual attention, as they comprise the top lots of this fall’s auction. First and foremost, a splendid work by Fausto Melotti, a monumental sculpture from the ‘70s. And there is also a piece by Lucio Fontana, a precious sheet of metal with graffiti, done in the early ‘60s for Mario Queirolo. There is an important section devoted to Carol Rama, an artist whose work is steadily increasing in value, consisting of six pieces from the ‘60s, originating from private collections in Turin. There is a precious mixed media work with hooks on canvas, and “Dorina”, 1944. “I colori si toccano” [Colors touch] is a very delicate triptych in shades of blue, one of the “atmospheric” colors, so loved by Ettore Spalletti (estimate € 30,000 – 50,000).

Finally, there is a work by Roman Opalka “Opalka 1965/1- ∞ Detail 1370001 – 1373095”, in testimony to the basis of his work: it is the recording of a process that documents time and its definition. “All my work is a single thing, the description of the progression from the number one to infinity. A single thing, a single life.”