MODERN AND CONTEMPORARY ART

The spring auction of Modern and Contemporary Art scheduled to take place on 11 and 12 June is full of interesting proposals.

Ceramics play a leading role. Il Ponte rediscovers a masterpiece by Lucio Fontana, a remarkable, large-size, polychrome ceramic figure of a delicately coloured ballerina, from a private collection in Milan, donated directly by the artist and kept, since then, in the owner’s home (Ballerina, 1952, polychrome ceramic, 75x50x40 cm, starting price € 250,000). The master of spatialism is also present with a fluctuating Madonna col Bambino (starting price € 100,000) and a superb Crocifissione measuring 52 cm, with a starting price of € 180,000. There are also several works by Fausto Melotti and a group of terracottas by Pablo Picasso.

Special attention will be devoted to the Twentieth century and the Italian figurative art with works by Cagnaccio di San Pietro, Ottone Rosai, Massimo Campigli, Renato Paresce and Giorgio de Chirico. These are joined by a section of futurist works: Fortunato Depero, with Riesumazioni veneziane (1926), from the Mattioli collection, displayed at the Venice Art Biennial in 1932, a painting  dated 1915 by Baldessari, and a rare bronze from 1930 by Mino Rosso.

The works on paper include a 1925 gouache by Frantisek Kupka, a refined portrait of a woman by Amedeo Modigliani given in 1939 by Robert Lebel to art historian Antonio Morassi, a theatrical stage sketch by Alberto Savinio for the ballet The Firebird performed at La Scala, and a Natura Morta dated 1930 by Giorgio Morandi.

There is a significant presence of international masterpieces, including a 1922 oil painting by Paul Klee, with prestigious origins including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, some oil paintings from the later Fifties by Emil Schumacher, Gérard Schneider and William Scott, and an etching   by Francis Bacon, Three Studies of the Male Back. An oil painting by Andrè Masson and one by Max Ernst dated 1951, dedicated to the Higher Being of Birds, Loplop, the artist’s personal ghost, one by Bernard Buffet (1958), a “knot” by Jorge Eielson (1966) and a mixed technique by Antonio Dias (1977).

Two historical works by Hans Hartung are featured in the catalogue: a mixed technique on paper, dated 1952, from an important Milanese private collection,  starting price  € 25,000, will be flanked by the striking essentiality of a 1958 oil on board featured on the cover.

The catalogue also contains a collection of works by Gruppo Zero and Arte Concreta: a rare papier mâché by Jan Schoonoven from the collection of Dutch artist Henk Peeters, an oil on canvas by Max Bill (1966-69) and a  museum piece by Victor Vasarely dated 1957 (estimated at 100,000 – 150,000 €). The mystic Mediterranean Blue by Yves Klein, one of the very few works by the French genius on sale on the international market, is also present, with a starting price of € 80,000.

We continue with Joseph Beuys, two works by Ben Nicholson from the Fifties, a paper on canvas and an oil from the Galerie Beyeler in Basel. Then, Ray Johnson, a big canvas by Irma Blank, Johannis-Nacht by Anselm Kiefermixed technique with photographic reproduction of I sette Palazzi Celesti, a site-specific installation for the Pirelli Hangar Bicocca in Milan – and two works by William Kentridge from the collection of Giannegidio Silva, chairman of the company  Metropolitana di Napoli.

There will be no shortage of internationally renowned works by Italian artists, such as Enrico Castellani, Fausto Melotti with a brass Senza titolo 1935-1974, based on a design by the artist dating back to 1935, and to a ballpoint pen on paper by Alighiero Boetti. Then there is a group by Antonio Calderara ranging from figurative paintings to abstract synthesis, Arnaldo Pomodoro,  a Fiore fantastico from 1954 by Osvaldo Licini, Enrico Baj with Grande Spettacolo (oil, collage, glass, mirror and stone from 1956), a canvas by Antonio Sanfilippo dated 1955, an iconic paper by  Jannis Kounellis, Segnali 1960, a large acrylic on canvas by Valerio Adami (1969-70), and an oil on canvas by Mario Schifano (1965) from the pop period, Oltre le strisce.

In line with tradition, considerable space in the catalogue is devoted to sculptures: Carmelo Cappello will be present with a Portugal pink marble, opposed to a bronze by Giò Pomodoro, Guscio (1965), with a very strong and flamboyant character. The Italians will be joined by South American artist Agustín Cárdenas, with an imposing white marble from 1971, over two metres tall.



"Il Ponte is reconfirmed as the star of the Italian art market in 2018. During the first semester already the Auction house (Milanese d'origine contrôlée) had won the gold medal and at the end of the year it maintains the podium with a second semester to spotlighted. The year closes, as a matter of fact, with 30.8 million Euro turnover and an increase of 20 percent over 2017"

L'Economia del Corriere della Sera | 31 December 2018

"(...)The best performance were recorded only where the catalogues were the result of a rigid selection (...) One example for all, in the Italian reality: the Milanese auction house Il Ponte with its mid-December closed 2018 realizing its record with about 12 million Euro turnover, no less than 11 artist records, and a sale rate of 90% of total lots and 190% increase in value: making it today the first Italian auction house for the modern and contemporary art department"

Collezione da Tiffany, 8 January 2019

"Ponte leader of the Italian auction houses (...) 12 million Euros from the department of Modern and Contemporary art (90% lots sold) was able to beat the duopoly of Sotheby's and Christie's"

Milano Finanza | 12 January 2019

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