'Most valuable 20th Century Italian art auction ever' to be staged by Sotheby's

As we've reported, Christie's is holding a major sale of Italian contemporary art in two weeks' time. That very same week, another powerful sale of Italian art will be presented by the company's main rival.

Sotheby's London has announced that its forthcoming 20th Century Italian Art Sale on Thursday, October 13, 2011 will be the company's strongest ever, both in number of lots offered and the quality of works featured.

Expected to realise between £15,872,000 and £21,718,000, Sotheby's claim it is also the highest estimated sale in this collecting category ever staged by an auction house.

The sale, which is highlighted by two important private collections 'Italian Identity' and Property from an Important New York Collection, features works by Alberto Burri, Gino Severini, Lucio Fontana and Marino Marini among many others.

Discussing the forthcoming auction, Cheyenne Westphal, Sotheby's Chairman of Contemporary Art Europe, said:

"Our 20th Century Italian Art Sale this year is not only Sotheby's strongest, both in terms of lots offered and the quality of works presented, but it is also the highest estimated sale in this category ever staged by an auction house.

"This sale will present collectors in the field with the unrivalled opportunity to acquire exceptionally rare and fresh-to-market examples by blue-chip artists that span the entire 20th century Italian art canon.

"The sale of 'Italian Identity', which features the most comprehensive group of arte povera ever to be offered for public sale, is all the more timely since the Museo d'Arte Moderna di Bologna's Arte Povera 2011 exhibition, curated by Germano Celant, has just begun its seven-month tour throughout Italy at among the country's foremost museums and institutions."

Alberto Burri Combustione Legno
Alberto Burri's disturbing Combustione Legno

Headlining the sale will be an exceptional private collection of Italian Art that spans the whole of the 20th century. The collection, 'Italian Identity', represents all of the major developments in Italian Avant-garde art and is highlighted by the most comprehensive group of 'Arte Povera' ever to come to the open market.

The collection, which includes pieces by Giorgio de Chirico, Giorgio Morandi, Alberto Burri, Piero Manzoni, Alighiero Boetti and Michelangelo Pistoletto, is estimated to realise in excess of £7m.

One of the most important highlights in the collection is from a series initiated in 1957 comprising nearly 60 works in total, Combustione Legno, executed during same year, is the very first combusted wooden piece produced in this large scale by the immensely influential Alberto Burri (1915-1995).

Preceded only by a small experimental work significantly smaller than the present Combustione, this piece stands as the most compositionally resolved of these formative examples and is estimated at £800,000-1,200,000 ($1.87m).

Collectors interested in contemporary art should take a look at those we have available, such as this piece by Sarah Kate Wilson.

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