Record for Mario Schifano at Sotheby’s in Milan

Record for Mario Schifano at Sotheby’s in Milan
Record for Mario Schifano at Sotheby’s in Milan

Alighiero Boetti, Postal work (permutation), 1973. Courtesy of Sotheby’s

The autumn sale of Palazzo Serbelloni closed on November 24 online, with a satisfactory result, to confirm the positive trend which is characterizing the last session of both Italian and international charms and the attractiveness of the English house, in a state of grace after the New York results.


Third sale of contemporary art by Sotheby’s Italia for 2021, the session adds to the previous ones – Contemporary Art | Milan (May) e Contemporary Curated Milan – in obtaining sale total higher than the maximum estimates and exceeds 9.5 million, amounting to € 9,639,160. Many of the works in the catalog did the same, 64% of the 60 lots, which were sold well beyond the high estimates and capable of attracting international collectors as well. “This season’s contemporary art auction was yet another confirmation of how thriving and dynamic the market is, Alighiero Boetti and Mario Schifano continue to be at the center of attention, achieving great results”, as reported by the Head of Sale Marta Giani.


The catalog could not miss the most famous names of post-war Italian art, from Alighiero Boetti to Alberto Burri and Lucio Fontana, together with international contemporaries such as Christo, Elizabeth Peyton, Joseph Beuys, among others, with Josef Albers and works of early Futurism and Magic Realism. But it is Mario Schifano the star of the session, with the new auction record achieved with Sign from 1960. The work, which belonged to the Liverani collection, totaled € 1,041,000, overcoming the initial estimate of € 550,000-700,000.


Great enthusiasm also for the works of Alighiero Boetti. Planes, a rare red ballpoint pen among the largest ever made, sold for € 980,500, setting a new record for a work in the same series. Another pen, black in this case, Being lazy, exceeds the pre-auction estimate of € 350,000-450,000 and changes hands for € 557,000. While it is again record for Postal work (permutation), which, with a total of € 375,500, updates the record for a work in the series. Among the works of modern art, a futurist pastel of Gino Severini from 1913, Argentinian tango. The work, exhibited at the Futurist exhibition in Florence and Naples between 1913 and 1914, had not appeared to the public since 1965 and had been kept in the same collection since the 1970s. At the auction he arrived with an estimate of € 400,000-600,000, which he easily doubled, with a sale price of € 835,300. Hidden from the public for a long time, since the artist’s last solo exhibition in Tokyo in 1984, he was also Spatial concept, Waits, from Lucio fontana, from a Japanese collection, and which also recorded a significant result, with a total of € 799,000. Instead, it came from the prestigious collection of Ernst and Hildy Beyeler Study for Homage to the Square: Sell: E. B. 7, by Josef Albers, who nimbly surpassed the pre-auction estimate of € 180,000-250,000 and found a new owner for € 387,6000 €.


It remains to remember, among other important results, at least the excellent reception given to Leonor Fini, which had been missing from Sotheby’s auctions in Milan for 15 years and of which the English house holds the latest record (Self-portrait at scorpion, $ 2.3 million). Greed, dated 1929, among the works of the artist’s Magic Realism period and forerunner of his subsequent surrealist imagery, arrived at auction with an estimate of € 60,000-80,000, which he left behind with an auction of € 138,600.

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