Inflated? Lucio Fontana Yellow Concetto Spaziale’s $20m-$30m Estimate At Sotheby’s


Lucio Fontana’s Concetto spaziale, La fine di Dio (1964), goes under the hammer at Sotheby’s 15th May. The work has been part of the Cindy and Howard Rachofsky collection for over twenty years and will be auctioned at Sotheby’s. 

The luminous cadmium yellow artwork, a standout from Fontana’s renowned series, carries a hefty estimate at $20 million to $30 million. This valuation marks it as the most expensive Fontana piece ever to hit the auction block and hints at a potential record-breaking sale.

Among Fontana’s La Fine di Dio series, Concetto stands out as one of only four executed in cadmium yellow. One of its counterparts set Fontana’s current auction record of $29.1 million at Christie’s in 2015.

The Rachofsky’s Concetto Spaziale, La fine di Dio, distinguished itself among the four yellow versions. Notably featured in the Met’s Fontana retrospective in 2019, Sotheby’s describes it as a work that “sears with visual drama and heightened intensity” due to its “all-over density of punctures, around which thickly built-up layers and globs of impasto coalesce, resulting in a composition that is truly unique and captivating.”

Initially acquired by the Rachofskys from Sotheby’s London in 2003 for $2.3 million, the purchase marked a watershed moment for the couple’s collecting journey. It was a pivotal step towards their aspiration of establishing an international collection spotlighting movements yet to gain global recognition.

While the sale may be perceived as a setback for the Dallas Museum of Art (DMA), to which the Rachofskys, alongside the Hoffman and Rose families, pledged their entire collection in 2005, there’s a caveat. The couple retains the freedom to acquire and sell works to align with their evolving vision for the collection, documented as an “irrevocable gift” in the DMA’s Fast Forward catalogue.

According to Sotheby’s, the Rachofskys have already contributed over $50 million of art to the museum. Proceeds from this sale will fuel further acquisitions, allowing the collection to evolve in ways that continue benefiting the Dallas Museum of Art.

Lucio Fontana: Pioneering Artist of Spatialism

Lucio Fontana (1899-1968) was an Italian-Argentine artist widely celebrated for his groundbreaking contributions to the art world, particularly his innovative Spatialist movement. Born on February 19, 1899, in Rosario, Argentina, Fontana spent his formative years in Italy, where he studied sculpture at the Brera Academy in Milan. His early artistic endeavours were heavily influenced by his experiences with Futurism and Constructivism, which laid the foundation for his later explorations into spatial concepts and the interplay between art and technology.

Fontana’s artistic journey significantly turned in the late 1940s when he founded the Spatialist movement, advocating for a new creative language transcending traditional two-dimensional boundaries. Central to Spatialism was the concept of “spatial environments,” where Fontana experimented with puncturing, slashing, and perforating canvases to create dynamic compositions incorporating light and space elements. His radical approach to art challenged conventional notions of painting and sculpture, establishing him as a visionary figure in the art world.

Throughout his career, Fontana produced extensive work across various mediums, including painting, sculpture, ceramics, and installations. His iconic series, such as the “Spatial Concept” and “Concetto Spaziale,” exemplify his innovative use of space and materiality, with each piece inviting viewers to reconsider their perception of art and its relationship to the surrounding environment.

Fontana’s groundbreaking contributions to art have earned him international acclaim and recognition. His works are in prestigious museums and collections worldwide, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Tate Modern in London, and the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao.

In recent years, Fontana’s artworks have commanded significant prices at auctions, reflecting their enduring relevance and influence in the art market. Notable sales include:

“Concetto Spaziale, La fine di Dio” (1964) – Sold for $29.1 million at Christie’s in 2015, setting a record for Fontana’s auction prices.

“Concetto spaziale, Attese” (1965) – Sold for $22.1 million at Sotheby’s in 2017.

“Concetto spaziale, La fine di Dio” (1963) – Sold for $20.9 million at Sotheby’s in 2018.

These remarkable prices underscore Fontana’s enduring legacy as a visionary artist whose groundbreaking explorations into space and form continue to captivate audiences worldwide.

Photo: Courtesy Sotheby’s

Fontana’s Yellow Concetto Spaziale will hit the auction block at Sotheby’s Contemporary Evening Auction on May 15.

Read More



, , ,