Agrati Collection, the "crazy love" that leaves Italy

Teresa Scarale
Teresa Scarale
Read Time: 3'
The glittering squares of Christie's (New York, Paris, Milan) will host the divestment of part of the Agrati collection. A considerable part of the prestigious contemporary art collection was donated to Intesa Sanpaolo, which celebrated it with a significant exhibition at Milan's Gallerie d'Italia

Un Folle Amore - The Agrati Collection is the eloquent title of the auction Christie's New York will hold on November 17, 2022, in the Big Apple, in the heart of the fall "Marquee Week" (the week that, twice a year, welcomes the house's highest number of zeroes auctions). The second and third sessions will subsequently occur in Paris (November 30) and Milan (actually online, from November 23 to December 5). The Luigi and Peppino Agrati collection is one of the most important private collections of contemporary art, put together over years of "mad love" and artistic intelligence. The two industrialists, sons of Lombardy's enlightened bourgeoisie, assembled it in 1968. Over the past 50 years, the group of works has expanded to become one of the world's most important private collections (a hundred or so) by contemporary Italian and international artists of the second half of the 20th century.

Agrati, reductive to call it a business collection

From Informal to Pop Art, from Arte Povera to Conceptual Art, and on to Neo-Expressionism and Transavantgarde, the Agrati collection traverses and interweaves the movements that marked the course of world art in the second half of the 20th century. Consider just a few artists: Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Robert Rauschenberg, Christo, Lucio Fontana, Piero Manzoni, Mario Schifano, Alberto Burri, and Fausto Melotti. The works that will change hands in a few weeks include blue-chip artists such as Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Lucio Fontana, Piero Manzoni, and Minjung Kim. The latter is a family friend and executor of the will of Luigi Agrati (who passed away in 2016).


The most important works from the Agrati collection are at auction at Christie's

Untitled, 1981, by Jean-Michel Basquiat (estimate: $4,000,000-7,000,000), is an excellent example of the early style of the man who would later be called the "Black Picasso." It is an autobiographical painting made by the 22-year-old artist recalling a car accident in which he was involved at 8.

Also autobiographical is Andy Warhol's work, Self-Portrait, 1978 (valuation: $2,500,000-4,000,000). The self-portrait, which features three overlapping views of the artist, belongs to one of his most psychologically profound series and boasts a good resume: shown in numerous international exhibitions, it was also the cover of the book (1979) Andy Warhol: Portraits of the '70s. A sporadic type of painting signed by the father of pop art, it is one of only eight portraits in this format that Warhol made in early 1978, the only one left in private hands to be painted with a gold palette.

Lucio Fontana's Spatial Concept, 1953, is marvelous ($1,800,000-3,000,000). Overcoming the constraints of two-dimensionality, the progression of the bands of color dynamizes the space. This is a remarkably energetic example of Fontana's work: the applications of white paint are thick and repeated, in a series of marks and broken glass expanding from the center of the canvas.

After Peppino Agrati died in 1990, his brother Luigi and his wife picked the baton of collecting. They donated much of the family collection to the Intesa Sanpaolo banking group, which is committed to enhancing Italy's artistic heritage. The bank celebrated the collection of the two entrepreneurs with an exhibition at the Gallerie d'Italia - Piazza della Scala the exhibition Art as Revelation. He was held from the Luigi and Peppino Agrati Collection from May 16 to August 19, 2018.

Piero Mazoni


Minjung Kim


Editor-in-chief of Pleasure Assets. A professional journalist from Gargano, she holds a degree in Economic and Social Disciplines from Bocconi University in Milan. She writes about finance, economics, art, and luxury markets. Teresa has been part of We Wealth since its founding.


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