Surprising Gnoli and Morandi superstars at Sotheby's Milan

Teresa Scarale
Teresa Scarale
Read Time: 3'
Great satisfaction for the final auction of 2022 for the auction house's Milan office, which achieves its highest annual revenue in 10 years. Surprising fate (or maybe not) for one of the evening's signature lots

Sotheby's Milan Contemporary Art auction ended with a company record. The last Milan session of the year earned the auction house a 10-year record for the Lombard capital's headquarters: the 2022 sales topped 38.6 million euros. In the six auctions held in Milan in 2022, 82 percent of the lots offered found a new home, while nearly two-thirds of those sold exceeded the highest estimates.

"Many collectors attended last night (11/23/2022, ed.), sparking heated bidding in the hall, online, and over the phone. All of this resulted in many of the lots offered going well over the highest estimates. We saw remarkable results for the works of international artists. However, it was the works of Italian masters that took center stage with Giorgio Morandi, Alighiero Boetti, and Lucio Fontana," said Marta Giani, head of Italian sales, Contemporary Art, Europe. Perhaps the biggest surprise, however, came from the highly anticipated Gnoli: the owner finally decided not to part with it and to withdraw it from the sale.

The auction's top lot was Giorgio Morandi's Natura Morta, which was awarded after a heated battle at €3.4 million (the starting estimate placed it between €700,000 and €1 million). The figure puts it at number one in Italy among the most expensive works of contemporary art. The 61 lots hammered out by Filippo Lotti, managing director of Sotheby's Italy, reached €14.3 million, far exceeding the pre-sale estimates (range of €8.2-11.8 million). More than half of the lots were sold for figures above the top estimate; more than half had Italian buyers. Participants came from six continents. Again, collectors rewarded the "novelty" of the lots: more than three-quarters of the works were making their appearance on the market for the first time

Excellent market performance for Alighiero Boetti: Colonna, a pivotal work by the artist, sold to a collector connected online for 1.7 million (estimate: 1-1.5 million). Two other pieces sold for 302,400 euros (Maledetti privilegi) and 73,080 euros (Piegare e Spiegare), respectively. The Milan sale on 23/11 comes a week after the artist's auction record for the monumental Mappa sold for 8.5 million euros ($8.8 million) at Sotheby's in New York.


Lucio Fontana, Spatial Concept, New York 1962 doubled its estimate and sold for 1.2 million (500,000-700,000 estimate).
The Concetto spaziale with bright pink gash sold for 756,000 euros (400,000-600,000 euros).
From the same title but made with inks, a rare work on canvas fetched 441,000 euros (350,000-450,000, the initial estimate).

Henryk Stażewski set a new auction record, whose work Relief No. 8 more than doubled its top estimate to reach €1 million (400,000-800,000).
The work comes from the Salvatore Manzoni Collection in Milan. Stazewski Area 397, a 1961 work by Giuseppe Capogrossi realized 352,800 euros (200,000-300,000)
Created at the peak of the artist's career, Hans Hartung's work, T1962-H7, realized 340,200 (starting estimate: €200,000-300,000).

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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