ETTORE SOTTSASS (1917-2007)
ETTORE SOTTSASS (1917-2007)

TWO TONDOS, CIRCA 1958

Details
ETTORE SOTTSASS (1917-2007)
TWO TONDOS, CIRCA 1958
for Il Sestante, copper, enamel
each 11¾ in. (30 cm.) diameter
each signed Il Sestante (2)

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Lot Essay

cf. F. and N. Ferrari, ed., Ettore Sottsass: Enamels 1958, Turin, 2011, pp. 72-73 for drawings and illustrations of the red/white tondo, pp. 6 for the first Il Sestante catalogue including the black/white tondo, and p. 80 for an illustration.

The series of ceramic and enamel objects created by Ettore Sottsass in the late 1950s and 1960s represent not only an important shift in his artistic approach, but also a key moment of conceptual innovation for the artist, architect and designer. Moving away from the heavy influence of the Viennese school of art and architecture, Sottsass allowed other influences to come to the fore; the work of Paul Klee, his experience on the Indian sub-continent, Bauhaus research and the writings of Lao Tse to name a few.
In 1958, Sottsass was named the artistic director for Il Sestante, a new gallery in Milan, and in 1959 showed his new enamels alongside the work of Arnoldo Pomodoro. These vases and plates, when considered together, perhaps inspired by ancient and sacred objects such as pyxes and patens, substantiated for Sottsass a full visual system of signs and symbols. Much like Klee's paintings, the colors and forms herein make-up an entire 'cosmic representation'. Sottsass' genius here, however, is that the works feature layers of complicated significance, yet they are visually simple and quite striking works of art.

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