Alighiero Boetti (1940-1994)
Alighiero Boetti (1940-1994)
Alighiero Boetti (1940-1994)
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Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more PROPERTY FROM AN IMPORTANT EUROPEAN COLLECTION
Alighiero Boetti (1940-1994)

Sciogliersi come neve al sole (Melting like the snow in the sun)

Alighiero Boetti (1940-1994)
Sciogliersi come neve al sole (Melting like the snow in the sun)
(i) signed 'Alighiero boetti' (on the overlap)
(ii) signed 'Alighiero boetti' (on the turnover edge)
embroidery on canvas, in two parts
(i) 8 7/8 x 8 ¼in. (22.5 x 21cm.)
(ii) 8 ¼ x 8 ¼in. (21.5 x 21.5cm.)
(2)(i) Executed in 1988
(ii) Executed in 1987
Private Collection, Italy.
Acquired from the above by the present owner.
Special notice

Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent.
Post lot text
These works are registered in the Archivio Alighiero Boetti, Rome, under no. 8043 and 6104 and are accompanied by a certificate of authenticity.

Brought to you by

Alessandro Diotallevi
Alessandro Diotallevi

Lot Essay

‘Snow is sometimes a she, a soft one.
Her kiss on your cheek, her finger on your sleeve
In early December, on a warm evening,
And you turn to meet her, saying “It’s snowing!”
But it is not. And nobody’s there.
Empty and calm is the air'


‘I am interested in primary matters, such as the alphabet, the map, the newspaper, among other things owing to the spring which thus tautens between order and disorder’

Executed in 1987 and 1988, Sciogliersi come neve al sole (Melting like snow in the sun) presents a poetic pair of Alighiero Boetti’s wide-ranging series of tapestries, the Arazzi. Comprising of two grids of 5 by 5 squares which are filled by capital letters – one grid completely white, the other in an elegant, muted palette of pink, olive, blue, orange, green and grey tones – Sciogliersi come neve al sole offers a playful word game: the seemingly random distribution of characters is in fact perfectly regulated, legible only to those who have decoded the artist’s formula. When read in vertical columns from left to right, the individual letters spell out the title of the work. The subtle embroidery in the present works stands in contrast to the vivid colours of many of Boetti’s other Arazzi, which are executed by Afghan women whom the artist commissioned to weave his tapestries. In the totally white grid, the letters are distinguished only by their subtleties of contour and texture, dissolving gently into the background in an apt enactment of the work’s lyrical title. The gentle, earthy hues of the coloured grid, meanwhile, bring to mind the dawn of spring as the snow melts: cracks of blue sky and shoots of green emerge in a flush of new life and growth.

The Arazzi came to embody Boetti’s belief that the unity of the world comprises entirely of a harmony of opposites based on the coexistence of order and disorder. Within the geometric square, words are fragmented into letters, creating a composite of organised chaos. At first glance, these letters can be appreciated not for their semantic meaning within a word, but instead as autonomous shapes and forms. By splitting the text into its own constituent parts, Boetti exposes language as a sophisticated but ultimately artificial and systematic arrangement of form. An amalgam of image, writing and language, Sciogliersi come neve al sole is an embodiment of Boetti’s favourite themes and philosophies, presenting the central tenets of the artist’s prolific oeuvre. Beyond this all-encompassing mysticism, however, Sciogliersi come neve al sole also speaks wistfully of intimacy, romance and faded memory. Boetti stated that the title phrase, which he used in a number of Arazzi as well as in an extended version in his Mappe series, referred to love. In a letter of 1992 he wrote: ‘How one should understand Scogliersi come neve al sole pensando a te a noi (“Melting like the snow in the sun in thoughts of you, of us”): Whom I was addressing my thoughts to back then, I no longer know. Most certainly it was a lady, a woman. After all, you melt because of heat and heat is what you receive with love, with erotic tension, with emotional being. All of this is energy. Energy = heat and heat melts the snow (the white)’ (A. Boetti, quoted in R. Lauter, Alighiero Boetti: Mettere al Mondo il Mondo, exh. cat., Frankfurt, 1998, p. 73).

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