3 More
On occasion, Christie's has a direct financial int… Read more


embroidery on linen
86 1/2 x 170 1/4 in. (219.7 x 432.4 cm.)
Executed circa 1990.
Anne-Marie Sauzeau Boetti, Rome, acquired directly from the artist
Sperone Westwater, New York
Acquired from the above by the present owner, 2002
Alighiero e Boetti, exh. cat., New York, Gagosian Gallery, 2001, p. 82 (illustrated).
Alighiero Boetti Un pozzo senza fine, exh. cat., London, Ben Brown Fine Arts, 2006, p. 21 (illustrated).
C. Gute (ed.), Boetti by Afghan People, Peshawar, Pakistan, 1990. Photographs by Randi Malkin Steinberger, Santa Monica, 2011, n.p. (illustrated).
Alighiero Boetti: Minimum/Maximum, exh. cat., Venice, Fondazione Giorgio Cini, 2017, pp. 195 and 197 (illustrated).
Milan, Galleria Seno, Alighiero e Boetti, November 1991.
Kunstverein Bonn; Münster, Westfälischer Kunstverein; Kunstmuseum Luzern, Alighiero e Boetti 1965-1991. Synchronizität als ein Prinzip akausaler Zusammenhänge, September 1992-April 1993.
New York, Dia Center for the Arts, Worlds Envisioned: Alighiero e Boetti and Frédéric Bruly Bouabré, October 1994-June 1995, p. 8 (installation view illustrated), p. 42 (illustrated, dated 1991-1992).
Bremen, Neues Museum Weserberg, Terra Incognita, Five Visionary Worlds: Alighiero e Boetti, Vija Celmins, Neil Jenney, Jean-Luc Mylayne, Hiroshi Sugimoto, May-August 1998, p. 83, 148.
London, White Chapel Gallery, Alighiero e Boetti, September-November 1999, p. 23, fig. 56 (illustrated).
Venice, Biennale XLIX, Italian Pavillion, Alighiero e Boetti, June-November 2001.
Arts Club of Chicago, Alighiero e Boetti, January-April 2002, p. 13 (illustrated).
Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Red over Yellow, A Selection from a Private Collection, June-December 2017.
Special notice
On occasion, Christie's has a direct financial interest in the outcome of the sale of certain lots consigned for sale. This will usually be where it has guaranteed to the Seller that whatever the outcome of the auction, the Seller will receive a minimum sale price for the work. This is known as a minimum price guarantee. Where Christie's has provided a Minimum Price Guarantee it is at risk of making a loss, which can be significant, if the lot fails to sell. Christie's therefore sometimes chooses to share that risk with a third party. In such cases the third party agrees prior to the auction to place an irrevocable written bid on the lot. The third party is therefore committed to bidding on the lot and, even if there are no other bids, buying the lot at the level of the written bid unless there are any higher bids. In doing so, the third party takes on all or part of the risk of the lot not being sold. If the lot is not sold, the third party may incur a loss. The third party will be remunerated in exchange for accepting this risk based on a fixed fee if the third party is the successful bidder or on the final hammer price in the event that the third party is not the successful bidder. The third party may also bid for the lot above the written bid. Third party guarantors are required by us to disclose to anyone they are advising their financial interest in any lots they are guaranteeing. However, for the avoidance of any doubt, if you are advised by or bidding through an agent on a lot identified as being subject to a third party guarantee you should always ask your agent to confirm whether or not he or she has a financial interest in relation to the lot.
Further details
This work will be accompanied by a certificate issued by the Archivio Alighiero Boetti, Rome.
Sale room notice
This work will be accompanied by a certificate issued by the Archivio Alighiero Boetti, Rome.

Brought to you by

Vanessa Fusco
Vanessa Fusco Head of Department, Impressionist & Modern Art, New York

Lot Essay

Majestic, bejeweled with color, and brimming with an effusive array of shapes and motifs, Alighiero Boetti’s Tutto is a heady and rich concoction, symbolizing the greatest attributes of this beloved body of work. Spanning over fourteen feet wide, the present work is the largest Tutto ever to appear at auction. It offers a truly immersive experience—a sensorial phantasmagoria where the colors, textures and shapes mingle and dance before the eye. The present work is also distinguished by its extensive exhibition history, having been included in several major international museum exhibits of Boetti’s work, including the 1999 Whitechapel Art Gallery retrospective in London, as well as the Italian Pavilion of the 49th Venice Biennale in 2001.

The Tutti were Boetti’s final series of embroidered works (known as “arazzi”), and he pursued them until his death in 1994. As such, the Tutti can be seen as the final summation of everything he held dear. They touch upon the concept of ordine e disordine, or “order and disorder,” that had been a guiding principle for the artist since the late 1960s. “Tutto emerges from a vision of the world in which everything meets,” the curator Antonella Soldaini explained in 1999, writing in Boetti’s Whitechapel retrospective catalogue. “It also presents a notion of 'fullness,’ understood as the ability to encompass everything, as the desire to dissolve one's own self (Perdita d'identitá) in the indistinct flow of life and its countless fragments” (A. Soldaini, quoted in Alighiero e Boetti, exh. cat., London, Whitechapel Art Gallery, 1999, p. 23).

Boetti created his first large-scale Tutto in 1982, and would continue the series up until his premature death in 1994. The works were created in collaboration with Afghan families living in exile in Peshawar, Pakistan. Boetti had for years worked with traditional weavers in Afghanistan, operating out of the One Hotel in Kabul, but by 1989, due to the ongoing Soviet War in Afghanistan, had moved his collaboration to Northern Pakistan. Continuing work on the Tutti until his death, Boetti created ever larger and more elaborate creations, some stretching to as large as twenty feet, as in the 1994 Tutto in the collection of the Museum für Moderne Kunst in Frankfurt. Another large-scale example can be found in the Centre Georges Pompidou, in Paris.

Explaining how this practice was first conceived in Afghanistan, the artist recalled, “I asked my assistants to draw everything, every possible shape, abstract or figurative, and to amalgamate them until the paper sheet was saturated. Then I took the drawing to Afghanistan to get it embroidered with 90 kinds of different coloured threads, provided that there was an equal quantity of each of them. The different colours of each shape is chosen by the women. In order to avoid establishing any hierarchy among them, I use them all. Actually, my concern is to avoid to make choices according to my taste and to invent systems that they will then choose on my behalf” (A. Boetti, quoted in A. Zevi, Alighiero e Boetti: Scrivere, Ricamare, Disegnare, Corriere della Sera, 19 January 1992).

In Tutto, Boetti has orchestrated a massive celebration of color, texture and form, resulting from countless days, hours, weeks and years of careful and exquisite craftsmanship and symbolizing the kind of universal and spiritual truths that unite all of humankind. A plethora of symbols and shapes predominate the massive work - animals, flowers, musical instruments, dancing figures—each shape silhouetted and rotated, arranged in a jigsaw-puzzle style arrangement of interlocking forms. There is no up or down, no “right” way or “wrong” way. Everything exists in a fluid and infinite continuum—as if life itself were condensed and flattened, then passed through a kaleidoscope. ”I’m really pleased that each embroidery takes five years to make. And oddly, I’m patient enough to wait for them,” the artist has said. “In fact, I don’t wait for them. Then they arrive. There’s a long time involved, and there’s also uncertainty” (A. Boetti, quoted in “Bruno Cora in Conversation with Alighiero Boetti: A Drawing of FLying Thought,” in Alighiero Boetti: Game Plan, exh. cat., Museum of Modern Art, New York, 2012, p. 209).

All the elements required in the making of this fascinating series—collaboration, chance, modest materials, cross-cultural exchange—perfectly aligned themselves with Boetti’s personal philosophy. Their origins undoubtedly date back to his artistic coming-of-age in the Arte Povera movement in Italy in the 1960s, and they provide the ultimate summation of his artistic philosophy. As the curators of Boetti’s retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in 2012 summarized: “For ‘tutto,’ Boetti designed fields of densely interlocking forms and objects, some recognizable, like tools or plants, others more vaguely reminiscent of elements of the visible world, comparable to the way in which we sometimes see animal forms in cloud formations. Executed in a riot of color and on an increasingly monumental scale…these works are celebrations of the sheer diversity and difference of things on earth. They show Boetti at his most joyous, generously embracing all that surrounds us” (C. Rattemeyer, “From Alighiero to Boetti,” in Alighiero Boetti: Game Plan, exh. cat., Museum of Modern Art, New York, 2012, p. 37).

More from 20th Century Evening Sale

View All
View All