PIERO MANZONI (1933-1963)
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more
PIERO MANZONI (1933-1963)


PIERO MANZONI (1933-1963)
canvas sewn in squares
31 ½ x 23 5/8in. (80 x 60cm.)
Executed in 1959-1960
Galleria Regis, Finale Ligure.
L. Accame Collection, Genova.
Galleria Forma, Genova.
Gianfranco Zappettini Collection, Genova.
Zampieri Collection, Longarone.
Casamonti Collection, Firenze.
Tornabuoni Arte, London.
Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2007.
F. Battino and L. Palazzoli (eds.), Piero Manzoni: catalogue raisonné, Milan 1991, p. 356, no. 661 B (illustrated, p. 356).
G. Celant, Piero Manzoni: Catalogo generale, Tomo secondo, Milan 2004, p. 490, no. 636.
G. Celant, Piero Manzoni: Catalogo generale, Tomo primo, Milan 2004 (illustrated in colour, p. 208).
G. Celant (ed.), Manzoni, exh. cat., New York, Gagosian Gallery, 2009, p. 340, no. 171 (illustrated, p. 185).
London, Royal College of Art, Piero Manzoni, 1973.
Naples, MADRE Museo d'Arte Contemporanea Donnaregina, Manzoni, 2007, no. 156 (illustrated, p. 195).
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. This lot has been imported from outside of the UK for sale and placed under the Temporary Admission regime. Import VAT is payable at 5% on the hammer price. VAT at 20% will be added to the buyer’s premium but will not be shown separately on our invoice.

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Lot Essay

Consisting of twelve fabric squares stitched together in an elegant grid, Piero Manzoni’s Achrome, 1959-1960, is a significant example from the artist’s career-defining homonymous series, the Achromes. Begun in 1957 and continued until Manzoni’s premature death in 1963, these works presented a radical challenge to the conventions of the period; in them, Manzoni purged his picture planes of all colour and subjectivity to upend the very definition of art. In Achrome, the unadorned lattice both emphasises the physical presence of the canvas and eradicates any sign of the artist’s own hand. As Manzoni explained, ‘The question as far as I’m concerned is that of rendering a surface completely white (integrally colourless and neutral) far beyond any pictorial phenomenon or any intervention extraneous to the value of the surface. A white that is not a polar landscape, not a material in evolution or a beautiful material, not a sensation or a symbol or anything else: just a white surface that is simply a white surface and nothing else (a colourless surface that is just a colourless surface)’ (P. Manzoni, ‘Free Dimension’, Azimuth, no. 2, Milan, 1960, in Piero Manzoni: Paintings, Reliefs & Objects, exh. cat., Tate Gallery, London, 1974, pp. 46-47). For his Achromes, Manzoni dipped canvas in kaolin clay and used materials as diverse as cotton, wool, fur, and bread rolls, all with the aim of liberating his surfaces. Born out of the radical redefinition of painting inspired by the pioneering post-war Italian artists Lucio Fontana and Alberto Burri, Manzoni’s practice both continued and disrupted the quest for a new pictorial materiality. While these works acknowledge the history of the monochrome, they do so mischievously and playfully. In refusing to submit to expectations, the Achromes are free to reimagine painting and open themselves up to limitless possibility.

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