Alberto Burri masterpiece could set auction record at Sotheby's



2016-01-20 11:52:48

A masterpiece by the Italian Post-War artist Alberto Burri could set a new auction record at Sotheby's next month.

'Sacco e Rosso', executed in 1959, has been described as "the greatest work by Alberto Burri ever to appear at auction".

The work last crossed the block in 2007, when it sold for £1.9 million ($3.8 million), setting a then-auction record for the artist.

With the market for Burri's work having grown considerably since 2007, it's now expected to set the record once again – this time with an estimated value of £9-12 million ($13.6-18.1m).

Burri was a former military doctor who served in the Italian Army during WWII, and began painting whilst interned in a POW camp in Texas. Upon returning to Italy after the war he turned his back on the medical profession, and sought to find his voice as an artist in Rome.

Having first painted on Burlap sacks whilst in the POW camp, he continued to do so back in Italy. Burri's Sacchi series of works all use the combination of burlap and blood red paint, recalling the horrors he witnessed as a doctor on the battlefield, painted upon the same material used for tents, sandbags and camouflage netting during the war.

Today these 15 'Sacco e Rosso' works are highly prized by collectors, with a notable example currently held in the collection of the Tate Modern.

"Building on momentum from the great results we saw for Burri in October, we have absolute confidence in this work," said Cheyenne Westphal, Co-Head of Contemporary Art Worldwide at Sotheby’s. "Sacco e Rosso is an undeniable masterpiece. There’s a real hunger for works of this quality."

The Sotheby's Contemporary Art Evening Auction takes place in London on February 10.

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