Ettore Sottsass, Jr. - Important Design London Wednesday, April 25, 2018 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Lina Matteucci, Galleria Il Sestante, Milan
    Acquired from the above by the present owner, 1986

  • Literature

    Edoardo Paoli, L'importanza dello Specchio, Milan, p. 26, fig. 64
    'Nuovi specchi', Domus, no. 359, January 1959, p. 42
    'Ettore Sottsass, La vita, un grande progetto Life, a major project', Domus, no. 796, September 1997, p. 68, fig. 1

  • Catalogue Essay

    Between 1958 and 1968, Ettore Sottsass was actively involved in projects at the Milanese gallery Il Sestante. Not only did he invite artists and designers to create pieces for the gallery, during this period he also designed some of the finest and most interesting works of his career: ceramics, enamels, and some lesser known wooden objects. Among his technical drawings dating to 1960 are projects for large mirrors, as illustrated, which apparently were never realised for the Sestante gallery. It is now understood that these drawings were informed by the design for the present lot, considered to be unique, which Sottsass presented the prior year, in 1959, at the Arform gallery in Milan.

    The work is described as a ‘Composition of coloured wooden elements and mirror; all joined by hemp ropes’. By virtue of Sottsass’ close relationship with the founder of Sestante gallery, the present mirror later became part of the collection of the gallerist Lina Matteucci. This work is of particular importance as it shares similarities with the abstract language of the architect’s metal sculpture of the 1950s, whilst also informing the compositional works Sottsass executed nearly 50 years later, including the illustrated drawing for a vase, dated 2004. The present lot also illustrates the architect’s interest in oriental culture, which he would continue to explore in later works such as ‘Ceramiche Tantriche’ and ‘Homage to Shiva’.

    The wooden elements stained in different colours, their spatial relationship to each other and to the mirror, create a calligraphic composition, which defines this extraordinary and important work within Sottsass’ oeuvre. Furthermore, the architecture of this work, featuring abstract geometric shapes delineated by ropes, recalls ethnic jewellery, which was of great passion of both, Sottsass and his then wife Fernanda Pivano. ‘This incorrigible architect has brought architectural stillness and steadiness’ to all forms, even this ‘wall necklace’, a jewelled totem for his ethnic ‘tribe’.

    Ettore Sottsass, Scritti, Disegno magico, 1956, Vicenza, 2002, pp. 90-92

    Fulvio Ferrari

Property from an Important Private Collection, Milan

Ο ◆135

Composizione di elementi di legno colorato e specchio, il tutto unito da funi di canapa, designed for Galleria Arform, Milan

Painted pine, mirrored glass, hemp.
214.4 x 130 x 3.1 cm (84 3/8 x 51 1/8 x 1 1/4 in.)
Executed by Brugola, Italy. Reverse with manufacturer's paper label printed CUIVROGLACE/SPECCHIO GALVORAMATO/SANTAMBROGIO & DE BERTI/LISSONE/S.MICHELE DEL CARSO. 37.

£80,000 - 120,000 

Sold for £309,000

Contact Specialist
Madalena Horta e Costa
Head of Sale
+44 20 7318 4019

Important Design

London Auction 26 April 2018