Giuseppe Penone - New Now New York Tuesday, September 20, 2016 | Phillips
  • Provenance

    SteinGladstone, New York

  • Exhibited

    Paris, Musée Rodin, Giuseppe Penone, June 29 - September 12, 1988, n.p. (illustrated)
    Florence, Pitti Uomo, Fortezza da Basso, Giuseppe Penone, January 12 - 15, 1989

  • Literature

    Germano Celant, Giuseppe Penone, Milan, 1989, p. 197 (illustrated)
    Giuseppe Penone, exh. cat., Galleria d’Arte Moderna Villa delle Rose, Bologna, 1990, p. 54 (illustrated)
    Giuseppe Penone, exh. cat., Castello di Rivoli Museo d’Arte Contemporanea, Rivoli, 1991, pp. 124-125 (illustrated)
    Giuseppe Penone, The veins of the stone, exh. cat., Kunstmuseum, Bonn, 1997, p. 213 (illustrated)
    Giuseppe Penone 1968-1998, exh. cat., CGAC Centro Galego de Arte Contemporánea, Santiago de Compostela, 1999, p. 201 (illustrated)
    Penone, Rétrospective, exh. cat., Centre Pompidou, Musée national d'art moderne, Paris, 2004, p. 202 (illustrated)
    Giuseppe Penone, Retrospectiva, exh. cat., CaixaForum, Barcelona, 2005, p. 106 (illustrated)
    Umberto Allemandi, Il giardino delle sculture fluide di Giuseppe Penone, a cura di Ida Gianelli, Turin 2007, p. 153 (illustrated)

  • Catalogue Essay

    Giuseppe Penone’s Fingernail and Marble (Unghia e marmo), 1988 stands as a pristine example of the renowned artist’s sculptural practice. Penone’s artistic career spans over many decades and has been aesthetically and artistically united by Penone’s ever evolving interest in the physical tactility of nature. Within the field of art history, Penone’s artwork has absorbed elements from Minimalism, Arte de Povera and Land Art. His fascination with nature as a means of slow and gradual artistic construction leads his artworks to possess a calming and meditative quality. As Penone explains, his creations convey “a reflection on the traces we leave on things, random marks or involuntary images like the imprint left on a piece of glass or a vase.”(Giuseppe Penone in Celant Germano, “Intertwining Metamorphoses,” Giuseppe Penone, Milan, 1989, p. 20)

    Nature forever remains the ever-changing background of human existence, Penone channels the powerful and unrelenting strength of nature in order to toy and interact with its elements. The present lot, comprised of 2 marble slabs act as the base for which a glass fingernail sits. Of the works, the artist explains that within the Fingernail and Marble (Unghia e marmo),“I began with the idea of the fingernail as a tool for making sculpture, as a utensil of the body…I thought of making the fingernails of glass because glass is used to clean wood, its sharp. At the same time it’s transparent, so the glass and fingernail would have the same identity and fragility.” (Giuseppe Penone in Celant Germano, “Intertwining Metamorphoses,” Giuseppe Penone, Milan, 1989, p. 27)



Fingernail and Marble (Unghia e marmo)

glass and 2 marble slabs
55 1/8 x 47 1/4 x 157 1/2 in. (140 x 120 x 400 cm.)
Executed in 1988.

$150,000 - 250,000 

Sold for $150,000

Contact Specialist
Rebekah Bowling
Head of Sale
New York
+ 1 212 940 1250

New Now

New York Auction 20 September 2016