Maurizio Cattelan - The Great Wonderful: 100 Years of Italian Art New York Wednesday, May 13, 2015 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Massimo de Carlo, Milan
    Private Collection

  • Exhibited

    Turin, Castello di Rivoli Museo d’Arte Contemporanea, Maurizio Cattelan, October 21, 1996 - June 18, 1997 (another example exhibited)
    New York, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Maurizio Cattelan: All, November 4, 2011 - January 22, 2012 (another example exhibited)

  • Literature

    G. Verzotti, Maurizio Cattelan, exh. cat., Castello di Rivoli Museo d'Arte Contemporanea, 1997, p. 13 (illustrated); updated ed., 1999, p. 15 (illustrated)
    F. Bonami, N. Spector, B. Vanderlinden, Maurizio Cattelan, London: Phaidon Press Ltd., 2000, p. 63 (illustrated)
    Maurizio Cattelan: All, exh. cat., Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, 2011, pp. 199-200, 246 (illustrated)

  • Catalogue Essay

    Maurizio Cattelan’s most endearing identity is that of the iconoclast and of the provocateur. From the early to the mid-1990s his work challenged the political and social Italian status quo, mixing the sacred with the profane. Such provocation is superbly reflected in Untitled (Christmas ’95) from 1995. To unpack the symbolism embedded in the work is to realize the subversive nature of the artist’s oeuvre and of this work specifically. The shooting star is the symbol of Christianity, leading the Three Kings to Jesus’s grotto, while “BR” is the ominous symbol of the violent terrorist group, the Brigate Rosse, or Red Brigade, that subverted civil order in Italy between the early 1970s and the early 1980s. Both the shooting star and the BR represent a moment of transformation – the first, through love and peace, the second with violence and hate. Conflating the two, Cattelan creates a third symbol where the two souls of Italians’ identity are juxtaposed and combined, revealing the contradiction of their own selves. This early work already contains all of Cattelan’s concerns that will appear in subsequent pieces, most notably in HIM, the reduced portrait of Hitler kneeling and praying, where again love and hate are forced into the same space, effecting a puzzling and disturbing reaction among viewers. In Untitled (Christmas ’95), Cattelan is also referencing the neon work of Bruce Nauman, an artist who similarly used words in ways opposite to their nature and meaning in order to enhance the viewer’s awareness about common thought and feeling. Untitled (Christmas ’95), in its bare simplicity, remains a seminal work within this accomplished oeuvre.


Untitled (Christmas '95)

14 7/8 x 32 1/4 x 1 5/8 in. (38 x 82 x 4 cm)
This work is number 1 from an edition of 3 and is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity signed by the artist.

$300,000 - 400,000 

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Brittany Lopez Slater
Head of International Exhibitions
New York
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Carolina Lanfranchi
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The Great Wonderful: 100 Years of Italian Art

New York 13 May 2015 4pm