Lucio Fontana Piece Could Set Auction Record at Sotheby’s

Lucio Fontana Piece, Concetto spaziale, La fine di Dio (1964), Could Set an Auction Record at Sotheby's Sale in May.

Apr 6, 2024By Angela Davic, News, Discoveries, In-depth Reporting, and Analysis
sotheby-s-headquarters, Lucio Fontana
Sotheby’s worldwide headquarters on York Avenue, on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, via Wikimedia Commons


Lucio Fontana Piece, Concetto spaziale, La fine di Dio (1964), could set an auction record at Sotheby’s sale in May. Previously, it was a part of Cindy and Howard Rachofsky’s collection for more than 20 years. Now, the expected selling price is  $20 million – $30 million. This makes the piece not just the most expensive Fontana ever up for auction, but also paves the way for a potential auction record.


Lucio Fontana Piece: From $2.3M. To Maybe $30M.

Lucio Fontana
Concetto spaziale, La fine di Dio est. $20-30m. COURTESY SOTHEBYS.


Concetto is a striking piece in cadmium yellow from one of the most well-known series by the artist. This piece is one of just four pieces the artist created in cadmium yellow for the La fine di Dio series. One of them, when it sold at Christie’s in 2015, set Fontana’s existing auction benchmark of $29.1 million. Among the four yellow renditions, Rachofsky’s Concetto spaziale, La fine dio sticks out since it was a standout performance at the Met’s Fontana retrospective in 2019.


Sotheby’s described it as the “all-over density of its punctures, around which thickly built-up layers and globs of impasto coalesce, resulting in a composition that sears with visual drama and heightened intensity”. For $2.3 million, the Rachofskys purchased the piece from Sotheby’s London in 2003. It was the largest amount ever paid for a Fontana at sale at the time.


sotheby-s-headquartersLucio Fontana
Sotheby’s worldwide headquarters on York Avenue, on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, via Wikimedia Commons


For the art-collecting couple, the acquisition marked a turning point in their history. They hoped to create a worldwide collection. They also wanted an emphasis on tendencies that were not yet well-known throughout the world.

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A Problem for Some

Sotheby's 2023 Auction, Global Art Sales
Sotheby’s auctioneer during the March 2 ‘Now’ Evening sale in London.


One could view the sale as a setback for the Dallas Museum of Art. In 2005, the Hoffman family, the Rose family, and the Rachofskys—two other Dallas-based power collectors—promised to contribute their whole collection. However, the families are free to purchase and sell the pieces of art as they consider appropriate.


This is in order for the assortment to stay true to their original intention as time passes. An “irrevocable gift” was how the donation defined itself in the catalog for the DMA exhibition Fast Forward. According to Sotheby’s, “the Rachofskys have already donated over $50 million of art to the museum”.


Sotheby’s, auction house, Paris. Archive.


Sotheby’s also added: “This sale will enable them to continue making important acquisitions, further evolving the collection in ways which will continue to benefit the Dallas Museum of Art” The work will go on sale at Sotheby’s Contemporary Evening Auction on May 15.

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By Angela DavicNews, Discoveries, In-depth Reporting, and AnalysisAngela is a journalism student at the Faculty of Political Science in Belgrade and received a scholarship for continued education in Prague. She completed her internship at the daily newspaper DANAS and worked as an executive editor at Talas.