Colin Gleadell takes a closer look at Christie’s Italian sale which posted the largest total of any London Italian sale at £26.89m:
Among the buyers was the Tornabuoni gallery from Paris, which bought a six-sided painting by Lucio Fontana for £818,500; and New York dealer Neal Meltzer, who bought an encrusted white canvas by Alberto Burri for a double-estimate £626,500. Marc Glimcher and Mollie Dent Brocklehurst of the Pace Gallery were eventually outbid as a neon and photographic work by the arte povera artist Mario Merz sold above estimate for £578,500, one of the highest prices for his work. The same work sold nine years ago for £130,000. […] The top lot was an historically important work by Burri, dated 1953, in which sections of canvas sacking were sewn together like a collage, which sold to Meltzer for £3 million, close to a record for the artist who is due a major retrospective at the Guggenheim in New York in 2015. Slashed canvases by Fontana were in plentiful supply, with buyers of the top lots having to outbid shrewd London dealer Ezra Nahmad to secure them.