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Piero Manzoni

On the Modern Masters sale of 20 March, Bernaerts will offer an extremely rare Piero Manzoni painting from his critically acclaimed ‘Achrome’ series.
The painting, dated 1958 was given as a present to the Antwerp artist Guy Vandenbranden in the early sixties. He, in turn, presented it to his psychiatrist Dr. Piron, whose heirs now entrust Bernaerts with the sale of it.

Early this week, the painting was presented in Milan to Ms Rosalia Pasqualino di Marineo from the Fondazione Piero Manzoni, who authenticated it.

It will be included in the forthcoming updated online version of the catalogue raisonné as number 1389A/18.
In his Achromes, begun in 1957 Manzoni sought to eliminate any reference to narrative, including color. Thus he titled his work “achrome” or “without color”. Manzoni covered the canvas in kaolin, a clay substance used in making china, which dries very slowly. He considered kaolin colorless. Manzoni allowed the composition to set. The weight of the object itself influenced the final appearance. In doing so the artist’s role in the work is minimized. “We absolutely cannot consider a painting to be a space in which we project our mental sets, but rather as our area of liberty, where we can go in search of our first images. Images that are as absolute as possible, which cannot be valued for what they recall, explain, express, but only in asmuch as what they are: being.” Manzoni’s Achromes are a direct response to Yves Klein’s Monochromes, which were first exhibited in January 1957.

The canvas, presented in the catalog under lot 446, sold for 380000 euros (471000 euros buyers premium incl.).

‘Achrome’, 1958
Wrinkled canvas and kaolin
Signed and dated on the frame on the reverse
Original frame
30 x 24,5 cm

Guy Vandenbranden, Antwerpen (gift from the artist)
Dr. T. Piron, Antwerp (acquired from the above)
Hence by descent to the present owners

Est.: 300/400.000