Auction Week Arbitrage Strategy

Dear Subscriber,

A much smaller yet very similar Fontana sold at Phillips yesterday for $ 418,000. This work is 35 % the size of ours . $390,000 would have placed our offering price of $1.1 million at fair value. The fact that yesterday’s lot sold at $418,000 makes our Fontana painting $150,000 in the money.

Furthermore, our Fontana has 4 slits, is a better year, stronger provenance and appears first in the catalogue raisonee. 

Our exclusive on this painting ends tomorrow at which point the work enters the open market. 


LUCIO FONTANA  (1899 – 1968)

Concetto Spaziale, Attese

Markings: signed, titled and inscribed on the reverse 1. Fontana/ “ ATTESE” / 1 = 1 – BB2. Milano, Luigi Fernandi (926/3)

Material: waterpaint on canvas Dimensions: 38 cm x 33 cm (14,96 x 21,65 in)

Executed: 1960.

Ref: 60. T 100

Notes: Export license issued by the Ministry of culture approved. Viewing: Milan, Italy.

PROVENANCE: Private Collection, Italy.

Purchased by the present owner in 1974.


Enrico Crispolti, Lucio Fontana, Catalogo Raisonné, Vol. II. p. 499, rirp.

I mentioned Italy passed a law in 1937 designating certain artworks which have remained in the country national treasures. For this reason, you do not see many Fontanas in this country. The owner of the work had to apply for an export license which was granted. The painting is owned by a very important man who is well connected with the Italian government and generally gets what he wants. 

I came across these two fascinating links which I wanted to share with you:

Video Lucio Fontana, ‘Concetto Spaziale, Attese,’ 1965

How Lucio Fontana Carved the Path of Post-War Italian Art

Please feel free to contact me with questions at (917) 583-5301.

All the best,

Thomas Sellin

Wellington Fine Art

The Wellington