In the year when Guido Strazza, the greatest living Italian engraver, celebrated his 100th birthday, the presence of one of his unmistakable lithographs in the auction catalog does not go unnoticed "Smiles for Enchantment. Art on auction to help the children of Smiles Emergency. ". Me shooting an archery bow on Feb. 21, 1988 -- this is the title of the work -- is lot No. 28 in an auction sale of small works of art and decorative objects that the auction house Bertolami Fine Art is preparing to hammer out on Monday, Jan. 30, at its Roman headquarters in Palazzo Caetani Lovatelli.
Smiles Emergency: doctors to make children smile
The auction house and the owners of the items for sale have expressed a desire to donate part of the proceeds to Emergenza Sorrisi, a non-profit organization with a gentle mission: to restore smiles to children who have lost them. A mission that, since 2007, has resulted in free treatment and surgery for children in developing countries suffering from severe facial deformities, burns, war trauma, neoplasms, orthopedic and eye diseases. To date, there are more than five thousand children to whom the 375 volunteer doctors and nurses who make up the association's staff have given a brand new smile, and about six hundred people have benefited from the medical and nursing refresher courses organized in the countries targeted by the surgical missions.
What the catalog offers
Setting very low starting prices to encourage entry into the bidding process, the auction curators had fun composing a catalog of about 350 lots divided into the categories of "Works on Paper," "Paintings," "Sculptures," "Decorative Arts," and "Objects from the House of Bruno Piattelli ." The last category reflects a trend rewarded in recent years by great success, that of Single Owner Auctions, i.e., auctions dedicated to putting on the market the objects of a single collector whose name becomes a guarantee of the solid provenance of the acquired good, further enhancing its value. The personality in this case evoked is that of an unforgettable ambassador of Italian taste: Bruno Piattelli, the inventor of Italian men's haute couture.
Auction highlights and trivia
Among the pieces to watch out for, in addition to the elegant engraving by Guido Strazza (but the auction is all to be explored): a watercolor by Elisa Montessori, a mixed media by Claudio Verna, a master of Italian abstract painting who is also much loved abroad, a beautiful and colorful lithograph from the informal period by Luigi Montanarini and lithographs signed by Gianni Dova e Umberto Buscioni. A historical curiosity is a pencil study of two male nudes by Antonio Maraini, an important sculptor of the Ventennio as well as grandfather of the writer Dacia Maraini. There are also two examples of one of the many experiments of the versatile Mario Schifano, photos retouched by hand with markers or tempera. The Schoolboy made in '43 by Cesare Breveglieri is a delightful painting that has the merit of bringing to our attention the poetics of the everyday by the painter who came to be called the Italian Utrillo. Also beautiful is a 1940 Surrealist Square by Antonio Fornari, the versatile futurist who in 1927, with Umberto Barbaro, Paolo Flores, Dino Terra and Vinicio Paladini, founded the Imaginist Movement in Rome. The painting section also features two 1970s mixed media works by Pablo Echaurren and among the sculptures works by Duilio Cambellotti, Marcello Piacentini, Renato Marino Mazzacurati, Umberto Mastroianni, Nino Franchina e Mario Ceroli. Finally, very entertaining in the Decorative Arts section is the pair of Young Balilla produced by the factory of Antonio Zen, a ceramist who, between the 1920s and early 1940s, had considerable fame in Italy and abroad.