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Canvas-Slashing Artist Boosts $369 Million Auctions in London

  • Lucio Fontana's egg-shaped painting set record at $25 million
  • Christie's, Sotheby's sold 21 Fontanas in evening auctions
“Concetto Spaziale, La Fine di Dio' by Lucio Fontana. Source: Sotheby’s

“Concetto Spaziale, La Fine di Dio' by Lucio Fontana. Source: Sotheby’s

The art market passed its first test since the global stock-market slump in August and September, thanks in part to an Italian artist known for slashing and punching his canvases.

Paintings by Lucio Fontana (1899-1968) sold briskly across London last week at auctions, galleries and the Frieze Art Fair. Auction houses offered more works by Fontana than by any other artist including Andy Warhol. Sotheby’s and Christie’s offered 12 pieces each by the postwar artist, selling 21 of them for a combined 36.6 million pounds ($56.6 million), during their evening auctions. The week’s top lot was Fontana’s punctured, black, egg-shaped canvas, “Concetto Spaziale, La Fine di Dio (The End of God),” which fetched 15.9 million pounds at Sotheby’s.