Wed, Mar 11, 2015

Art & Auctions
English football tombstone sells for $638,000

A work by an Italian artist charting every England footballing defeat since 1874, sold for £425,000 ($638,116) at a Sotheby’s auction in London, UK, yesterday. 

The sculpture was sold to an anonymous collector bidding over the telephone via a French-speaking member of Sotheby’s staff. 

This was one of 50 works offered in the hotly anticipated ‘Bear Witness’ sale, which together brought a total of £26.5 million, well in excess of pre-sale expectations.

Stretching from Scotland’s 2-1 defeat of England in Glasgow in 1874 to Romania’s 2-1 victory at the 1998 World Cup, this monumental work lists all the ignominious moments the national team has suffered over the years etched on black granite, like an epitaph on a memorial. 

The monument was created by the Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan, enfant terrible of the art world, known for his satirical and humorous sculptures. 

Cattelan’s other well-known works include La Nona Ora (The Ninth Hour) which depicts Pope John Paul II being struck down by a meteorite.

The Italian artist first exhibited the football monument at an exhibition in London in 1999 and its sale at Sotheby’s follows England’s worst ever performance at a football World Cup in 2014, including losses to Italy and Uruguay. 

The Bear Witness sale features an extraordinary single-owner collection of nearly 550 paintings, sculpture and works of art. 

The remainder of the collection will be sold today and tomorrow in London.

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