Q: When did you found auction house San Carlo Aste?
A: It was founded in July 2011 by three experts from the art sector. The first sale was in December 2011.
Q: Who are the founders and what are their backgrounds?
A: Pasquale Chianello, Patrik Launo and Giovanni Marocco Carena. All three are very passionate about art and antique. Chianello comes from a long and successful experience in the sector of tourism. Launo and Marocco Carena have both worked at international auction houses and in the field of high-end collecting.
Q: What does San Carlo Aste offer clients? What are your strategies?
A: We hold auctions every month, thus reducing the time between delivery, sale and payment. Starting next year we would like to hold even two sales a month. For the most important lots we offer to our consignors the starting price in advance – which is a very attractive offer to monetize quickly an artwork or collectible. Turin and Piedmont are gold mines for artworks and collections and we offer a channel that was missing before. Above all, for sectors such as wines (we are the first ones in Piedmont), or cars (in this sector we are the first ones in Italy. The first auction in this sector will be held in February 2013). We try to diversify the offer in relation both to the sector and to the price range. We present lots that are interesting also on the international level. And we do private sales, as well. In our houses there are always exhibitions and we have a gallery with 7,000 buy-it-now items, which one can buy directly here or on our website.
Q: How was the first year of activity? What were the results and which departments gave the best results?
A: In the first year we sold 1,200 lots, which were 70 percent of the total amount of presented lots. The total result was more than €2.5 million/$3.2 million.
We had great satisfactions from the sectors of wristwatches. The top lot was a Rolex Daytona Paul Newman with a starting price of €15,000/$19,000 that was sold for €75,000/$97,000. Offers came from Singapore, Israel and the United States. The sector of watches is growing steadily, above all on the Asiatic market (Hong Kong in the first place). Also Italian design gave us great satisfactions. The top lot until now was a marble woodshed by Carlo Mollino coming from Minola House in Biella. It was a unique piece and it was sold in Germany for €56,000/$72,000 (the starting price was €25,000/$32,000). Mollino is very recognized on the international market. In the Old Masters sector the top lots were a couple of Roman landscapes coming from a castle in Piedmont. They were sold for €80,000/$103,000 and went back to Rome, which means that also the Italian market is ready to spend when there is quality. Even if the antique sector is suffering a difficult period.
Q: How many artworks and design objects are you offering at the next auction on Oct. 4?
A: More than 300 lots of design and contemporary art.
Q: Who are the represented artists and designers?
A: Kounellis, Pistoletto, Sottsass, Fornasetti, Mendini, Arman, Worhol, Gufram, etc.
Q: Why have you chosen to put together contemporary art and design?
A: Because the clients who acquire contemporary art are the same who acquire design. We do the same with antiques and old masters. In these times of crisis, the tendency is to broaden the catalogs instead of splitting into different sectors. In this way we try to encounter the taste of our customers and we can reduce costs, as well – for example for the catalogs.
Q: What are the highlights among the works of contemporary art on sale on Oct. 4?
A: Among the works of contemporary art there is an accumulation by Arman from the year 1971, Frozen Garbage # (Civilitazion). It is important because it is rare on the Italian market. It comes from a New York gallery, namely Lauwrence Rubin. Usually Arman is well represented on the American and French market. The starting price is €60,000/$78,000. It is part of the well-known series of accumulations, on which Arman worked in the 1960s and 1970s using different objects such as violins and paint tubes. This is an accumulation of garbage, a provocative work which was born in a period when artists looked for stupefaction. … Another rare and important work is the self-portrait with fur hat by Michelangelo Pistoletto, with a starting price of €12,000/$16,000. It is a work from the mirror series, on which Pistoletto started working in the 1960s using different subjects, but the self-portrait is rare. Pistoletto is very strong on the international market. In October the Italian Sale in London will offer various works by Pistoletto, but no self-portraits.
Q: And what are the highlights among the objects of design?
A: Among the works of design, the Tavolo Pesce (viso) by Gaetano Pesce (Memphis production) with a starting price of €12,500/$16,000. It comes from a private collection for which it was expressly realized. The material is hot cast resin. The tricolor is an homage to Italy.
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