Art Collectors Cindy and Howard Rachofsky Are Selling a $30M Lucio Fontana

The upcoming sale of the bright yellow egg-shaped work could set a new auction record for the artist.

Yellow egg-shaped and perforated painting hanging on white gallery wall
Lucio Fontana, Concetto spaziale, La fine di Dio, (1964). Courtesy Sotheby's

Dallas-based art collectors Cindy and Howard Rachofsky have long focused on acquiring works from international movements that lack widespread global recognition. Now, the duo could set a new auction record for Lucio Fontana, an Argentine-Italian artist closely associated with Italy’s Arte Povera.

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Fontana’s Concetto spaziale, La fine di Dio belongs to a series of 38 from the 1960s that is distinguished by egg-shaped, perforated and bold monochrome canvases. Painted a vivid cadmium yellow, it will be offered by Sotheby's this May with an estimate of between $20 million and $30 million, which could surpass Fontana’s current auction record of $29.2 million.

All six of the artist’s top sales involved editions from the Fine di Dio series. Created during an era of momentous scientific discovery, Fontana was largely inspired by recent developments in space travel which “became the catalyst for opening a new dimension of painting,” according to a statement from David Galperin, Sotheby’s head of contemporary art for the Americas.

Black and white photo of man slashing painting canvas
Lucio Fontana creates an artwork by stabbing a canvas with a stiletto in 1962. Daily Express/Pictorial Parade/Archive Photos/Getty Images

His hole-filled canvases called to mind the lunar surface and played with a new concept of space, a defining feature of the Spatialism movement that Fontana spearheaded. This approach was also seen through his early “slash” paintings which saw the artist cut slits through canvases as a means of breaking from the traditional two-dimensional plane of paintings. Works by Fontana, who died in 1968, are today held across institutions like the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia and Centre Pompidou.

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For the Rachofskys, incorporating a work by Fontana into their collection was a key mission. They acquired his Concetto spaziale, La fine di Dio in 2003 for a then-record $2.3 million. “The pursuit to find the perfect Fine di Dio painting took many years, and when we finally found it, it raised the bar for our collection to another level—an approach which has guided us in making further acquisitions over the course of our collecting journey,” said the couple in a statement.

Who are Cindy and Howard Rachofsky?

Howard and Cindy Rachofsky at amfAR’s TWO x TWO For AIDS Art Gala in 2023. Getty Images for amfAR

Their 800-piece art collection can be viewed at the Rachofsky House, the duo’s private Dallas residence that doubles as an art destination for students and art lovers. Other works are on show at The Warehouse, another Dallas space the Rachofskys created with fellow art lover Vernon Faulconer to display their respective collections.

Containing pieces by the likes of Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Donald Judd, Michelangelo Pistoletto and Atsuko Tanaka, the Rachofskys’ holdings tend toward post-war European art and international movements like Japan’s Gutai and the Korean Dansaekhwa. Arte Povera’s works, which use unconventional materials to challenge the commercialized art system, are also heavily featured.

The Rachofskys are key figures in Dallas’s art scene and annually host a fundraising event for the Dallas Museum of Art and the AIDS research-focused foundation amfAR. In 2005, they pledged to give the Dallas Museum of Art their collection in an agreement that allows them to deaccession works throughout their lifetime. The couple has already donated upwards of $50 million worth of art to the institution and plans to use the proceeds from the Fontana sale to continue making art acquisitions.

Concetto spaziale, La fine di Dio will be exhibited across Milan and New York before going on the block in Sotheby’s Contemporary Evening Auction on May 13.

Art Collectors Cindy and Howard Rachofsky Are Selling a $30M Lucio Fontana