Maurizio Cattelan’s Massive Epitaph of England’s Football Failures Sells for £425,000

maurizio cattelan england soccer failure
Maurizio Cattelan Untitled (1999) Photo: Sotheby's

A Maurizio Cattelan sculpture, detailing every loss that England’s national football team endured between 1874 and 1998, sold for £425,000 at Sotheby’s London last night, the BBC reports. The sculpture was purchased by an anonymous French-speaking telephone bidder.

Created in 1999, the massive black granite sculpture, standing at 220 x 300 x 60 centimeters, resembles an epitaph on a memorial.

The artwork lists the games that English football team has lost, starting from Scotland’s 2:1 victory against England in Glasgow in 1874 right up to Romania’s 2:1 crushing defeat of England at the 1998 World Cup in France.

First shown at a London exhibition in 1999, the piece went on sale at Sotheby’s after England’s worst ever World Cup performance in 2014, in which the team was eliminated from the tournament in the group stages, after losing to Italy and Uruguay.

Describing the work, Cattelan said : “Carved into it are all the defeats of England’s national football team. I guess it’s a piece which talks about pride, missed opportunities, and death.”

The work—which sold within its pre-sale estimate of £400,000 to £600,000—went on public display at Sotheby’s New Bond Street galleries on March 10.

The controversial Italian artist is well known for his satirical, tongue-in-cheek artworks, including La Nona Ora (The Ninth Hour) (1999), a statue which depicts Pope John Paul II being struck by a meteorite.

A highly-anticipated documentary film about Cattelan, who is considered to be the art world’s enfant terrible, is due to be released this summer (see Take a Peek at Art World Prankster Maurizio Cattelan’s Documentary).


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