Saturday, April 20, 2013

Nove Materiali (Progetto 450) | Enzo Mari | Danese, Italy | 1959

Nove Materiali, also known as Progetto 450, is one of the small production run sculptures made by Enzo Mari in the late 195os and early 1960s.  Nove Materiali is Italian for “nine materials,” which aptly describes this work.  It comes across more as a catalog, or a research exercise in forms and textures, rather than a traditional sculpture.

Enzo Mari Nova Materiali (Progetto 450) (1959)

Enzo Mari Nova Materiali (Progetto 450) (1959)

The entire sculpture is 20.5cm by 20.5cm by 5cm height. Each cube is 4cm on a side. The individual cubes fit in a 3 by 3 array in a holder.  The cubes can be removed and rearranged.

Enzo Mari Nova Materiali (Progetto 450) (1959)
The 9 cubes have beveled edges and each is made of a different material.  Three are stone (cement, marble, and pumice stone), two are metal (aluminum and brass), two are wood (balsa wood and rosewood) and two are polymeric (plastic and rubber).

Enzo Mari Nova Materiali (Progetto 450) (1959)

The sculpture is marked “DANESE MILANO”

The above sculpture has been available on eBay in March and April, 2013 in the $1,100-$1,200 range.

Enzo Mari Nova Materiali (Progetto 450) (1959)Enzo Mari Nova Materiali (Progetto 450) (1959)Enzo Mari Nova Materiali (Progetto 450) (1959)

Three pictures from the February 15, 2011 Quittenbaum auction “Design – ‘La Dolce Vita’” where an Enzo Mari Nove Materiali multiple was placed but passed.   The presale estimate was 1,000 to 1,300€.

Enzo Mari Nova Materiali (Progetto 450) (1959)

Page 56 from the February 15, 2011 Quittenbaum auction “Design – ‘La Dolce Vita’”.


F. Burkardt, Perchè un libro su Enzo Mari, Franco Motta Ed., p. 64, Milano, 1997.

E. Mari, Funzione della ricerca estetica, Ed.di Comunità, p. 57, 1970.

Pandolfini auction catalogue. November 16, 2004, Lot 67.

Quittenbaum Munich auction catalog. February 15, 2011, Lot 122, p. 56.

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