In 1958 and 1959, the series of Achromes by Piero Manzoni releases the art from the color. His wish for an absolute purity makes his approach different from the mysticism of Klein and Fontana and from Burri's disgust.
Manzoni managed to run on his canvas a magma of kaolin, this material which already a millennium earlier had brought the absolute white to the Chinese potters. Same as with Fontana's lacerations, the creative act of the artist is not fully absent: the fabric is pleated before being coated. When the paste dries, it solidifies the interstices of the furrows.
Manzoni does not act during the drying, except for monitoring the climatic conditions. The details of the texture such as thickness, bubbles and drippings escape the artist's gesture.
The largest Achrome paintings are technical feats as a homogeneous layer is needed to provide the effect of purity desired by the artist. Their pattern is a wide central horizontal band of tight grooves while the top and bottom of the artwork remain smooth, like a river flowing between its banks or like a long hair.
An Achrome painted in 1958, 116 x 148 cm, with interesting undulations of the furrows, was sold for $ 14M including premium by Christie's on 15 May 2013. Another one from the same year, 114 x 145 cm, was sold for $ 10M including premium by Sotheby's on May 14, 2008.
A similar Achrome, 110 x 150 cm with a bright contrast in some furrows is estimated £ 5M for sale on October 17 in London by Sotheby's, lot 12.