On November 29 Van Ham in Cologne is selling the 17 x 17in (44 x 44cm) composition Albanese Orrizontale from 1990, created four years before his untimely death at the age of 54.
It was one of Boetti’s ‘Tavole pitagoriche’ or multiplication tables which combined the mathematical principles of the Greek philosopher Pythagoras with the artist’s fascination with letters. Some of these works contain a hidden message among the seemingly random order of letters, others cannot be deciphered.
Many of Boetti’s compositions were executed in either Pakistan or Afghanistan, countries he first visited in 1971, when he encountered the seamstresses and weavers who were to prove essential for his art. On many occasions, he allowed them to choose the colour combinations for the individual squares of the tables.
This particular tavola was created in Peshawar, in a camp just across the border from Afghanistan, where thousands had found refuge from the Russian forces who had invaded the country in 1979.
The embroidery in Cologne has been in a south German collection for the last 25 years and is now expected to bring €100,000-150,000.