Sunday, July 13, 2008


Lucio Fontana (1899-1968) was born in Rosario in the Santa Fé region of Argentina. His Italian father, Luigi, who had lived in Argentina for ten years, was a sculptor, and his mother, Lucia Bottino, also of Italian origin, was a theatre actress.

After WW1, he returned to Argentina, and began working as a sculptor in his father's workshop in Rosario. He later opened his own studio in the same city. Between 1925 and 1927, he won several competitions. In early 1940 he settled in Buenos Aires and worked feverishly, winning numerous sculpture competitions.

On returning to Milan in April 1947, Fontana founded the Movimento spaziale (Spatial Movement) and, together with other artists and intellectuals, published the Primo Manifesto dello Spazialismo (First Manifesto of Spatialism). Spatialism combined ideas from the Dada movement, Tachism and Concrete art. He then achieved a series of master pieces and Manifestos that brought him international awards and notoriety. He died in Comabbio, Italy in 1968.

This picture, one of his several Concetti spaziali (1) is a waterpaint on canvas measuring 39 5/8 x 32in. (100.5 x 81.3cm.) and was executed in 1966. It fetched £1,161,250 ($2.3 million) in June 2008 on auction at Christie's London. In her portrait of Picasso published in 1938, Gertrude Stein wrote: “A creator is not in advance of his generation but he is the first of his contemporaries to be conscious of what is happening to his generation.” The sentence could have been written for Lucio Fontana.

(1) Since 1949, Fontana’s perforations in paper and canvases were created under the heading «Concetto Spaziale.» They translate the concepts of the first and second «Spazialismo» manifestos of 1947 and 1948 into an artistic practice.

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