Lucio Fontana - Contemporary Art Evening Sale New York Thursday, May 15, 2014 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    McRoberts & Tunnard, London
    Galleria Sianesi, Milan
    Gallery Art Point, Tokyo
    Private Collection

  • Exhibited

    London, McRoberts & Tunnard, Fontana: Paintings, November – December, 1962
    Milan, Galleria Medea, L’avventura spaziale di Lucio Fontana, October 16 – November 24, 1974
    Verona, Galleria dello Scudo, Lucio Fontana, March 5 – April 10, 1977
    Milan, Galleria il Mappamondo, Lucio Fontana, Spring, 1980
    Milan, Centro Annunciata, Lucio Fontana Ispiratore dello Spazialismo, February – March 1983
    Lugano, Galleria Pro-Arte, Lucio Fontana – Concetti Spaziali, October 18 – November 17, 1984
    Tokyo, Gallery Art Point, Lucio Fontana, June 20 – July 20, 1985
    Tokyo, Tama Art University Museum, Lucio Fontana: Spatial Conception, June 1 – September 4, 1990
    Tokyo, Mitsukoshi Museum of Art, Lucio Fontana, La penetrazione dello spazio, April 4 – 26, 1992, then traveled to Kahoshima, Municipal Art Museum (July 17 – August 23, 1992), Nishinomiya, Otani Museum of Art (October 24 – November 23, 1992)
    Verona, Palazzo Forti, Lucio Fontana, Metafore barocche, October 25, 2002 – March 9, 2003

  • Literature

    Fontana: Paintings, exh. cat., McRoberts & Tunnard, London, November 1962, no. 10 (illustrated)
    Enrico Crispolti, Lucio Fontana, Catalogue raisonné des peintures, sculptures et environements spatiaux rédigé par Enrico Crispolti, vol. II, Milan: Archivio Lucio Fontana, 1974, p. 116, no. 62 O15 (illustrated)
    L’avventura Spaziale di Lucio Fontana, exh. cat., Galleria Medea, Milan, 1974, no. 14 (illustrated)
    Lucio Fontana, exh. cat., Galleria dello Scudo, Verona, 1977, n.p. (illustrated)
    Lucio Fontana Ispiratore dello Spazialismo, exh. cat., Centro Annunciata, Milan, 1983, no. 30 (illustrated)
    Lucio Fontana – Concetti Spaziali, Lugano, exh. cat., Galleria Pro-Arte, Lugano, 1984, no. 18 (illustrated)
    Lucio Fontana, exh. cat., Gallery Art Point, Tokyo,1985, n.p. (illustrated)
    Enrico Crispolti, Lucio Fontana Catalogo Generale, vol. I, Milan, 1986, p. 394 , no. 62 O15 (illustrated)
    Lucio Fontana, Galleria il Mappamondo, Milan, Spring, 1987, p. 67 (illustrated)
    Lucio Fontana: Spatial Conception, exh. cat., Tama Art University Museum, Tokyo, 1990, p. 44, no. 40 (illustrated)
    Lucio Fontana, La penetrazione dello spazio, Mitsukoshi Museum of Art, Tokyo, 1992, p. 52, no. 23 (illustrated)
    Lucio Fontana, Metafore barocche, exh. cat., Palazzo Forti, Verona, 2002, p. 109, no. 49 (illustrated)
    Enrico Crispolti, Lucio Fontana Catalogo Ragionato die Sculture, Dipinti, Ambientazioni, vol. II, Milan 2006, p. 578, no. 62 O15 (illustrated)

  • Catalogue Essay

    “For me, they are perforated canvases that represent sculpture, a new fact in sculpture.”


    At once disquieting and dreamy, Lucio Fontana’s body of work is inundated by the tensions which drive the elements of the work beyond the forms they occupy. The overwhelming sense of coexisting creative and destructive components clearly relates to the amalgamation of pleasure and pain, the true mark of the sublime. Fontana’s appreciation for the scientific advances of the twentieth century enabled his artistic development in this marriage of technology and art to produce a fourth dimension. In his paintings, Fontana sought foremost to eclipse the environs of the two-dimensional surface and encroach upon the psychology of its viewers.

    The present lot, Concetto spaziale, translating literally to “Spatial concept,” employs both planar shapes and biomorphic silhouettes amidst undulating curves. The starkly monochromatic work is interrupted by the iridescent green oil paint blossoming off the canvas in thick sweeps with minute incisions providing a textural element to its emergence. The fissure occupying the foreground is not so much a laceration as it is a sculptural construction, a way of desanctifying the two-dimensionality of the surface. Fontana acknowledges as a way of exposing the intangible sublime, as he once proclaimed, “I have created an infinite dimension” (C. Lonzi, “Interview with Lucio Fontana,” Autoritratto, Bari, Italy 1969, p. 169). The picture itself is a constitutional fusion and rhythmic dance of sculpture, architecture, and painting--an authentic apex of the artist’s innovative aesthetic dialect.

    Fontana’s revolutionary concept of Spazialismo was the culmination of the fundamental precepts illustrated in his art. The artist’s dynamic ability to mutate solid matter into energy is unparalleled, and it comprises the essence of his theory. He formulated the comprehensive title Concetto spaziale in 1947 and used it for nearly all of his later art, the most effective of these being works incisions rupturing a surface that preserves the elegantly erratic character of malleable organic materials such as wax or oil paint, such as in the present lot. Concetto spaziale utilizes contrasts as a point of departure to engage audiences in the struggle between the material and the spatial, invoking the concept of painting as more than a simple surface.


Concetto spaziale

oil on canvas
28 3/4 x 23 5/8 in. (73 x 60 cm.)
Signed "l. Fontana" lower right.

$400,000 - 600,000 

Sold for $449,000

Contact Specialist
Zach Miner
Head of Sale
+1 212 940 1256

Contemporary Art Evening Sale

New York Auction 15 May 2014 7PM