Fontana + The GothicNew York
Concetto Spaziale, I Quanta (Spatial Concept, The Quanta), 1959–60
with Galleria Marlborough, Rome;
Pio Monti collection, Macerata;
Battista Fantini collection, Lodi;
Centro d’Arte, Milan;
Private collection, San Michele di Pagana.
Enrico Crispolti, Lucio Fontana, Brussels, 1974, II pp. 100–1.
Enrico Crispolti, Lucio Fontana. Catalogo generale, Milan, 1986, I, p. 343, no. 59 Q 13.
Enrico Crispolti, Lucio Fontana. Catalogo ragionato di sculture, dipinti, ambientazioni, Milan 2006, I, p. 515, no. 59 Q 13b.
Rome, L’Aquila, Castello Cinquecentesco, Aspetti dell'arte contemporanea; rassegna internazionale: architettura–pittura–scultura–grafica; omaggio a Cagli, retrospettiva antologica 1944–1963, omaggio a Fontana, retrospettiva antologica 1930–1963, omaggio a Quaroni, retrospettiva antologica 1947–1962, 1963, no. 149
Minneapolis, Walker Art Center, Austin, University of Texas Museum; Buenos Aires, Centro de Artes Visuales, Instituto Torcuato di Tella, Lucio Fontana: The Spatial Concept of Art, 6 January–13 February 1966 (Minneapolis), 27 February–27 March 1966 (Austin), 8 July–7 August 1966 (Buenos Aires), no. 37 (Minneapolis/Austin), no. 34 (Buenos Aires)
Rome, Galleria Borghese, Lucio Fontana: Terra e oro, 22 May–28 July 2019
Lucio Fontana’s respect for the advancements of science and technology during the twentieth century inspired his Quanta series. The title derives from the field of quantum physics, which seeks to explain the nature of the particles that make up matter and the forces with which they interact. Fontana began the Quanta series in 1959, creating constellations of small, monochrome polygonal and circular canvases slashed with his signature tagli. The canvases could be variously assembled in many different ways: the artist himself presented the works in a variety of patterns, and invited collectors acquiring the works to choose the arrangement that best suited their taste and space. Later, some of the individual canvases making up these sets were sold as separate and autonomous works. According to Enrico Crispolti, the present canvas originally belonged to a set of five or six works, although in 1966, when it was presented in a major exhibition dedicated to Lucio Fontana at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, it was shown as one of a set of a dozen canvases.
The canvas is remarkable for its lustrous gold surface. Fontana was fascinated with gilding, used throughout art history for the most sacred objects. Luxurious and luminous, the enigmatic and abstract nature of its metallic reflections had long been associated with divinity and immortality. In Italy, gilding proliferated in the Baroque period, when it became omnipresent on countless architectural and decorative motifs in churches during the Counter-Reformation. Fontana used gold paint in many of his works. The present canvas is an early example, anticipating his Venezia series of 1961, in which Fontana manipulated metallic paint to dreamily recreate the dynamic undulations and arabesques of the Venetian Baroque. Together with its round shape, the golden canvas also summons associations with the sun and the force of solar energy, which likewise mesmerised the artist, who in 1964 inscribed a painting “l'Oro è bello come il Sole!”—“Gold is as beautiful as the sun!” Indeed, this most opulent and precious of metals was believed across cultures to represent the powers of the sun, lending further symbolic potency to the work’s form.