Concetto Spaziale, 1956
Rosario de Santa Fé 1899 – 1968 Comabbio
Signed, dated and titled on the reverse: L. Fontana / 56 / Concetto Spaziale
Oil, mixed media and sequins, red and black shapes on white background
80 x 70 cm / 31.5 x 27.6 in
Campi collection, Turin;
Pizzera collection, Aron;
Galleria Blu, Milan;
Galleria Seno, Milan;
Giancarlo Moratti collection, Milan;
Brerarte, Milan, March 11th 1987, lot 167;
Sotheby’s, London, December 3 1987, lot 649;
Private collection, Monaco
E. Crispolti, Lucio Fontana, Brussels 1974, vol. II, p. 48;
E. Crispolti, Fontana. Catalogo Generale, Milan 1986, vol. I, p. 168;
E. Crispolti, Lucio Fontana. Catalogo ragionato di sculture, dipinti, ambientazioni, Milan 2006, vol. I, p. 320, 56 BA 4.
Turin, Galleria Civica d’Arte Moderna, Lucio Fontana, February – March 1970, n. 99;
Verona, Palazzo Forti, Lucio Fontana, metafore barocche, October 2002 – March 2003, n. 8;
Robilant+Voena, Italian Neo-Renaissance, Bonalumi, Scheggi, New York, 5-28 May 2015;
St. Moritz, Robilant+Voena, Lucio Fontana, 4 December 2015 – 10 January 2016;
New York, Robilant+Voena, Lucio Fontana, 6 – 27 May 2016.
The works exhibited at the 1954 and 1958 Biennale in Venice established Fontana as one of the key figures in contemporary Italian art and, as reconstructed by Antonello Negri in the 2002 exhibition catalogue, sparked a vivid debate between Italian critics with some praising Fontana’s new works while the most traditional made ironic and crude comments.
In the 1954 edition of the Biennale, Fontana presented nine paintings with holes covering a period from 1949 to 1952; works on paper or on canvas with holes, the first spatialist paintings executed by Fontana. From the end of 1952 and the majority of 1953, Fontana began to apply fragments of coloured glass to the surfaces of his canvases creating more complex compositions. Glass fragments protrude from the surface giving a contrapuntal effect with the holes, opening up new imaginative possibilities in the play of space, light and colour.
The first compositions with stones and glass fragments, such as the Concetto Spaziale Blu of 1953, with Robilant + Voena, follow a quite simple pattern but during 1954 and 1955, the compositions became more and more complex, as for example the Concetto Spaziale (55P46, fig. 1), private collection, Milan, with large spots of colour and concretions of material, giving way to a further cycle of paintings: the Baroques.
The Baroques paintings, probably among the rarest works by Fontana –only circa 100 paintings spread over four years according to Crispolti’s catalogue raisonnée - present canvases with huge applications of different materials, mostly fragments of glass and sequins. The series are very complex compositions which in a certain way recall the taste of the Baroque age – a period that Fontana always considered a fundamental historic moment - while on the other side show a taste not too distant from the American artists of the late ‘40s and ‘50s with whom Fontana, at this moment of his career, shared the taste for operating on the surface of the painting with violent and vigorous gestures.
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