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    Sale 2167

    Post War and Contemporary Evening Sale

    13 May 2009, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 37

    Lucio Fontana (1899-1968)

    Concetto spaziale, natura

    Price Realised  


    Lucio Fontana (1899-1968)
    Concetto spaziale, natura
    23½ x 26 1/3 in. (60 x 67 cm.)
    Executed in 1959-1960.

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    Although Lucio Fontana is best known for his two dimensional works, particularly his "cut" paintings, sculpture was an equally important medium for the artist. Fontana's father was a sculptor and he began apprenticing in his workshop at age 11. Fontana would work for him for the next decade, before opening his own shop. He worked in various styles, both figurative and abstract, in terracotta and clay (later in bronze). Indeed, most of his earliest exhibitions in the 1930's were in ceramics.

    The present work is from a series of sculptures, executed generally in terracotta, but sometimes cast in bronze, entitled Concetto spaziale, Natura. These works grew out of his cut paintings and the earliest works in the series were irregular, but flat terracotta panels with jagged slits in them. The present lot is among the most mature of the series, in which the artist has created a fully three-dimensional shape and slashed it down the center. The form evokes an exotic plant or extraterrestrial form, as well as a rough hewn version of his cut paintings. While most of the avant-garde at this time was either puruing the constructivist path opened up by Picasso and Julio Gonzalez, or Arp's biomorphism, Fontana was creating a daring new form, brutal and daring in equal measure. Fontana cared little for conventional beauty, and instead looked to alchemically change seeming dross materials and roughly realized forms into distinctive objects, simply by a selective process of cutting and gouging. The manipulation of space and its interaction with tow and three dimensional form was his greatest contributions to 20th century art.


    Private collection, Tokyo
    Studio Casoli, Milan
    Artralog AG, Würenlos

    Pre-Lot Text



    E. Crispolti, Lucio Fontana: Catalogo ragionato di sculture, dipinti, ambientazioni, vol. I, Milan, 2006, p. 544, no. 59-60 N 44 (illustrated).


    Torino, Gallerie Civica d'Arte Moderna, Stutture e Stile, Pitture e Sculture di 42 Artisti d'Europa, America e Giappone, June-August 1962, no. 74 (illustrated).
    Genova, Palazzo Ducale, Appartamento del Doge, Lucio Fontana-Luce e Colore, October 2008-April 2009.