Upcoming Auctions and Events

Global notice COVID-19 Important notice
Lucio Fontana (1899-1968)
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more
Lucio Fontana (1899-1968)

Concetto spaziale

Lucio Fontana (1899-1968)
Concetto spaziale
signed 'l Fontana' (on the reverse)
painted aluminium
height: 63 3/4in. (162cm.)
diameter: 35 3/8in. (90cm.)
Executed in 1967; this work is unique
Alexander Iolas, Athens.
Malborough Galleria d'Arte, Rome.
Acquired from the above by the grandfather of the present
owner and thence by descent to the present owner.

T. Trini, "Fontana dalla scienza all'utopia", in Domus, Milan, October 1968 (illustrated in colour).
E. Crispolti, "L'avventura di Fontana", in Arte Illustrata, Milan, July-December 1968 (illustrated, p. 85).
The Geijutsu Shincho, n. 12, Tokyo 1968 (illustrated, p. 65).
E. Crispolti, Omaggio a Fontana, Assisi-Rome 1971, no. 247-248 (illustrated, p. 226).
E. Crispolti, Lucio Fontana: catalogue raisonné des peintures, sculptures et environnements spatiaux, vol. I, Brussels 1974,
no. 67 SC 1 (illustrated, p. 96); vol. II, Brussels 1974, no. 67 SC 1 (illustrated, p. 206).
E. Crispolti, Lucio Fontana: catalogo generale, vol. II, Milan 1986, no. 67 SC 1 (illustrated, p. 710).
E. Crispolti, Carriera "barocca" di Fontana. Taccuino critico 1959-2004 e Carteggio 1958-1967, Milano 2004 (illustrated, p. 87).
E. Crispolti, Lucio Fontana: catalogo ragionato di sculture, dipinti, ambientazioni, vol. II, Milan 2006, no. 67 SC 1 (illustrated, p. 906).
Lucio Fontana: retrospective, Paris, Musee d’art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, 2014, no. 205 (illustrated in colour, p. 253).

Special notice

Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent.

Brought to you by

Alessandro Diotallevi
Alessandro Diotallevi

Lot Essay

Gleaming and red with shiny metal components, Lucio Fontana's Concetto spaziale recalls the paint and chrome of new cars. It has the fetishistic lure of new technology, resembling some Earth-bound satellite. At the same time, the sculpture clearly appears to echo the appearance of Fontana's Tagli, his slashed canvases: it is as though one of those paintings had escaped the wall and found itself on a futuristic easel. It is a tribute to the importance of Concetto spaziale that it has such an extensive early bibliographic history which included its illustrations in some of the articles published on Fontana in the wake of his death in 1968.

Concetto spaziale is one of a small group of sculptures of polished, smooth metal featuring holes or slashes that Fontana created in 1967. In these works, Fontana pushed his Spatial Art into a new direction, dictated in part by logic. Originally a sculptor, he had brought a sculptural integrity to his perforated paintings; now the process was coming full circle, as he abandoned the traditional and obsolete materials of oil and canvas, embracing the sheen of the industrial age of space flight, jets and speeding Ferraris. This sculpture is the free-standing answer - and heir - to the Tagli. It features their distinctive slash in its centre. Yet it has clearly embraced the technology of the Space Age. In the works such as this, and the more cylindrical works from the series, the viewer can appreciate the fulfilment of Fontana's own prophecy from 1952 that, 'The architecture of the future will be the missile' (Fontana, quoted in E. Crispolti & R. Siligato (ed.), Lucio Fontana, exh.cat., 1998, p. 178).

Concetto spaziale clearly references satellites such as Sputnik I, which had launched into the Cosmos a decade earlier, and the increasing swarms of its descendants. Space, or at least the Earth's orbit, was by now being colonised by satellites launched by various countries for various purposes. Humans had even been to space and spent time suspended outside their vehicles by the time Concetto spaziale was made in 1967. This is a sculpture made channelling the aesthetic of a scientific era, a work intended for the viewers of the future.

At the same time, Concetto spaziale reveals its inheritance to some of Fontana's earlier sculptures. In the late 1950s, he had created a number of sculptures on legs or stalks; these often had oblong bodies that were filled with textural detail, and related to Fontana's pictures of the same period, which often featured compositions echoing, or prefiguring, them. In Concetto spaziale, the sculpture on its stalk has found a new, crisp and clinical incarnation. Gone is the sense of the gestural intervention with the material of the surface, seen also in the Nature; instead, Concetto spaziale is filled with the crisp serenity of the 'Cuts', a factor that is only underscored by the gleaming red and silver or the various elements.

More from The Italian Sale

View All
View All