The present work is recorded in the Archivio Lucio Fontana under the archive no. 2308/1.
Although much of the art of Lucio Fontana, the founder of Spatialism, relied on absolute simplicity-- on minimalism, almost-- there remained a constant sensuous and decadent strain. Whether in his baroque Venice paintings, his Teatrini, or his early sculpture, there was a frequent resource to the decadent and the sensual. In Donna che si spoglia, this influence is clear, deriving in part from Degas, rather than Renoir, the model captured in the seemingly frank and natural act of undressing, the worked surface giving a sense of tactile interaction. In a sense, Fontana's interest in the model's flesh reflects his continued interest in the material, both in the sense of the plaster and the material world itself, an interest that was beginning to change drastically.
Another key artistic influence evident in this sculpture is that of Umberto Boccioni, whose Futurist work explored time and movement. So here, the jagged modeling and the leaning angle are expressely reminiscent of Boccioni's iconic sculpture Forme uniche nella continuità dello spazio, giving the work a sense of movement and a specific relationship with the space around it. In this way, Donna che si spoglia reveals the increasing influence of the Spatialist thought that was beginning to permeate Fontana's work during the 1940s. Having left Europe for Argentina, the land of his birth, in 1940, Fontana found himself the older, wiser pivot for a group of young, radical, intellectual artists who sought a new artistic idiom more suited to the modern world of air-, and imminently space-, travel. Donna che si spoglia shows Fontana bridging the gap between some of his early almost Art Deco work and the conceptual issues that had already manifested themselves to some extent in his early paintings and sculptures, but which now assumed a new strength and conviction. Hence, despite the seemingly figurative influences in the modeling of the body at the base, especially in the legs and waist, the garment being removed in Donna che si spoglia seems to dissolve into abstraction. Although its shape is still discernable, it has taken on a strange, cloud-like and not entirely formed character. As well as being a celebration of female form, Donna che si spoglia is a celebration of form itself, the amorphous clothing at the top appearing as an abstract apotheosis, the woman melting into and bonding with space itself.