Lucio Fontana, an Italian artist who lived and worked in Argentina, was one of the first avant-garde artists to understand art as gesture or performance. His first solo exhibition at an American museum was held at the Walker in 1966, where a critic wrote in the Minneapolis Star that "Fontana gives his works a feeling of space by breaking the surface with perforations, punctures, 'nervous' slits, 'quiet and dramatic' slashes, or 'fluttery' holes." The technique, which Fontana named Spazialismo, was conceived in 1949 when he punctured a thinly painted monochromatic canvas with a knife, exploding the definition--or at least the conventional space--of art. This act challenged the entire history of Western easel painting and led him to the understanding that painting was no longer about illusion contained within the dimensions of a canvas but a complex blend of form, color, architectural space, gesture, and light.


Fontana was completely committed to abstraction, publishing in 1946 his famous "White Manifesto," which expanded on ideas from another Italian movement, Futurism, about the role of science and technology in new art forms. In this manifesto he wrote about "the free development of color and form in real space to create an art that would transcend the area of the canvas to become an integral part of architecture."


Born: Rosario de Santa Fé, Argentina
1914 - 1915
Studied at the School of Architecture at the Technical Institute Carlo Cattaneo, Milan, Italy
1928 - 1930
Studied at the Academia di Bella Arti di Brera, Milan, Italy
Joined the Paris group of artists 'Abstraction-Création', and set up
their Milan section
First Prize of Sculpture at the XXXII National Salon of Fine Arts
Founded the Academia de Altamira, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Died: Comabbio, Italy


Selected Public Collections

Museum of Modern Art, New York , NY

Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX

Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC

Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY

Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL

Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH

Calderara Foundation Collection, Milan, Italy

Castello di Rivoli Museum of Contemporary Art, Turin, Italy

Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, Rome, Italy

GAM - Galleria Civica d'Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, Turin, Italy

Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona, Spain

Reina Sofía National Museum, Madrid, Spain

Tate Gallery, London, UK


Selected Exhibitions


"Lucio Fontana, Scultore," Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna, Rome, Italy (solo)

“Lucio Fontana: Paintings, Sculptures, Works on Paper,” Ben Brown Fine Arts, London, UK (solo)


"Via Crucis - Lucio Fontana", Museo de Arte de Sao Paulo Assis Chateaubriand - MASP, Sao Paulo, Brazil

“Lucio Fontana Sculptor,” Castello di San Giorgio, Torino, Italy (solo)

"Living, Looking, Making: Sculpture by Giacometti, Fontana, Twombly, Serra," Gagosian Gallery, London, UK


"Lucio Fontana," Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York City, NY (solo)

“Lucio Fontana: Venice/New York”, Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice, Italy (solo)

“Lucio Fontana: Alle Radici Dello Spazialismo,” Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimo, New York, NY (solo)

“Lucio Fontana: Alle Radici Dello Spazialismo,” Italian Cultural Institute, New York, NY (solo)

“Lucio Fontana,” Harry Ruhe / Galerie A, Amsterdam, Netherlands (solo)


Rhona Hoffman Gallery, Chicago, IL


"Lucio Fontana," Museum Franz Gertsch, Burgdorf, Switzerland (solo)


De Pury & Luxembourg, Zurich, Switzerland


"Lucio Fontana", Sperone Westwater, New York, NY (solo)

"Lucio Fontana," 11 Duke Street Limited, London, UK (solo)


"Lucio Fontana", Hayward Gallery, London, UK

"Minimalia: An Italian Version in 20th Century Art", P.S. 1, New York, NY


"Lucio Fontana,'Stasera inauguro la mia mostra da Palazzoli'," Galleria Blu, Milan, Italy


"Gold: Gothic Masters and Lucio Fontana," Compagnia Di Belle Arti (& other locations) Milan, Italy


"Lucio Fontana", Palazzo delle Esposizioni, Rome, Italy (solo)

"Lucio Fontana. Entre Materia y Espacio", La Fundación 'la Caixa' in collaboration with the Museo National Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, Spain (solo)


"Lucio Fontana: Retrospektive", Kunsthalle, Frankfurt, Germany; Museum Moderner Kunst Stifung Ludwig, Vienna, Austria (solo)


"Lucio Fontana", Musée national d'art moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France

Fondation Caixa de Pensions in Barcelona, Spain

Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, Netherlands

Whitechapel Art Gallery, London, UK


"Lucio Fontana Retrospective," Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York City, NY (solo)


"Retrospective", Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Netherlands


V. Bienal Sao Paulo, Brazil


Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy

Galleria del Milione, Milan, Italy (solo)


Nexus, Rosario de Santa Fé, Argentina

Lucio Fontana

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