Fontana, Lucio

Fontana, Lucio, 1899–1968, Italian artist, b. Argentina. He lived (1905–22) in Milan, then several times moved from Italy to Argentina and back, remaining in Italy after 1947. Much of his early work is figurative or semiabstract ceramic sculpture, often extremely decorative. In Argentina in the early 1940s he published the White Manifesto, explaining his theory of “spatialism,” a synthetic art appropriate to a technological age. Fontana subsequently turned to painting, and became famous for the paintings he experimented with from the late 1940s and executed (along with sculptures) from 1958. Initially colored canvases perforated with punched buchi (holes), the later works for which he is best known are monochrome canvases in matte secondary colors, typically slashed with usually vertical, often somewhat curved cuts. He often applied black gauze to the back of these paintings to give a feeling of deep space.

See studies by S. Whitfield (2000), B. Hess (2006), A. White (2011), P. Gottschaller (2012), and I. Candela, ed. (2019).

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