Lucio Fontana Argentina and Italy, 1899-1968


Lucio Fontana (b. 1899, Rosario de Santa Fé, Argentina; d. 1968, Comabbio, Italy) was a twentieth-century painter, sculptor, and founder of Spatialism, a movement that aimed to use technology to synthesize architecture, painting, and sculpture into a comprehensive novel mode of expression. In 1905, Fontana arrived in Milan where he lived for seventeen years before returning to his home country to work in his father’s sculpture studio. The artist moved back to Milan in 1928 and attended the Accademia di belle arti di Brera. In 1930, Fontana’s first solo exhibition was held at the Galleria del Milione, Milan. Throughout the 1930s, he collaborated with several avant-garde groups, including Abstraction-Création in Paris and Corrente in Milan, and worked across a diverse range of mediums, such as sculpture, ceramics, and architecture. From 1940 to 1947, Fontana lived in Buenos Aires, where he founded the Academia de Altamira and published his famous “Manifesto Blanco” (White Manifesto), laying the foundation for his theory of Spatialism. In 1949, he began to experiment with painting for the first time in his career, initially puncturing and later slashing his canvases to emphasize their objecthood. Fontana exhibited at the 1966 Venice Biennale, where he designed the installation of his work. A key figure in the post-war landscape, Fontana is well-represented in major institutions around the globe; his work is held in international museums including The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Art Institute Chicago; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Tate, London; and Musée National d’Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris.