Lucio Fontana

Biography

Lucio Fontana (b.1899-d.1968) was an Italian-Argentinian painter and theorist most known for founding the concept of Spatialism. He travelled between Italy and Argentina throughout his career.

Fontana studied under sculptor Adolfo Wildt at Accademie di Brera from 1928-1930 before joining several abstract expressionist groups, including the association Abstraction-Création in Paris and the Corrente, a Milan-based group of expressionists. He then started the Altamira academy in Buenos Aires in 1946, whose aim was to reflect the modern world and science through art.

Fontana established Spatialism through five manifestos written from 1947-1952, in which he sought to move beyond the two-dimensionality of the canvas and to blend architecture, painting and sculpture. He emphasized depth in his canvas works, slashing the canvas violently or lining the back of his canvasses with black gauze that showed through openings in the work. His experimentation greatly impacted a next generation of artists whose works also centered around space and dimensionality in the gallery and in Land Art.

Fontana was awarded the Grand Prize for painting at the Venice Biennale in 1966. His works are held in many public collections worldwide including the Tate Gallery, the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., the Centre Pompidou, Paris, and the Museum of Modern Art, New York, among others.