Lucio Fontana (1899-1968) , Concetto spaziale, Attese. Photo Sotheby's

signed, titled and inscribed Forse il verde è un bel colore! on the reverse, waterpaint on canvas, 65.3 by 54cm.; 25 3/4 by 21 1/4 in. Executed in 1964-1965. ESTIMATE 400,000-600,000 GBP - Lot Sold: 469,250 GBP

NOTE: In Concetto Spaziale, Attese, Fontana's tagli take their most striking form. A verdant green ground becomes a dramatic stage upon which four trademark slashes play their part. Dancing across the canvas in the curved form of musical notes upon a score, the four dark recesses transport the viewer into a dynamic third dimension, a sculptural space where energy seems to pound through the openings. Recalling the vibrant compositions of the Italian Futurists, Fontana here has taken the painted stroke of movement and transformed it into action. Slim and elegant in their precise positioning at regular intervals across the centre of the picture plane, the slashes catalyse the metamorphosis of the two dimensional canvas into a strikingly beautiful art-object..

The dynamic juxtaposition of dark incisions against a lush field of colour perfectly encapsulates Fontana's visual theatre at its most powerful. The colour of nature, emblematic of regeneration, fertility and rebirth, green also symbolises the cycle of life, and therefore of human energy.

Fontana was captivated by technological advancement, and here, the deep green ground articulates his aim to find a visual manifestation of the progress he witnessed in the immediate post-war period. Arresting in its dramatic chiaroscuro of dark penetrating through a field of colour, Concetto Spaziale, Attese is a work of animated beauty, illuminating Fontana's groundbreaking innovations.

LITERATURE: Enrico Crispolti, Lucio Fontana Catalogo Ragionato di Sculture, Dipinti, Ambientazioni, Vol. II, Milan 2006, p. 744, no. 64-65 T 79, illustrated


Lucio Fontana (1899-1968) , Concetto spaziale. Photo Sotheby's

signed, painted and glazed terracotta; diameter: 29.5cm.; 11 5/8 in. Executed circa 1965. ESTIMATE 100,000-150,000 GBP - Lot Sold: 121,250 GBP

NOTE: Energetically fashioned in malleable terracotta clay, Lucio Fontana's Concetto Spaziale reflects his desire to make inert material 'live'. A cluster of punctured holes are gouged out from the smooth polished sphere, bringing to the surface the form's inner core in an eruption of encrusted perforations. Recalling the ceramics of the late 1930s that gave the impression of sculptures in the throes of radical violent change, and the monumental Nature of moulded clay, Concetto Spaziale subscribes to Fontana's Spatialist concept of infinite space. In the present work, the flatness of Fontana's attese canvases is translated onto the organic roundness of a sphere, and the violent incisions of the knife have been replaced by the crude penetration of Fontana's own hands. The beauty of the smooth sphere with its interruptions of the artist's invasive sign relate to the key concepts which characterise Fontana's best work: namely the simplicity of and truth to materials, and the expressive potential of a simple gesture like the cut or hole.

The provenance of this particular work bears testimony to the fruitful artistic period which characterised Milan in the 1960s. The original owner of this work was a distinguished Professor of Fine Art at the University of Indiana, and a pioneer in modern jewellery making. During a residency in the Milan studio of the artist Arnaldo Pomodoro in the 1960s, the owner met the artist Lucio Fontana and acquired Concetto Spaziale. The present sculpture therefore illuminates the interchange of the ideas and philosophy between two artists during an era of intense creative energy in 1960s Italy.


Lucio Fontana (1899-1968) , Concetto spaziale. Photo Sotheby's


each: signed and numbered 445/500 on the underside; polished bronze; 27 by 22 by 22cm.; 10 5/8 by 8 5/8 by 8 5/8 in. Executed in 1967. ESTIMATE 30,000-40,000 GBP- Lot Sold: 79,250 GBP

LITERATURE: Exhibition Catalogue, London, Imago Art Gallery, Lucio Fontana: Beyond Space, Milan 2008, p.9 3, illustration of another example


Lucio Fontana (1899-1968) , Concetto spaziale. Photo Sotheby's


signed , painted and glazed ceramic; diameter: 44cm.; 17 3/8 in. Executed circa 1960-63. ESTIMATE 30,000-40,000 GBP - Unsold.

AUTHENTICATION: This work is registered in the Archivio Lucio Fontana, Milan under the number 800/2

Sotheby's. Contemporary Art Auction, 30 june 2011, London