Perhaps better known for his slashed canvas oeuvre that he began in the mid 1950s and a technique he used through to the end of his life, Italian artist (though Argentine-born) Lucio Fontana (1899-1968) also worked the canvas in other ways.
Prior to his slashed canvases, in the late 1940s Fontana punctured his canvases with holes to create the first of what was to become his famous series of concetti spaziali in which he created a dimension of space by breaking the plane of a monochrome-painted canvas. Then in the early 1960s, he returned to his pierced canvases of which the present striking painting is a wonderful example.
I love the mysterious sense of illusion created by the dark black gauze that lines the canvas and comes forth through the holes. And while the holes may seem random at a first glance, every group of punctures is actually well-organized … even the one lonesome bore in the middle lower part of the composition. If you try hard enough, you can even envision how he might have replaced the holes with 4 elegant trademark slashes by following each set of canvas bores.
In most cases, I like placing less traditional examples of a Master’s work in a collection because then the collection becomes unique. But sometimes that’s difficult, because if the collector wants a Fontana, he already has an idea of what one looks like and sometimes, even the most persuasive argument cannot change a collectors mind. What do you think?
image credits: Robilant + Voena Gallery, London,. Lucio Fontana, Concetto spaziale, 1960, gold on pink oil on canvas 20.1/2 x 17.3/4 in. | 52 x 45 cm., signed and inscribed
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