By Alexis Culotta

A new fortune for Fontana: the sale of Lucio Fontana’s oil on canvas composition entitled Concetto Spaziale, La Fine di Dio (1963) set a new record price for works by the 20th-century modernist yesterday, 16 October. Appearing at a Sotheby’s London auction of Italian art, Concetto Spaziale garnered $24.7 million, setting a new high point for Fontana’s works as well as for all post-war Italian art. 

Concetto Spaziale was once part of the compositional series, La Fine di Dio, that Fontana completed between 1963 and 1964. All resonating around a similar theme of perforations in an ovoid canvas in asymmetric, constellation-like patterns, these compositions not only alluded to the concept of infinity but also reflected Fontana’s fascination with both space and surface.

Born to Italian parents in Argentina, Lucio Fontana spent most of his formative and productive years in Italy. Studying initially with his father, Luigi, Lucio eventually went on to train at Milan’s Brera Academy in the late 1920s. He traveled between Argentina and Italy over the subsequent decades, but his return to Milan in the late 1940s signaled the beginning of his exploration of the “concetto spaziale,” or spatial concept. Interrupting the surface of his compositions with “tagli,” or slices, and “buchi,” or holes, Fontana dissected the notion of the “picture plane,” which served as the root of what became known as Spatialism

Further Reading: 

Anny Shaw, “Sunny side up: Fontana’s egg helps Modern Italian works outshine contemporary art at Sotheby’s London” (artnewspaper,com, 16 October)

Auctioneer Oliver Barker in the midst of Sotheby’s Italian Sale, 16 October (Image Courtesy of 

Handlers moving Lucio Fontana’s Concetto Spaziale, La Fine di Dio, 1963 (Photo courtesy of Sotheby’s). 

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