All his creative life, Italian avant-garde artist Lucio Fontana was constantly in search of new forms of abstraction. He was always interested in the relation between surface, spatial concepts and material. Virtually no other 20th-century artist brought about such fundamental change in painting and sculpture as he did. 

Born in Argentina, son of an Italian sculptor, Fontana studied at the  Accademia di Brera, Milan, and from the mid-1930s he worked on polychrome sculptures and mosaics, attempting to expand abstract art into the spatial dimension. Having moved to Buenos Aires in 1940, due to the war, he moved back to Milan in 1947. Here his spatial experiments culminated in the Concetti Spaziali series, making Fontana one of the most revolutionary post-war artists. His Spatial Concepts are pierced, perforated and slashed monochrome canvases in strong colours such as red, blue, yellow or pink. The holes (buchi) and slashes (tagli) are often underlaid with black fabric in order to draw the painting more clearly into the spatial depths, thus lending additional emphasis to the cosmic and spiritual significance of his art, which he regarded as a counterpart to the science and architecture of his time. He always treated the wounds inflicted on the canvas with colour, sometimes emphasising them by means of back-lighting.

Fontana's slashed, perforated monochromes have long become classics of 20th-century art, and much sought-after collectors' items.

1899 born in Rosario di Santa Fé, Argentina


1905 family moved to Milan


from 1914 attended the Carlo Cattaneo Technical Institute


1915 – 1918 war service


1918 graduated in engineering


1922 moved back to Argentina, where he worked in his father's sculpture studio


1924 opened his own sculpture studio


1928 – 1930 studied sculpture at the Accademia di Brera, Milan


from 1931 first figurative sculptures, terra-cotta reliefs and painted plaster plaques, approaching abstraction


1934 joined the Paris 'Abstraction-Création' group of artists, and set up their Milan section


1935  publication of their manifesto on abstract art Fontana's first solo exhibition in the Galleria del Milione, Milan


From 1939 lived in Argentina


1946 co-founded the private Altamira Academy in Buenos Aires


1948 first Spatialist Manifesto and foundation of the group 'Movimento spaziale'


1949 first Ambiente spaziale and first Buchi


1950s Le Pietre series


1958 first slashed canvases Concetto spaziale


Early 1960s combination of different pictorial devices and first large spherical bronze objects


1968 died in Varese

1929 Lucio Fontana, Accademia di Brera, Milan


1942 Museo Municipal de Bellas Artes, Rosario di Santa Fe


1961 Fontana. Keramik, Galerie Schmela, Dusseldorf


1969 Hommage à Fontana, Kunst- und Museumsverein, Wuppertal


1972 Lucio Fontana, Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels


1976 Lucio Fontana. Concetti Spaziali, Kunsthaus Zurich


1977 Lucio Fontana 1899 - 1968. A Retrospective, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York


1988/1989 Homage to Lucio Fontana, Collezione Peggy Guggenheim, Venice


1996/1997 Lucio Fontana. Retrospektive, Schirn Kunsthalle


1999 Triennale di Milano, Milan


2006 Lucio Fontana. Venice / New York, Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice &

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York


2010 Lucio Fontana, Neue Galerie, Berlin


2014 Lucio Fontana. Rétrospective, Musée de l’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris


2014/2015 Yves Klein / Lucio Fontana. Milano Parigi 1957 – 1962, Museo del Novecento, Milan


2017 Lucio Fontana. En las colecciones publicas argentinas, Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Buenos Aires

Lucio Fontana. Ambienti / Enviroments, Pirelli Hangar Biocca, Milan