Lot 107
  • 107

Lucio Fontana

700,000 - 900,000 USD
785,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Lucio Fontana
  • Concetto Spaziale, Attesa
  • signed, titled, dated 1963 and inscribed 1+1-74 HC on the reverse
  • waterpaint on canvas
  • 23 5/8 by 18 1/8 in. 60 by 46 cm.


Libreria Einaudi, Milan
Galleria Schwarz, Milan
Private Collection, Switzerland


Rio de Janeiro, Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil; Brasília, Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil; São Paulo, Centro Cultural Banco de Brasil, Lucio Fontana, A Otica do Invisível, November 2001 - June 2002, pp. 138 and 246, illustrated in color


Enrico Crispolti, Lucio Fontana, Catalogue Raisonné, Vol. II, Brussels, 1974, cat. no. 63 T1, pp. 132-133, illustrated
Enrico Crispolti, Lucio Fontana, Catalogo Generale, Vol. II, Milan, 1986, cat. no. 63 T1, p. 452, illustrated
Ferreira Gullar, "A Matéria de Lucio Fontana," Bravo, November 2001, p. 44, illustrated
Cassiano Elek Machado, "Rio Recebe a Arte Dilacerante de Fontana," Folha de São Paulo, November 19, 2001, illustrated
Luiz Fernando Vianno, "Lucio Fontana, Um Corte Na Pitura," Veredas, November 2001, p. 9, illustrated in color
Enrico Crispolti, Lucio Fontana, Catalogo Ragionato di Sculture, Dipinti, Ambientazioni, Vol. II, Milan, 2006, cat. no. 63 T1, p. 640, illustrated

Catalogue Note

A captivatingly serene silken tableau pierced with a dramatic single black slash, Concetto Spaziale, Attesa is an unparalleled example of Lucio Fontana’s pioneering spatio-temporal investigations. The hue, a deep blue-green, defies easy categorization and is a unique and refreshing tone in Fontana’s oeuvre. Executed in 1963 at the height of Fontana’s truly ground-breaking conceptual dialogue, the utterly pristine surface of the present work delivers an overwhelming visual experience of spectacular clarity that borders on the sublime, the perfect expression of Fontana’s search for "the Infinite, the inconceivable chaos, the end of figuration, nothingness" (Lucio Fontana in Exh. Cat., London, Hayward Gallery, Lucio Fontana, 2000, p. 198). The importance of the single and monumental slash in Fontana’s body of work is entirely unsurpassable and unsurprisingly it was chosen as the single supreme format for the artist’s seminal exhibition at the Venice Biennale in 1966 for which he was awarded the coveted accolade of first prize. Amidst the wide variety of works articulated in a multitude of colors with numerous cuts in varying scales in his oeuvre, the present example exquisitely and forcefully comprises the purest and most absolute essence of Fontana’s art.

Having advanced his intellectual theory of Spatialism in five formative manifestos between 1946 and 1952, Fontana was to forge unthinkable advancements in artistic ideology that sought to engage technology and find expression for a fourth dimension – infinite space. Created four years after Yuri Gagarin was launched into space and four years before Neil Armstrong would first set foot on the moon, the transgressive incision in Concetto Spaziale, Attesa is imbued with the artist’s unbridled enthusiasm for the incommensurability of space as endless and infinite, yet brimming with the promise of uncharted and boundless adventure – the ultimate realization of his ground-breaking concept of Spatialism. As outlined by the artist: "The discovery of the Cosmos is that of a new dimension, it is the Infinite: thus I pierce this canvas, which is the basis of all arts and I have created an infinite dimension, an x which for me is the basis for all Contemporary Art" (Lucio Fontana in Exh. Cat., Venice, Peggy Guggenheim Collection (and travelling), Lucio Fontana: Venice/New York, 2006, p. 19). In the present lot, the cosmos is invoked by the rich blue-ish hue that recalls an abyss, further emphasized by the seemingly infinite black void at the canvas’s center.

Fontana first embarked upon his tagli in the autumn of 1958 and developed the motif by bathing his canvases in an extensive palette of hues that ranged from bright yellows, vivid oranges and hot pinks through more muted brown and grey tones to shimmering baroque golds and silvers. Against this panoply of pigments, Fontana further diversified his practice by experimenting with different quantities of slashes that danced across the tagli’s serene monochrome grounds. The single elongated slash upon a pristine canvas was the purest paragon of the ideal incarnated by the tagli. As is exquisitely articulated in the present work, the single slash preserves the greatest tension within the canvas flesh, heightening the viewer’s perception of the opposing dialogues whose dynamic marriages fill Concetto Spaziale, Attesa with symbolic interaction between light and dark and void and plane.

Compositionally striking and overwhelming in its beauty, Concetto Spaziale, Attesa embodies the artist's revolutionary Spatialist theory while engendering a unique dialogue between color and form. Fontana offers an innovative interpretation of the artist's gesture: instead of letting it remain on the surface he makes it penetrate through the canvas – with the simple flick of a knife, Fontana initiated fissures in artistic convention that were to pierce the very meaning of art. Concetto Spaziale, Attesa represents the mature realization of this conceptual conceit and is wholly representative of Fontana’s desire to broaden the phenomenological boundaries of human understanding.