Six works by Fontana unseen for 50 years at Bonhams Single-Owner sale in London
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Six works by Fontana unseen for 50 years at Bonhams Single-Owner sale in London
Concetto spaziale, Attese, 1966, waterpaint on canvas, 53.8 by 65 cm. (21 3/16 by 25 9/16 in.). Estimate: £500,000-700,000. In this example from the last period of the artist’s career, the execution of the five cuts is notably much more controlled than in earlier works. Photo: Bonhams.



LONDON.- Six works by Lucio Fontana (1899-1968), unseen by the public for the past 50 years, are to be offered at auction for the very first time. The works form part of a sale 20th Century Masters : A Private Collection – Kandinsky and Fontana to Baselitz, which comes to Bonhams New Bond Street on Thursday 29 June 2023. The collection will also be on view in Paris on Friday 5th, Wednesday 10th, and Thursday 11th May.

Leading the sale will be Concetto spaziale, Attese, 1959, an extremely rare early work by the artist featuring 14 cuts on a shaped white background. The work has an estimate of £1,600,000 - 2, 200,000. The sale will also feature Concetto spaziale, Attese, 1960, which features two large cuts on red – a style that is amongst the most recognisable and sought-after in Fontana’s oeuvre – which has an estimate of £1,300,000-1,800,000.

Giacomo Balsamo, Bonhams International Director of Post-War & Contemporary Art, commented: “It is a privilege to find and offer a group of six outstanding works by Lucio Fontana, all from the same private collection, and comprising works produced in three different media – canvas, paper, and porcelain. These works have been assembled by a refined collector with a very discerning eye, and we are sure they will cause a lot of excitement when they come to auction at Bonhams this June.”

Ralph Taylor, Bonhams Global Head of Post-War and Contemporary Art, added: “These exceptional works by the great Fontana have not been seen publicly in 50 years, and we are delighted to be able to offer them for the first time at auction. Amongst the pieces are four stunning examples of Fontana’s ‘Tagli’ (cuts), which offer a unique insight into this series.”

The other Fontana works in the sale are:

• Concetto spaziale, Attese, 1966, waterpaint on canvas, 53.8 by 65 cm. (21 3/16 by 25 9/16 in.). Estimate: £500,000-700,000. In this example from the last period of the artist’s career, the execution of the five cuts is notably much more controlled than in earlier works.

• Concetto spaziale, Attese, 1960, waterpaint on canvas, 100 by 80 cm. (39 3/8 by 31 1/2 in.). Estimate: £450,000-650,000. This work, completed in pink, is stamped with the artist's thumbprint on the front.

• Concetto spaziale, 1951, watercolour on paper, 50 by 70 cm. (19 11/16 by 27 9/16 in.). Estimate: £30,000-50,000. This early and extremely colourful work on paper evokes the ‘Buchi’ (Holes) series by the artist. The stripe colour background makes it quite rare in the artist’s oeuvre.

• Concetto Spaziale, Cratere, 1968, painted gold porcelain, 38 by 28 by 5 cm. (14 15/16 by 11 by 1 15/16 in.), number 13 from an edition of 75. Estimate: £18,000-25,000.

Born in Argentina in 1899, and later moving to Italy in 1905, Lucio Fontana (1899-1968), was an artist obsessed by the scientific breakthroughs of his day. Having experienced the turbulence of Europe between two world wars, he was particularly interested in space – both as a concept and with the advances in Space Exploration of the 1950s and 1960s – and how it epitomised going beyond the 'surface' in order to break through to another dimension. He described many of his works not as a painting or a sculpture, but as a 'spatial concept' (Concetto spaziale). By cutting through the canvas, Fontana tore what would be a traditional painting from its realist, representative form, opening up an abstracted dimension that is to be found – quite literally – within the canvas. As the founder of the Spazialismo movement, Fontana produced a series of manifestos and essays which established the conceptual logic behind his practice. He is considered to be one of the Twentieth Century's most influential artists.










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