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Catalogue of Lucio Fontana’s drawings in the works

More than 5,500 works on paper to be covered in three-volume publication, including new discoveries that shed light on Spatialism

Lucio Fontana, Concetto spaziale (spatial concept), 1954

The critical and commercial profile of the late Italian artist Lucio Fontana (1899-1968), famous for his abstract paintings dotted with punched holes and vertical cuts, is likely to be boosted by a new catalogue raisonné of works on paper due to be published in Milan on 20 November. Divided into three volumes, the catalogue, published by Skira, includes more than 5,500 works in chronological order.

“This catalogue provides the most comprehensive information regarding Fontana’s work across a 40-year timeframe, from 1928 to 1968,” says the catalogue editor, Luca Massimo Barbero. “It includes previously unseen groups of drawings. Among the most important discoveries are numerous works made around 1940 and some extraordinary albums produced around 1946 which throw light on Spatialism [the movement founded by Fontana in 1947] and the artist’s hugely influential ‘Concetti e Ambienti spaziali’ works.”

The Milan-based Fondazione Lucio Fontana has been instrumental in producing the volume. “This publication came about through the partnership with the foundation. I sourced all the works from the organisation, which I studied and catalogued,” says Barbero, the former director of the Macro contemporary art centre in Rome. Enrico Crispolti, the Italian scholar who edited the two-volume 2006 catalogue raisonné of Fontana’s paintings, sculptures and environments, has written an introduction, while Nina Ardemagni Laurini and Silvia Ardemagni are publication co-editors.

A section on architecture highlights Fontana’s links before the Second World War with modernist architectural movements such as the Rationalism school in Milan. “Fontana had a visceral connection with architecture from the 1930s onwards,” Barbero says. “This is reflected, for instance, in the exhibition space he designed for an exhibition of his works at the 1966 Venice Biennale.”

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