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Lucio Fontana was born in Rosario di Santa Fe, Argentina on February 19, 1899. He studied at Instituto Tecnico Carlo Cattarreo, Milan and studied sculpture in both Milan and Buenos Aires. He developed a reputation as an avant-garde esthetician and theoretician. He was a member of the Abstraction-Creation Group in Paris and was a co-signatory of the Manifesto of Italian Abstract Art. He worked on ceramics in Sevres, France; he was associated with Joan Miro and Brancusi in Paris 1937. Yet Fontana only began painting when he was fifty years old and he achieved widespread critical success only in the last decade of his life.

Fontana first perforated pastel and watercolor canvases in Milan in 1954. To slash the canvas, to pierce it with a sharp instrument; for many these acts of aggression are the essence of Fontana. He was influenced somewhat by Surrealism. He attacked the canvas with knives or clotted its surface with junk jewel fragments or with carved symbols, earning him the right to be reckoned among the liberators of art. Fontana died in Comabbio. Varese, Italy, on September 7, 1968.

Sources include:
Contemporary Artists
Fontana’s Post-Dada Operatics by Holland Cotter, in Art in America, March 1987

Compiled and written by Jean Ershler Schatz, artist and researcher of Laguna Woods, California.

Biography from the Archives of AskART.