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Sold for 1.550.000 SEK at Uppsala Auktionskammare’s Important Sale 7-10 June 2017.
495. Lucio Fontana (Italy 1899‑1968). ”Concetto Spaziale” – A gold bracelet.
Signed l. Fontana. 18-carat gold, 8.5 x 6 cm. Weight ca. 56 grams.
In a fitted original box marked Leoni Gioiellieri, Amerel 5, Milano.
This important and unique bracelet was acquired directly from the artist Lucio Fontana by Eva af Burén. Eva af Burén was the legendary owner of Galerie Burén in Stockholm, which was founded in 1962 and held numerous important exhibitions with works by contemporary and modern artists. Eva af Burén and Lucio Fontana were friends and business associates and therefore met several times both in Stockholm and in Italy.
A signed letter from Lucio Fontana to Eva af Burén at Galerie Burén, Stockholm, dated Marina Grande, Arenzano 12-7-66, confirms thankfully that Fontana had received a cheque and also that he was very content with the fact that Madame af Burén liked the bracelet. ”Je suit très content que vous plais le bracelet et que le tableaus son bien arrivée. Maintenant je me trouve ici a la mer pour moi reposé, j’éspère de reprendre très tôt mon travaille”.
The lot included in this sale is a unique spectacular gold bracelet designed by Lucio Fontana in 1966. The bracelet is aside from the later similar bracelets that were made in editions, of which 4 copies were made with one incision and 4 copies with two incisions, both versions executed by GEM, Montebello, Milan for Marlborough, Rome in 1968. The bracelet presented in the auction is therefore possibly the first known made bracelet by Lucio Fontana and the source of inspiration to the later multiple versions. See: Harry Ruhé & Camillo Rigo, Lucio Fontana: Graphics, multiples and more…, Amsterdam, 2006, catalogue entry J-5, p. 174.
Lucio Fontana found inspiration in the advancements of science and technology of the 20th century and sought to explore the discoveries of the modern era through his art. In a wide variety of media and methods, Fontana thus created ”an art for the Space Age”. During the late 1940’s and early 1950’s Fontana began to formulate his theories as ”Spazialismo”, or ”Spatialism”, in five manifestos from 1947 to 1952. He devised the title Concetto spaziale (’spatial concept’) for the work created within his new artistic agenda. These works, in turn, can be divided into two broad categories: the Buchi (’holes’), beginning in 1949, and the Tagli (’slashes’), which he instituted in the mid-1950’s. Throughout the 1950’s, Fontana had turned increasingly towards painting, although he formerly had been considered a sculptor. Fontana brought these sculptural properties to his paintings, in which the surface becomes an abstract relief. In the 1960’s Fontana worked on several artistic projects such as the series of ”Olii” – oils on canvas with thick layers of paint perforated with holes. ”Metalli” – punctured metal sheets and the years 1964-66 the series of ”Teatrini” – little theatres. The year 1966 plays a significant role for the artist’s fame. One-man shows were held at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, at the Marlborough Gallery in New York and at the Alexander Iolas gallery in Paris as well as many other exhibitions worldwide. At the 33rd Venice Biennale he worked alongside the architect Carlo Scarpa with a large installation and won the Biennale prize the same year. Throughout his career he also experimented with a variety of materials and different ways of expression; works on paper, ceramics, prints, multiples and a few examples of jewellery.
This sale’s unique and one of a kind Spatial Concept bracelet puts the essence of Fontanas paintings and sculptures into a spectacular jewellery. The form of an egg, the single slash, the dark space inside and the eternal element gold are all significant examples of Fontana’s artistic expression. A splendid testimony of Fontanas own perspectives and ideas of dimensions.