Executed by Lucio Fontana

The Story of One Painting

In 2001 Robert Swope and Michel Hurst purchased the present Lucio Fontana painting at the New York City Annex Flea Market. Recognizing their good find, Swope and Hurst took the work to Alan M. Farancz Painting Conservation Studio to restore and clean the painting before showing it to Christie’s, New York. The work was accepted on consignment by Christie’s and sent to their London offices. Vetted by Christie’s, the painting was listed in their Post-War day sale on Friday, June 28th of 2002 (Sale number PENFOLD-6591, Lot 163) and it was selected by the auction house to represent their sales in Wallpaper magazine.

Wallpaper, July/August 2002

Before the sale, Christie’s reached out to the Fondazione Lucio Fontana to obtain the catalogue raisonné registration number. The Fondazione would not issue the number without viewing the work in person, so the work was withdrawn from auction and sent to Milan for review. After five months, the Fondazione determined that the work, although original, would not be included in the Fontana catalogue explaining: “that this painting, originally executed by Lucio Fontana, has been irremediably damaged.”

The alleged alteration or damage to the painting was never apparent to Farancz or Christie’s specialists. The Fondazione Lucio Fontana has issued a letter confirming the work’s authenticity, but the future status of the painting remains unclear.