SPRING 2010 Friends Lecture series

Conservation in Focus: Lucio Fontana´s Technical Means for Reaching Beyond the Third Dimension


Tuesday, 9 February 2010
17.30 - 18.30, Kenneth Clark Lecture Theatre

Lucio Fontana in his studio mixing paints
Lucio Fontana in his studio. Photographer unknown

Speaker(s): Dr Pia Gottschaller (German Academy Villa Massimo, Rome)
Ticket/entry details: Open to all, free admission
Organised by: Conservation of Wall Painting Department and Conservation & Technology Department (The Courtauld)

Dr Pia Gottschaller will present a lecture on the subject of her recent monograph of Lucio Fontana, Lucio Fontana´s Technical Means for Reaching Beyond the Third Dimension. The talk intends to offer insight into the 20th century Italian artist´s painterly choices as he made them from day to day throughout an unusually diverse career: faithful to his early training, he never abandoned working in the figurative mode, only to begin in 1949, at the age of 50, to sacrifice the integrity of the pictorial surface in his abstract work cycles such as the 'buchi' and 'tagli'. The discussion of his vast output unfolds in front of a historical foil that also takes into consideration aspects of his innovative use of materials and technique. From the examination of selected works as well as the inclusion of an abundance of new source material, Fontana's artistic process and concept emerge as being intricately linked.

Dr Gottschaller trained at The Courtauld Institute of Art to become a painting conservator (Dip 1997), then worked at the Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge (1997-1998), and at the Menil Collection, Houston, where she participated in the conservation of the Rothko Chapel murals (1998-2000). She received her Ph.D. in 2003 from Technische Universität Munich for a thesis on the painting technique of Blinky Palermo. 2003-2005 Associate Conservator at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. 2005-2007 Research Fellow at Bibliotheca Hertziana, Rome, where she carried out the research for the book on Lucio Fontana's artistic process, The Act of Creating Space (2008). Since 2009 Assistant Fine Arts Director at German Academy Villa Massimo, Rome.


The Spring 2010 Friends Lecture Series is supported by the Friends of The Courtauld Institute of Art.

The many faces of conservation are presented in this series of lectures: from concerted efforts to preserve endangered authentic architectural polychromy in China, to interfacing with public perceptions of what is a mostly an invisible activity at the British Museum, to a spectacularly simple yet effective method for visualising remains of Egyptian blue on ancient art. Technical studies are a traditional strength of The Courtauld and three of the lectures will explore paintings methods, beginning with 17th-century Holland and recent analysis of paintings by Vermeer and Bol, then moving to 20th-century Italy and the Spatialist art of Fontana.




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