February 18, 2014

Stolen Lucio Fontana Painting Recovered

By Lynda Albertson

A painting by Lucio Fontana that was stolen the night of February 11, 2014 while on exhibition in Milan from the Pecci Museum in Ripa di Porta Ticinese has been recovered.  

An Italian painter and sculptor, Fontana is mostly known as the founder of Spatialism and for his ties to the Arte Povera movement.  As many of the artist's works carry the same simplified title, ARCA has elected not to publish a photograph of the recovered artwork until the painting has been confirmed and authenticated by the Carabineriri TPC as the version of "Spatial Concept 1962" stolen less than one week ago.

Local Italian police and fire fighters were called to the Porche dealership located on Via Stephenson in Milan yesterday to investigate an illegally parked Nissan automobile blocking the entry gates to the facility which is located in the northern suburbs of the city.  The painting, located in the back seat of the car, was found wrapped in a blanket.

According to the reconstruction report given by the police, the theft occurred when thieves entered the courtyard forcing a motor arm of an electric gate.   Police investigators are continuing to review surveillance camera footage in hopes that the recordings can provide useful information to identify the thieves who have stolen the work or perhaps be matched the driver of the car left blocking the dealership.  

In an interview with Italian newspaper "Il Tirreno, the director of the Pecci, Stefano Pezzato said the recovery of the painting, which occured on the closing day of the exhibition, was the conclusion of "a nightmare week".  The director added that not only were they happy and relieved that the painting had been recovered but that they would be looking into improvements for their exhibitions' security. 
Valued at 540 thousand euros and on loan from from its anonymous collector, "Spatial Concept, 1962" is not the first Lucio Fontana painting to meet with mishap. In 2010 "Spatial Concept - Waiting, 1968", an all white painting with five vertical cuts, was reportedly vandalized while on display at the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna. 

Like with many stolen and well cataloged paintings, the thieves most likely abandoned the artwork when they realized that it would be difficult, if not impossible, to sell. 


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