FRANCO FONTANA (Italian, b. 1933)

 Born in 1933 in Modena, Italy, Franco Fontana started taking photographs in 1961. In 1968, Fontana had his first solo exhibition at the Galleria della Sala di Cultura in Modena. He first exhibited work internationally in 1972 in Vienna, then traveled to the United States in 1979.

Fontana is best known for his abstract color landscapes, which pare down Earth’s many elements to just green and yellow grass, blue sky, green trees and white clouds. He is considered the inventor of the photographic concept of line. Writes Giuliana Scimé in the 1982 volume of Contemporary Photographers:

“The old debate between those who argue for a pure photography and those who support freedom in the employment of the medium—that argument is settled, paradoxically, in Fontana’s work: it is a representation of the real with no technical elaboration or manipulation during the photo-chemical-mechanical process. There is just his capacity to see, to select, that enables him to extract certain elements from the immense panorama of the concrete world.”

 Fontana still lives and works in Modena, Italy.

Selected Collections:

International Museum of Photography and Film, George Eastman House, Rochester, NY

The Museum of Modern Art, New York

Ludwig Museum, Cologne, Germany

Museum of Art, Norman, Oklahoma

National Gallery, Beijing

The Australian National Gallery, Melbourne

University of Texas, Austin

Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam

Metropolitan Museum, Tokyo

The Israel Museum, Jerusalem

Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Paris

Museo de Arte de São Paolo, Sao Paolo

Schweizerische Stiftung für die Fotografie, Winterthur

Finnish Museum of Photography, Helsinki

Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, CA

Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow

Victoria & Albert Museum, London