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Franco Fontana



Franco Fontana was born in 1933 in Modena, where he still lives and works. He took up photography in 1961 and joined an amateur club. In his aesthetic research at this time he was already exploring the world of colour. In 1961 he exhibited works at the Third International Colour Biennial in Vienna, which was followed by his first publication in the Italian edition of Popular Photography. The first international acknowledgements began to come in 1972 with his solo show Die Materie die wir nicht sehen at the Galerie Die Brücke, Vienna and when the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York, acquired some of his photographs. Exhibitions devoted to his works were then held in London, Munich, Cologne, Amsterdam and Berlin to growing critical recognition that brought him an international reputation. In 1976 he exhibited his works at the Palazzo della Pilotta, Parma in an exhibition that consecrated him as a master of colour. In 1978 his Skyline, with a text by Helmut Gernsheim, was the first book published by Punto e Virgola, founded by Luigi Ghirri in Modena. In 1979 he made his first trip to the United States, where he applied and further developed his research into the urban landscape. Fontana has been invited to hold photography workshops in various schools and universities. The first was at Arles in 1978 for Les Rencontres Internationales de la Photographie. In 1990 he was one of the 54 “Masters of Photography” in the Toppan Collection at the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum and received the Europa Prize for Photography as part of the City of Modena Journalistic and Literary Prize. In 1992 he was given “The 150 Years of Photography - Photographer Award” in Tokyo. In 2000 he was made a Commendatore al merito for culture in the Italian Republic and awarded the prestigious Vignola Golden Cherry Prize, previously presented to Enzo Ferrrari, Luciano Pavarotti, Arrigo Levi and Francesco Guccini. In 2000 for his solo show at the Scavi Scaligeri, Verona, Leonardo Arte (Milan) published Mostra antologica with texts by Giorgio Cortenova and Walter Guadagnini. In 2003 Allan D. Coleman and Giuliana Scimé wrote the introduction to his Retrospettiva (Logos, Modena). Franco Fontana has held around 300 solo shows in Italy and worldwide.


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  • basilicata-1978
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