1912 Lucien Joseph Fontanarosa comes into the world on December 19th, in Paris. His father, François Fontanarosa, and his mother, Stéphanie Lucchin, are both Italian. Early in 1912, his parents move to Paris where his father works as a tailor.
Lucien Fontanarosa spends his childhood in Paris as well as in Padua (Italy). Later on, we will see how his trips to Veneto will influence his work. He attends public school in Paris and in San Remo where his parents move to in 1921. In 1923, the Fontanarosas return to Paris where they will settle permanently.
At the age of 12 or 13, he is already interested in drawing. He spends his Sundays drawing in the streets of Paris, along the banks of the Seine and in the suburbs. According to Lucien Fontanarosa himself, it seems that he has drawn all his life. In the black cotton wrapper which envelops the suits he is to deliver to his father’s clients, he slips a note-book of sketches; for Lucien Fontanarosa, those years were marvellous : “They contributed greatly to strengthen in me this taste for the arts which, very young, I felt almost instinctively”. He attends evening drawing classes at a neighbourhood school, and on Thursdays, following the advice of Gérard Cochet, he attends Classical art drawing classes at the Académie Julian.