Antoni Clavé

Barcelona 1913 - 2005

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Antoni Clavé (Barcelona, 1913 – St. Tropez, 2005) formed artistically in Barcelona, at the School of Fine Arts with Angel Ferrant and Josep Mongrell; he met Grau Sala and Eudald Serra. He began his artistic career as a cartoonist in children's magazines and made some film posters for the Metro Goldwin-Mayer and some advertisements, where he used new experimental materials for avant-garde art: collages of diverse materials, strings, stamped fabrics, wave carton, etc. After his participation in the civil war in the Republican side he exiled to France; he was interned in Prats de Molló and then in the field of Haras (Perpignan). Later he was released alongside Pedro Flores. He exhibited the drawings made in the concentration camp, in his first individual exhibition (Perpiñan, 1939). He arrived in Paris in April 1939. The following year he presented an exhibition in Au sans pareil (1939) and installed in the 45 rue Boissonade. It begins a series of "Images of Paris, Festes barcelonines", with which it gains the trust of the editorial world. He is commissioned to illustrate bibliophile books. The impact of the paintings of Vuillard and Bonnard on his painting leads to an intimist stage. He exhibited at the Galerie Castelucho (1942) along with Grau Sala, Martí Bas and Bosch, and also at the National Exhibition of Beaux Arts, at Galerie Henry Joly (1944), Galerie Delpierre (1946), etc. I know Picasso. His work is oriented towards dead natures and towards an urban landscape close to abstraction. Already in the 1940s he was a famous painter recognized beyond his country of origin and his land of adoption. Clavé, by Picasso's influence, begins to break down the image approaching abstraction, while expressing a growing interest in the materials, which will characterize his later work. In 1955 he settled in Provence. In 1956 and 1958 he performed his series of "Kings and Warriors". Those years are of experimentation, performing sculptures with assembly of objects. Use collages of objects. He uses collages, painting on tapes whose relief he takes advantage of. With the textures, Clavé seeks a special expressiveness for his painting. Interested in the recording, he achieves unusual qualities in all techniques. Clavé has won the Hallmark Award in New York (1948), the David Bright Award at the Venice Biennale in 1954 and the Tokyo International Biennial Award in 1957. He was also awarded the Unesco Grab Award in 1956, and a year later, the Matarasso Award of the São Paulo Biennale, among others. In 1984 he was selected as the only Spanish artist at the Venice Biennale. It is considered one of the most transcendent Spanish painters today. Together with Tapies, Clavé is already a leading Spanish art classic, a name that is indisputably imposed on its time: the celebrity in life, like Picasso, which only reaches the greatest masters.