Clavé, Antoni

Antoni Clavé i Sanmartí (Barcelona, ​​1913 - Saint-Tropez, 2005)

In 1930 he entered the Art School of Barcelona where he stayed for two years. After finishing his studies, he started his career as a poster designer and achieved great success in the world of cinema. He also collaborated in the magazine "Pocholo" (Vives, 1931). At the end of the Spanish Civil War he went into exile in France, making his first exhibition in Perpignan in 1939. Later he moved to Paris, the city where he lived until 1956, when he moved to Saint-Tropez. In Paris he began his career as an illustrator and theater decorator. His first pictorial works were influenced by authors such as Édouard Vuillard and, above all, Pierre Bonnard. Having resided in the French capital, Clavé's work is often inscribed in the School of Paris along with that of other artists such as Pablo Picasso, Juan Gris, Joan Miró or Antonio Saura.  In 1944 he met Picasso personally, initiating a friendship that lasted until the death of the painter from Malaga. From that date, Clavé began to develop a work with a different and less classical plastic. In the 1950s he began an intense work in the world of ballet and theater, using mannequins and reaching fame in the world of international scenography. At the same time he began a work of illustrations of the work Gargantua and Pantagruel that led him to become familiar with a medieval iconography that was developed in his series about warriors, kings, queens and knights. Initially, these characters were represented with a certain realism, but as time went by they gained in abstraction within the evolution of the pictorial work of Clavé. The figures were losing precision and shape, giving way to the stroke and a personal range of colors and textures as the main protagonists of his works. In 1952 he participated in the film Hans Christian Andersen (The fabulous Andersen) of the director Charles Vidor, being responsible for the sets (along with Richard Day and Howard Bristol) and costumes (along with Mary Willis and Barbara Karinska), work for the who was a candidate for the Oscar Award.  In 1954 he left the decoration to devote himself to painting. In the 1960s he paid tribute to El Greco. At this time his works reflect the influences received from the classics and baroque authors. The theme of the knight with the hand on the chest is particularly relevant, a reference that will be repeated in the future works of Clavé. This period is characterized by the definitive step to abstraction. In the 70s the evolution of Clavé's work continued, using diverse techniques such as collage, inventing new techniques such as papier froissé, the result of a technical accident in the use of aerosol on crumpled papers. In 1978, the National Museum of Modern Art in Paris, now the Georges Pompidou Center, dedicated the first retrospective that made Clavé one of the most prestigious artists of his generation. In the 1980s he dedicated a series of works to Picasso under the title of A Don Pablo. His latest works are characterized by the recreation of textures within abstraction, with a profuse use of papier froissé. In 1984 the Spanish State recognized its artistic value with the exhibition of more than 100 of its works in the Spanish pavilion of the Venice Biennial. That same year he was awarded the Gold Medal of the Generalitat of Catalonia.

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Clavé, Antoni

Clavé, Antoni

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  • Antoni Clavé, 65 x 50 cm, engraved. In other works by Antoni Clavé the motif of the glove appears, it has done with this same theme, collages, etchings and lithographs. It is a very recurring subject of this artist from his devotion to Greco, Goya and Durero, sources of his inspiration, as evidenced by The Knight of ... (Series "Hommage to Domenikos Theotokopoulos") (1964), subject as well from which it carries out multiple versions on the subject of the hand and the glove, like Encore le gant (1970) or Le gant de Madison Avenue (1974).