Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Esteban Francés



Composicion surrealista

El cuadro de los abanicos

El cortejo

Renard, figurin para El Zorro


Alborada. Paisaje explosivo


The Spanish artist Esteban Francés (1913-1976) barely figures in Gérald Durozoi's History of the Surrealist Movement, in spite of a detail of one of his works being featured on the front cover:

An aquaintance of Remedios [Varo]'s in Barcelona was Esteban Francés, within the "logicophobist" group that since 1935 had been concerned with the "external representation of the internal states of the human soul." For Francés, the transition to surrealism was a natural one and made all the more easily in that his technique of "grattage" was greeted with approval. While he worked with a "wandering" razor blade on a layer of colors dispersed with no preconceived idea, "an invisible hand takes his own and helps it to retreive the large hallucinatory figures latent" in the amalgam of colors.

And that's pretty much all we're told. The above images are from here, and there's a bit more information here, while (almost inevitably) 50 Watts has a feature on a children's (?!) book he collaborated on.


Speaking of obscure surrealist artists, Form Is Void (a great blog I've only just begun to explore) turned up some extraordinary paintings by the Hungarian Lili Ország (no mention of her in Durozoi's book).


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  2. Those Esteban Francés paintings are blowing my mind.

    Your blog is quite awesome. Thanks for the Form is Void shout-out!

  3. Thanks! Yes, they're pretty spectacular, shame he isn't better known.

  4. Hey James, glad you are posting again. I first encountered Frances through his wild cover for View:

    Then I realized he did the two children's books in the 50s (I love thinking of all those continental Surrealists wandering around America back then).

    But until I clicked through one of your links I hadn't realized he did designs for Balanchine. I'll have to root around some theater books next time I'm at a univ. library.

    Also, Thom (nice to find you here), Lili Ország needs to go on "Float" immediately. Amazing.

    1. Hi Will! It's nice that we have such an accommodating host! Yes, Ország's work is wonderful. Inspiring, really.

  5. Hi Will. Your View post was the first time I saw his work. I'd missed your link to the View anthology though, looks like it could be worth getting hold of. That Tchelitchew cover is amazing as well, yet another artist I discovered via AJRMS. And "Handful" is quite possibly the most sinister kids' book I've ever seen. (Apologies for the delayed response btw, having problems with Blogger at the moment.)

  6. I should post the other Frances kids' book "Thread Soldier," not as sinister, except for, you know, *soldiers made of thread.*

    The View book is mostly text. (They at least should have included all the covers in color.) View's original book anthologies still turn up for cheap. I got one with a Seligmann cover for $8. Now that I think of it, the View book likely has a list of those anthologies.

  7. Soldiers made of thread... not quite as creepy as clowns with sentient fingers, but look forward to seeing it nonetheless!