Antoni Clavé

Spanish , 1913 - 2005

Antoni Clave was born in Barcelona in 1913. At age 13 he spent his days as an apprentice selling fabrics and attended art school at night. In 1927, he began painting houses where he learned to handle brushes and draw letters, signs, etc. In 1932, he left art school and began creating posters, advertising billboards and decorative work, using materials that the avant-garde artists were using such as printed fabrics, string, cardboard, newspapers, and other materials. During the Spanish Civil War, Clave fought in the Republican Army and was briefly interned in France at the end of the conflict. After his release he remained in France where he eventually met Picasso, an experience which left an unforgettable impression on the young Clave. During the 1940s-50s he concentrated on book illustrations and theatrical set designs which included lithographs for Voltaire's Candide, Pushkin's Queen of Spades, and Rabelais' Gargantua. He also created stage sets and costumes for Carmen, Garcia Lorca's Don Perlimpin and Mozart's Figaro. In 1954, after he decided to give up his work as an illustrator and set designer, Clave devoted all his time to painting, sculpture and engraving. Since 1955 he has been featured in numerous important exhibitions such as the Biennale in Venice and a retrospective at the Museum Rath in Geneva. He moved to the south of France in 1965 where he still resides today. In 1968, Clave began making etchings on large paper and during this time he learned the carborundum and engraving technique which was invented by printmaker Henri Goetz. Throughout the 1970s-80s Clave held numerous exhibitions in Europe, the United States, and Japan. In 1984, the entire Spanish Pavillion at the Venice Biennale was dedicated to his work. Clave passed away in St. Tropez, France in 2005.
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