Antoni Clavé

Barcelona, 1913 - Saint-Tropez 2005

Antoni Clavé was born in Barcelona on 5th April 1913. He began in the world of painting and sculpting at the Barcelona School of Arts, Artistic Trades and Fine Arts whilst to earn a living, he painted houses. He found himself immediately attracted by the manual aspect of the work: priming glues, the mixture of colours etc. He was contracted to do posters for the film debuts on the walls of the most important cinemas of the moment in Barcelona. He also dedicated himself in this first period of his career to advertising graphics, children’s book illustration, and decorative arts.

Once the Civil War was over, he found himself obliged to seek shelter in France in a refugee camp, having taken part in the war on the Republican side. There he continued his pictorical activities with illustrations and comics for magazines, such as Gavroche, Aventure and Jumbo. When exiled, he met Miró, Saura, Gris, Picasso, to form part of what was later to be called the Paris School, and with Picasso he struck up the greatest friendship. The German invasion in Paris during the Second World War obliged him to stay there, where, in 1941, he set up his first workshop and began a career which was to be brilliant, as an illustrator and theatre decorator in both France and abroad. At the same time he participated in collective exhibitions in several cities the world over.

It was not until 1954 when Clavé decided to give up theatre design in order to exclusively dedicate himself to painting, and it is from 1965 when he received the first world recognition, thus multiplying the number of his exhibitions (Barcelona, Paris, Tokyo, Cologne, New York, Madrid, Nice)
In his work, he mixes paints, pieces of fabric, collages of different types. His style can be situated between expressionism and symbolism, the quality of his drawings standing out because of their exuberant colours and the rich texture of his materials.

He was a multidisciplinary artist with innumerable prizes and awards at both a national and international level. His works are kept in museums and institutions all over the world such the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía (Madrid), the MACBA (Barcelona), the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo Patio Herreriano (Valladolid), the Boston Fine Arts Museum, the Paris Museum of Modern Art, the Osaka National Art Museum, or the British Tate in London.

He died at the age of 92 years in Saint Tropez, France.

  • “Sin título”, mixed technique on paper, Barcelona 1913- Saint-Tropez 2005.