Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Andre Francois

Searle was close to and admired the art of many of his contemporaries but none more so than Andre Francois. He even published a book on Francois' art through his Perpetua publishing house 'Andre Francois: The Biting Eye' (1960).  Searle visited the Romanian émigré at his studio in France and took a series of photographs of the artist and his studio home. I would place these photos around the early 1970s and I believe this is the studio that tragically burnt down towards the end of Francois' life.

 In his ever meticulous manner Searle notes the top two pictures are close-ups of the bottom. He highlights the playful trompe-l'œil shelves.

Francois' style was generally less sophisticated than Searle's in terms of draughtsmanship but that was part of the success of his visual humour. Francois sometimes drew in a more intricate Searle style.

Conversely Searle's work in the 1960s approached the experimental nature of Francois', especially the expressionistic 'Anatomis & Decapitations' series and 'Baron Munchausen'.

Kate Searle, the artist's daughter, kept an autograph book as a child and collected signatures and doodles from her father's friends including this one by Francois.

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