By Henry Shaftoe

He started out producing posters for the cinema; now we produce posters for him.

Who he? Antoni Clavé: possibly the greatest twentieth century artist you have never heard of.

But now you can witness the genius of this artist – contemporary, compatriot and friend of Picasso, at the Musée Rigaud in Perpignan, until the 12th May.

Don’t like abstract impressionism – no worries – he also produced wonderful figurative art; don’t like painting – no worries he created fantastic sculptures too, including strange musical instruments. Love colour? Then you will love the big format creations of Clavé.

What a guy and, I (your humble arts and culture correspondent) must admit, I had never heard of him before either!

So why have a huge exhibition of his work in Perpignan? There’s a connection – In 1939 he was one of the many thousands of Spaniards who had to flee from the forces of Franco (the “retirada”) and he ended up in a camp near Perpignan, where his artistic talents were spotted by local artist Martin Vivès, who obtained his liberation.

Clavé went on to be a big hit in Paris, where he stayed until 1965, when he moved back down south. He went on creating magnificent works right up to his death in 2005.

Anton Clavé artist

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