Bois, sable, carton, coquillage, plâtre et peinture,1939 - (38x46 cm)
Coquille-plage is among the first works that Antoni Clavé made when he arrived in Paris. It is an assemblage of discarded objects, which will be a favourite theme throughout the artist’s life. Coquille-plage is a colourful souvenir of Barcelona; the city that he had left behind in 1937 when heading for the front at Aragon and which he feared never to see again after the defeat of the Republican army in 1939, several months before the creation of this work. Pierre Cabanne wrote: "l'intervention de la coquille sur un fond de sable parsemé de graviers" and the "recherche d'accord entre les différents éléments, leur forme, leur texture, leur relief, leur couleurs, et celle dont il enrichit, en réalisant l'ensemble comme un tableau, les papiers utilisés. C'est là une composition d'instinct dont le réalisme optique ajoute à la saisie globale de l'aspect, à la fois peinture, relief et objet décoratif." (“the intervention of the shell on a background of sand that is littered with gravel” and the “search for harmony between the different elements, their shape, their texture, their relief, their colours, and that which he enhances by conceiving the ensemble as a painting, the papers that are employed. Here is an instinctive composition whereby the optic realism adds to the way in which one captures the work as a whole, at once painting, relief and decorative object”) This is one of the “surrealist” works of Antoni Clavé and is singular in that it lies between two paths: that of an avant-garde Spanish artist who began his career in Barcelona and that of the same artist of Montparnasse who would attain international recognition in the 1950’s. It remains typical of both the technique of and taste for assembling different, disparate materials that will punctuate the oeuvre of Antoni Clavé. A sort of icon of Clavé’s work, the Catalonian government installed a bronze cast of Coquille-plage in the rooms dedicated to the artist.