Huile sur toile,1950 - (130x97 cm)
In the years following the war, Antoni Clavé took part in the artistic effervescence that characterised the Montparnasse of that era. He often found inspiration for his art in his daily life: the series “Arlequins” represents young children dressed in costumes with multi-coloured diamond shaped patches like the one his young son liked to wear as a disguise. Likewise the series “Mannequins” was done while the artist was working on set decoration for both theatre and ballet as well as on costume design for actors or dancers. Therein lies the influence for the present work. Here, Antoni Clavé brings a distinctly poetic dimension to the face of the wooden mannequin by transforming it into a woman’s face where melancholy lies in her distant gaze, forever inaccessible.
By employing an economy of means (few colours, dark tones) for this close-up, Clavé draws the viewer into the intimacy of a body that is amputated and yet without pain. The mannequin is placed on a chair (in the corner of the atelier perhaps) as if awaiting the next fitting or stage direction. Beyond the clear reference to Picasso, it is a work that foreshadows the series of kings and warriors that would ultimately bring Antoni Clavé recognition as an artist.