De Francia, Peter (7 of 20). National Life Stories Collection: Artists' Lives.

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  • Recording date

    2000-02-24, 2000-03-23, 2000-05-15, 2000-07-20, 2000-08-11, 2000-09-28, 2000-10-04, 2001-02-14

  • Recording locations

    Interviewee's home in London

  • Interviewees

    De Francia, Peter, 1921-2012 (speaker, male)

  • Interviewers

    Roberts, Melanie (speaker, female)

  • Abstract

    Following his time in Italy Peter de Francia [PdeF] went to Canada for a year and then New York for a year. He lived in Rorimer in Canada where he worked on exhibition design for the Canada Exhibitions Commission, as a result of which he travelled widely. It is described as a humdrum job and he can only identify a few good local artists including Tonnancourt, saying that much talent was drained by American organisations. The job was obtained speculatively and he remembers no red tape being connected to working in the Canada or the USA. PdeF refers to living in Ottawa and mentions how provincial Canada was at this time [1949]. He particularly mentions the cultural oddity presented by one immigrant group, the Dukhobors. He liked British Columbia best, where the huge sea mists create an extraordinary environment. PdeF did little art during this period except for some book illustrations for The Iliad. PdeF found it more difficult to integrate in the States. He talks briefly about the New York Studio School and travelling within the US seeing art collections. Interestingly he says that from his perspective from America, that the influence of the Abstract Expressionists seemed to be felt more keenly in Britain than there, where he had met some of the AE's through Doré Ashton. We get diverted into a discussion of the Tate Modern and Bilbao where he feels the environment overwhelms the ability to look seriously at the art. Talking about the Louise Bourgeois commission and the Tate to the end of the item.

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