De Francia, Peter (15 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

    Describing Expressionism as a term that needs to be used with discretion, he talks about Toledo as an example of a contemporary expressionist, yet who is only distantly related to the original movement. He talks of early Expressionism as one of the few movements that was terminated arbitrarily by war. He describes it as like a prairie fire - forced underground it inevitably re-emerges. He expands on the theme talking about the profound effect it had on Piscator's theatre etc. PdeF continues in a philosophical vein about art and architecture in relation to Léger. He admires the fact that Léger and Van Gogh wrote a lot giving their critics an opportunity to judge their work between the intention and the result. When asked if he had written a manifesto, PdeF said no, he was from the wrong period. PdeF denies a political content for his work suggesting only the Bombing of Sakiet (1958) and one in Sheffield of an African prison as meeting that bill, although he says that he can say more loaded things in his drawings than he is able to achieve in painting. He expands on this, and refers to a Danish publication of his drawings prefaced by a Czechoslovakian artist/poet Holub. He talks of this work being political in a way, but not in an obvious way. He continues to talk about his work in terms of working method, going on to discuss his difficulty with colour. [inaudible re Braque] PdeF very interesting on didacticism of Braque and therefore his lack of empathetic connection. This leads on to a discussion on art and its audience.

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