Monday, March 16, 2020

"André François Artist" A Film by Sarah Moon

Above via ComicArtFans.

André François, a cartoonist, illustrator and satirist, passed away in 2005 at the age of 89. His inky style, and bold line lampooned the lives of artists, generals and everyone in between in cartoons he drew for Punch and La Rire and many European publications. He appeared in US outlets like The New Yorker, Holiday, Sports Illustrated. He was a busy childrens book illustrator, and created advertising posters as well, winning a Cesar Award for his poster work. In addition to painting, Mr. François created collages.

Milton Glaser, quoted in the Times: "Along with Saul Steinberg, he was the shining light of world illustration in the 50's. All of us beginning our practice at that time were deeply inspired by him."

A 1949 Punch cartoon.

He was born André Farkas in Romania in 1915. He studied art in Budapest, but moved to Paris in 1934 to study with the French Art Deco poster artist A.M. Cassandre. He attended Cassandre's new school. Five years later, two big events occurred: he changed his name to François and he married an Englishwoman, Margaret Edmunds. They were wed 66 years, and had two children.

He was a Jewish, Leftist artist. He hid from the Germans at a farm in Savoie, and eventually moved to Grisy-les-Plâtres, because it was an inexpensive place to raise a family. He contributed many drawings and cartoons for the leftist newspapers Action and Les Lettres Françaises. He also painted and created collages.

"He seems to capture an idea with a pounce. He throws it to the ground in a frenzy, hacking at it with quick strokes to delineate its likeness. He never waits to pretty it up, smoothing its fur or arranging its limbs with the decency due unto death. His ideas are never mummified in technique or stuffed, or tanned and stretched. They are not fossils of style." - Walt Kelly

From the Times:
"After publication of his anthologies of cartoons, 'The Penguin André François,' originally published in 1952 in England, and 'The Tattooed Sailor and Other Cartoons From France' in 1953, his work became sought after by art directors in the United States. In 1958 'The Half-Naked Knight,' published by Knopf, attracted a growing legion of artist acolytes with his ribald and slyly witty imagery. He was also commissioned to make visual essays for Holiday and Sports Illustrated and covers for The New Yorker.

"In 2002 a devastating fire in Mr. François's studio destroyed nearly all of his work. Despite failing health, his friends say, he was determined to leave more tangible examples of his legacy than those reproduced in books, and in his last years set about trying to produce a body of new work."

Sarah Moon created this 2004 documentary "André François Artist," which runs about a half hour.



Norman Hotz, my longtime editor at Reader's Digest sent an email. Before he was with the Digest, he worked as editor for Travel & Leisure magazine. Here's his note, along with a previously unseen André François piece. Thanks for sharing this, Norman!

"Thanks for posting this Mike. I was fortunate enough to collaborate on a few projects with him back in the mid-seventies. The attached image is an unpublished piece, which I figured his fans would enjoy seeing. It was done for a Travel & Leisure Travel Europe special issue. I would have to go to his agent John Locke's place at a prearranged time to make the phone call. No internet, no e-mail back then. John was also a great help with the language."

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