In Church his mother would talk about the surrounding art as though it was commissioned by God. If her son was born with The Gift then he would certainly be famous. She encouraged his talent. Famous people didn’t toil in restaurants like she did.
By age twelve, he learned to make prints at a local art school but he soon denounced formal art education. It was impossible for the average student to learn the pertinent questions let alone the proper answers, he thought.
He earned money from political caricature while he maintained a secret admiration for Doré and Goya. An exhibition of Gauguin’s woodcuts changed his perspective. A similar effect was struck by American Jazz. That quintessential style provided the sound track by which he worked under the aesthetic guidance of the modern French master.
Antonio Frasconi was born in Buenos Aires and drawn north by American Culture. The Second World War had ended and much of the earth was in ruin. America, by contrast, seemed vibrant. Her music was alive and her authors received international accolades.
He arrived with a one-year scholarship and by 1946, he had his first show at the Brooklyn Museum. Frasconi eschewed art that dwelt on aesthetics. For him the motif was more important. His work advocated social justice while it denounced racism, poverty and war.
In 1953, Time Magazine referred to him as “America’s foremost practitioner of the ancient art of the woodcut.” Forty years later, he was described as the best.