Antonio Frasconi created this woodcut and offset lithograph entitled "United Auto Worker, 1936-1937" in 1991. It is signed, titled, dated and inscribed “2/10” in pencil. The paper size is 29 ½ x 41 ½” and image size 24 x 27 15/16" (61 x 71 cm). From the 'loose print’ edition of 10. Outside of the Artist’s Book (Portfolio) edition of 15. The Portfolio edition is entitled "The Enduring Struggle, Tom Joad's America" by Antonio Frasconi, introduction by Leon F. Litwack, published in 1991.
ANTONIO RUDOLFO FRASCONI
(1919 – 2013)
Antonio Rudolfo Frasconi was born in 1919 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. His parents had emigrated there from Italy during WWI. Shortly after his birth, his family moved to Montevideo, Uruguay. He dropped out of school at 12 and became a printer’s apprentice. During this time, he made posters deriding Franco and Hitler, which he signed Chico. In 1945 he arrived in New York on a one-year scholarship from the Art Students League. A year later he had an exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum, followed by an exhibition at the Santa Barbara Museum in California. Frasconi was a dual citizen of the United States and Uruguay. For many years he taught at the State University of New York at Purchase. His first marriage to Rene Farmer ended in divorce. His second wife was Leona Pierce, a noted woodcut artist.
“Time Magazine” in 1953 called him America’s foremost practitioner of the ancient art of the woodcut, and forty years later the Art Journal called him the best of his generation. Frasconi felt his art should dwell on social problems not aesthetics, and he chose woodcuts because he wanted his art to be sold at reasonable prices. His prints addressed war, racism, and poverty. After the military dictatorship in Uruguay from 1973 to 1985, he worked on “Los Desaparecidos” or “The Disappeared.” It was a series of woodcuts and monotypes based on the people who were tortured and killed during that period. In an interview in 1994 in the magazine “Americas” Frasconi said: “A sort of anger builds in you, so you try to spill it back in your work.”
During his lifetime, Frasconi published one hundred illustrated books. His subjects included famous poets with their poems and children’s books, as well as images of war and political unrest. In 1968 he represented Uruguay at the “Venice Biennale” exhibiting twenty years of his work. In an interview in 1963 with “Time Magazine” he described how he worked with wood. The artist said: “Sometimes the wood gives you a break and matches your conception of the way it is grained. But often you must surrender to the grain, find the movement of the scene, the mood of the work, in the way the grain runs.”
His work is in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the New York Public Library, the National Gallery of Art, the Smithsonian, as well as many other institutions. He designed a stamp for the National Academy of Sciences centennial in 1963.