Francois Maréchal began his artistic studies at the Ecole Des Beaux-Arts in Le Mans, then studied painting with Don Jose Manaut Viglietti and Don Julio Moises at the Academia Sari Fernando in Madrid. He also attended the studio of Dimitri Papageorgiu to learn etching and lithographpy. He opened a studio in Aix-en-Provence in 1988. He was a member of Xylon France from 1977 to 1983 and has been a member of the San Fernando royal academt of fine arts in Madrid since 1991.
The work and technique of Francois Maréchal have their roots in the tradition of Durer, Rembrandt and Goya. Against a background of varied iconography, it seems that no technique was unknown to this artist, who practised a figurative style of engraving as a form of testimony. The artist’s testimony pays homage to the past, through his series of animal and natural history engravings, but his art is also consciously contemporary and politically committed.
He lived through the years of Spanish popular engravings in the face of hatred, suffering and torture, as remembered in the Caprices and Disasters of War by Goya and death’s heads by the Mexican artist Jose Guadalupe Posada. Equally at ease with his engravings of female nudes and his erotic ex-libris, this Expressionist dimension prevails throughout his engraved work.
In 1995 he learned calligraphy and Chinese painting with Deanna Gao in Paris, and completed his training with the painter Li Chi Pang in Madrid. The formal approach, using lines and dots of ink, and the themes- essentially abstract landscapes- are indisputably different from this of his engravings. This transition from the ‘steel tool to the bamboo tool’ should be understood as a deeper exploration of Chinese graphic culture, in which the artist had always been interested (notably, he had read the book on the life and work of the Japanese wood engraver Shiko Munakata).
He provided illustrations for Guillaume Apollinaire’s Le Bestiaire (Bestiary) (homage to Pablo Neruda), a book that was exhibited at the Biblioteca Nacional in Madrid in 1984. He has also illustrated Apocalipsi (Apocalypse), 11986; Testamento de Don Quijote (Legacy of Don Quixote), 1982; La Mitologia Asturiana (Asturian Mythology); Sonnets of Jose Maria de Heredia; and Les Seins (Breasts), 1992, over texts by Ramon Gomex de la Serna.
He has taken part in numerous collective exhibitions, including the Biennale d’Art Contemporain Espagnol at the Musee Galliera, Paris, in 1968; Key salons and collective exhibitions for the graphic arts and engraving (Salon del Grabado, Madrid, from 1972, Madrid, in 1997; and at the Galeroa Nela Alberca, Madrid, in 2ooo and 2oo1.
** Correction of our March 2009, feature of Francois Maréchal. Updated bio provided by Francois Maréchal **