Francesc Fornells-Pla

 

Barcelona, 1921-30th of March of 1999

 

During the 1940s, Conxa Sisquella’s husband spent his formative years in Paris and Florence. In 1945, Fornells received a grant from the French Institute of Barcelona, which allowed him to travel to Paris (photo 3). It was there where he met Georges Braque. During that time, Fornells was an artist resident in the Spanish Pavilion, together with other Catalan grant holders such as Ignasi Mundó, Carles Nadal and Josep Palau i Fabre. In Paris, he also met the sculptor Joan Rebull, with whom he became friends. Moreover, in 1947, he travelled to Florence with another grant to study at the Scuola Romana of Florence, where he learned about mural painting and the fresco technique. He founded the Salons d’Octubre in Barcelona in 1948, together with Ángel López-Obrero, Jordi Mercadé, Francesc Boadella, and with the support of the veteran artist Josep Maria de Sucre, among others. Josep Maria d’Imbert also joined the project some time later. The first Saló d’Octubre took place in Galeries Laietanes.

 

In 1949, Fornells had his first individual exhibition, which was on experimental art and was held in the art gallery El jardín in Barcelona, organised by the critic Àngel Marsà. His second exhibition was in 1954 in Sala Vayreda. From that moment onwards, he held different individual and collective exhibitions that culminated in an individual exhibition in 1967 in Saló del Tinell in Barcelona. In 1969, he received a grant to complete his studies in the USA. This trip with his wife to the States allowed him to become acquainted with American abstract expressionism, developing a special interest in the figure and work of Mark Rothko. It was also during his stay in Boston that he met Josep Lluís Sert, with whom he established a good friendship.

 

As a muralist, Fornells created works for the Montserrat Monastery, but it was his works as a stained-glass artist which won him international acclaim, producing artworks for the New York Dominicans, the Official College of Doctors of Barcelona, the F.C. Barcelona ice skating rink, the Picornell swimming pools in Barcelona and the Montserrat Abbey, among others.

 

During the 1980s, he created several mobile works in different parts of Catalonia, mixing the art techniques that he frequently used (sculpture, mobile and stained-glass). At the beginning of the 1990s, he published his memoirs and, in 1993, he created with his wife the Fundació Fornell-Pla i Conxa Sisquella, aiming to disseminate contemporary art.

Conxa Sisquella i Planas

 

Centelles, 4th of December of 1920 - Barcelona, 14th of March of 1996

 

She started her artistic studies in 1945, when she was admitted in the Escola Superior de Belles Arts Sant Jordi and the Conservatori de les Arts del Llibre de Barcelona. She was a relevant artist during the post-war. Throughout her works, she explored the expressive potential of colour, experimenting with elementary forms, symbolic elements and technical resources.

 

Her first achievement was the first prize in the Salón Femenino in Madrid in 1947. She also participated on several occasions in the Salons d'Octubre and the Salons de Maig, which were considered movements of artistic renewal in the country. A trip to the USA with his husband in 1969-1970 served as an inspiration to her artwork, because she became acquainted with abstract expressionism and the work of Jackson Pollock. In the States, she exhibited in the Blue Grass Art Centre Gallery of Philadelphia. She also practised the engraving technique, working in the engraving atelier at the Smithsonian Institution of Washington.

 

In 1977 she received the medal of the XX Salón del Grabado Español Contemporáneo in Madrid. During the next decade, she dedicated her time to the engraving, opening her own atelier, also exploring painting through abstract expressionism.

Simfonia de Colors