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Antonio Frasconi (1919–2013)

Woodcut master Antonio Frasconi has passed away at the age of ninety-three, reports Douglas Martin of the New York Times. The Uruguayan artist, who moved to the United States in 1945 and was widely hailed as the best woodcut practitioner of his generation, has work included in collections at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the New York Public Library, the National Gallery of Art, and the Smithsonian. In 1968, he represented Uruguay at the Venice Biennale. Frasconi detested art that focused on aesthetics over social problems; most of his work dealt explicitly with war, racism, and poverty. Martin notes that the artist “devoted a decade to completing a series of woodcut portraits of people who were tortured and killed under a rightist military dictatorship in Uruguay.” Said Frasconi in a 1994 interview: “A sort of anger builds in you, so you try to spill it back in your work.” On his craft, he once 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.”

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