Oil on board double-sided painting, one side a sensitive study of a North African dark-skinned boy, the other a bearded old man, 19" by 15 1/2" (22 1/2" by 18 3/4" as framed), signed in three places by the important Spanish-Moroccan artist ANTONIO FUENTES (1905-1995). An entire website is devoted to telling the story of the artist's fascinating life. He is well known in Spain and Morocco, with paintings by his hand appearing with some frequency at auction there. Fuentes was born in Tangier in the early years of the century. As a child he was already drawing on many surfaces. After military service, in 1925 he went to Madrid for art study. Not long thereafter he was in Paris, at the academy La Grande Chaumiere. Fuentes blossomed in the rich artistic environment he found in the famed Montparnasse artist colony, where Kisling and Chaim Soutine became friends. He exhibited with Kisling and Vlaminck. In the 1930's he struck up a friendship with Picasso himself while in Paris and Vallauris in the south of France. After some time in Italy later in that decade, Fuentes returned to Tangier, where for the rest of his life he became more socially and artistically isolated. He became something of the grand old man of Tangier art; the Dictionary of Painters in Tangier 1669-2003 is actually dedicated to him. This painting of a young boy in traditional dress is most impressive and sensitive. The depiction of the crossed forearms suggest a hint of modernity of style. The painting could likely benefit from a light cleaning and re-application of varnish, as well as a more elaborate gold frame perhaps. See the net for much more on Fuentes, a talented painter who could have become much better known were it not for his own modesty in later years when attempts were made to make the artist more well known. As it is, Fuentes is known as "the Picasso of Tangier".
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