Oil on canvas painting of a rooster painted blue against a red background, titled on reverse "Coq", signed at upper right (and I think "Nice" appears below that and the 1954 date), by the noted Spanish artist ANGEL PONCE DE LEON (1925-). The work measures 25 3/4" by 21 3/8" (28 1/2" by 24" framed). On the reverse is a long inscription in the hand of the artist: "A Ben Holtcon/toda amistad y gratitud/Angel Ponce de Leon/Palais Royal Marzo 55". This is not just a painting of a rooster; it is a rooster placed in a confined and yet indefinite space, in a modernist twist, standing on a white table top that almost resembles a piano keyboard. The artist, apparently still living in his late 80's, lived in Spain until 1948. He attended the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Madrid. Thereafter followed a period of extensive travel, to South America (Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro, Quito). By 1951 he was living in Cagnes-sur-mer in southern France, spending significant amounts of time in Nice, Menton, Toulouse, and Paris. During this time he worked with Jean Cocteau at Cap-Ferrat and Marbella and with Braque at Saint-Paul-de-Vence. During the early 1960's the artist settled in the United States for a time, in 1963 exhibiting alongside Tapies, Sam Francis, Viera da Silva, and traveling to Cincinnati, Dallas, and Washington, D.C. After 1962, influenced heavily by the French artist Auguste Herbin, he turned towards geometric abstraction. The work of this highly talented artist is quite underrated in the current market. Note the thick application of paint, which has led to alligatoring (uneven drying of the applied paint layers, leading to a type of cracking). This is apparently typical of the artist's style. The frame, of a distressed style, I don't think is especially complementary. A silvery gray wide frame I think would really show this to best advantage.
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