François Llopis

Status

Extant

Address

Céret, Occitanie, 66400, fr

Visiting Information

A significant number of Llopis’s works may still be seen around the house and gardens of his property in Céret.

About the Artist/Site

François Llopis was born in 1928 in Céret, a small and charming village in the eastern Pyrenees region of France known as Catalogne du nord (northern Catalonia) not far from the Spanish border. Raised by his maternal grandparents, at age 14 he traveled to Corrèze to work on the Rebeyrotte farm; it was there, during his stay from 1942 to 1946, that he realized his passion for sculpture. As an adult he parlayed this interest into a career as a mason, and was widely known and respected for his skill working the local stones, for his professionalism, and for his generosity: he became known as the mason with golden hands.

From that early age of 14, he began sculpting and never stopped, using both wood and stone, carving with simple hand tools such as chisels and files. At age 17, he returned to Céret, where he worked in a cork factory as he developed his masonry business. He married and had  three daughters, and in 1962 he built his own home on the Rue du Ventous in Céret. In every free moment he sculpted, and he took advantage of the spaces on the property to create and install a multitude of works. The rawness and naiveté of his figures led some to compare them to ancient works of the Cyclades, Egypt, or Rome, but it is unlikely that he was influenced by those forms; instead, his models were what he saw within the wood that he pulled away from the river banks or the stones he gathered from the mountains – stones that included both granite and marble.

He surrounded the gardens with stone walls that he built himself, topped with attached finials or studded with distinct artworks, the vertical balustrades transformed into a chain of humorous and colorful figures. Within the courtyard he also installed dozens of sculptures. Concentrating on the human figure, many of his works in stone are subdued and quiet in demeanor, with clean lines and stylized forms, seemingly attached to the block from which they were carved. Others – particularly the works in wood – are more flamboyant, and include polychrome treatments in vivid colors. Many of these, too, hold to the form of the original trunk, featuring elongated torsos and abstracted features, but there are also works to which he added separate components to provide greater identity to his emblematic characters. He also created works in trencadís mosaic and bas-relief cement plaques (some of which were painted in bright colors), and, in addition, painted landscapes and genre scenes of the region in which he lived.

A significant number of Llopis’s works may still be seen around the house and gardens of his property in Céret.

~Jo Farb Hernández

 

Map & Site Information


Céret, Occitanie, 66400 fr
Latitude/Longitude: 42.485952 / 2.748826

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