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 Alfred Gaspart  (1900 - 1993)

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Lived/Active: France/Argentina      Known for: landscape, portrait and cityscape painting

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Alfred Gaspart was born in St-Nicolas-de-los Arrayos, Argentina on August 3rd, 1900.  His father was French Basque and his mother Argentinean.  The family moved to France in 1903.

Gaspart studied art at the Germain Pilon and Atelier Fernand Cormon schools.  Working in both painting and photography he settled in the Montparnasse section of Paris.  Using Paris as a base he traveled extensively throughout the Mediterranean, drawing and painting as he traveled.  Gaspart maintained a steady correspondence with his sister Paula, who was seven years his elder and she appears in many of his works.  His close associates included Andre Derain, Marie Laurencin, Andre Salmon, Pierre Albert-Birot and the poet Jean Follain.

Gaspart’s work was representational and his paintings and photographs focused on the landscape, portraits, cityscapes and still lives.  From September of 1935 through 1936 he spent time in Beaune, Burgundy chronicling the wine making of the region.  A book of photographs from this time, Alfred Gaspart: One Year in the Vineyard, Photographs 1936; Jean-Michel Place, 2006 is accompanied by a series of letters to his sister about the experience: the weather, fears of bad harvests, the care of the vineyards and the production of the wine.

Then came the Spanish Civil War and the outbreak of WWII.  He was captured by the Germans and, together with the painter Antoniucci Volti, was held as a prisoner of war. Gaspart was first imprisoned in Saint-Die in Lorraine and, after two unsuccessful escape attempts, in Stalag VIIA in Moosburg, Bavaria between 1940 and 1944.  In 1944 he was transferred to Benedikbeuren Abbey, a commando camp, where he was liberated in 1945.  He drew over 2000 sketches and portraits of the prisoners and kept a journal, which became the basis of an exhibition in 2005, the 50th anniversary of the liberation of the camps and is published in the book, Alfred Gaspart: Painting in Captivity 1940-1945 Stalag VII A.

After the war he returned to Paris with severe depression.  Ossip Zadkiine loaned him a studio where he spent the rest of his days painting, until his death on March 12, 1993.  The studio is now the Zadkine Museum.

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