Frasconi, Antonio

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Frasconi, Antonio


Born April 28, 1919, in Buenos Aires, Argentina; immigrated to United States, 1945; son of Franco (a chef) and Armida (a restaurateur; maiden name, Carbonai) Frasconi; married Leona Pierce (an artist), July 18, 1951; children: Pablo, Miguel. Education: Attended Circulo de Bellas Artes (Montevideo, Uruguay); studied at Art Students League, New York, NY, 1945-46; studied mural painting at New School for Social Research (now New School University), 1947-48.


Home—26 Dock Rd., South Norwalk, CT 06854. Office—Visual Arts Dept., State University of New York at Purchase, Purchase, NY 10577. Agent—Terry Dintenfass, Inc. Gallery, 50 West 57th St., New York, NY 10019; Weyhe Gallery, 794 Lexington Ave., New York, NY 10021; and Jane Haslem Gallery, 406 Seventh St. NW, Washington, DC 20004.


Graphic artist and illustrator. Marcha and La Linea Maginot (weeklies), Montevideo, Uruguay, political cartoonist, 1940; New School for Social Research, New York, NY, member of art faculty, 1951-57; State University of New York, College at Purchase, adjunct associate professor, 1973-77, associate professor, 1977-79, professor of visual arts, beginning 1979. Instructor at Vassar College, Brooklyn Museum, California State College at Hayward, University of California at Berkeley, and Carnegie-Mellon University; artist-in-residence, Yaddo, 1954, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, 1964, Dartmouth College, 1984, and Arizona State University, 1985; lecturer. Member of Mayor's Committee for Art in Public Places, Norwalk, CT, 1978, and of Arts Review Committee, Westchester County, NY, 1980. Exhibitions: Exhibitor at galleries, museums, and universities throughout the world, including Whitney Museum of American Art; Museum of Modern Art; Weyhe Gallery, New York, NY; Brooklyn Museum of Arts and Sciences; San Francisco Museum of Art; Baltimore Museum of Art; Cleveland Museum of Art; Los Angeles County Museum; Detroit Institute of Arts; Smithsonian Institute; Minneapolis Institute of Arts; Atlanta Art Institute; Carnegie College of Fine Arts; Penelope Galeria d'Arte, Rome; Museo de Arte Moderno, Cali, Colombia; Museum of Art, Fribourg, Switzerland; American Institute of Graphic Arts; National Academy of Design, New York; National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; Pratt Graphic Center, NY; Taipei Museum of Fine Arts, Taiwan, China; Parson's School Art Gallery; and Museum of Contemporary Arts. Traveling exhibit "The Books of Antonio Frasconi" toured U.S. museums and college campuses, 1992-93. "Let America Be America Again," Purchase College, Purchase, NY, 2000. Work housed in permanent collections at Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge; Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris, France; Library of Congress, Washington, DC; Museum of Modern Art; Metropolitan Museum of Art; Art Institute of Chicago; San Diego Museum of Art; Brooklyn Museum; St. Louis Museum; Casa Americas, Havana, Cuba; Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Montevideo, Uruguay; Museo Municipal Juan M. Blanes, Montevideo; Newark Museum; Philadelphia Museum of Art; Honolulu Academy of Arts; Akron Art Institute, OH; University of Notre Dame; Joslyn Art Museum, Omaha, NE; Graphic Arts Collection, Princeton University; Seattle Art Museum; University of Puerto Rico; Cincinnati Art Museum; J. B. Speed Art Museum, Louisville, KY; New York Public Library; Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, CT; Baltimore Museum of Art; Arts Council of Great Britain, London; National Portrait Gallery, Washington, DC; and Grunwald Center for the Graphic Arts, University of California, Los Angeles.

Awards, Honors

Fifty Best Books of the Year citations, American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA), 1955, for Twelve Fables of Aesop, 1958, for Birds from My Homeland, 1959, for The Face of Edgar Allan Poe, 1964, for Known Fables, and 1965, for The Cantilever Rainbow; Best Illustrated Books of the Year citations, New York Times, 1955, for See and Say, 1958, for The House That Jack Built, 1961, for The Snow and the Sun, and 1985, for Monkey Puzzle and Other Poems; AIGA Children's Books citations, 1958-60, for The House That Jack Built, and 1970, for Unstill Life and Overhead the Sun; Caldecott honor book citation, 1959, for The House That Jack Built; AIGA Children's Book Show inclusion, 1973-74, for Crickets and Frogs, and 1985, for Monkey Puzzle and Other Poems; Child Study Association's Children's Books of the Year citation, 1974, for The Elephant and His Secret; American Library Association Notable Book citations, for See and Say, The House That Jack Built, The Snow and the Sun/La nieve y el sol, and Overhead the Sun; Horn Book honor list citation, for The Snow and the Sun/La nieve y el sol. Purchase prizes, Brooklyn Museum, 1946, University of Nebraska, 1951, and American Academy/Institute of Arts and Letters, 1986; Philadelphia Print Club Prize, 1951; Guggenheim inter-American fellowship in graphic arts, 1952; Erickson Award, Society of American Graphic Artists, 1952; Yaddo scholarship, 1952; Joseph Pennell Memorial Medal, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, 1953; National Institute of Arts and Letters grant, 1954; first prize for book illustration, Limited Editions Club/Society of American Graphic Artists, 1956; grand prix, Venice Film Festival, 1960, for The Neighboring Shore; Tamarind lithography workshop grant, 1962; winner of competition to design postage stamp honoring National Academy of Science, 1963; Joseph H. Hirshorn Foundation Prize, Society of American Graphic Artists, 1963; W. H. Walker Prize, Philadelphia Print Club, 1964; Prix du President du Comite; National de la Region de la Moravie designation, Biennale d'Art Graphique (Brno, Czechoslovakia), 1966; Salon Nacional de Bellas Artes prize (Montevideo), 1967; Gran Premio, Exposition de la Habana, Cuba, 1968; named National Academician, National Academy of Design, 1969; Connecticut Commission on the Arts grant, 1974; International Biennial of Arts prize (Tokyo, Japan), 1975; Xerox Corporation grant, 1978, for color copier experimentation; Cannon Prize, National Academy of Design, 1979; Ralph Fabri Prize, National Academy of Design, 1983; Chancellor's Award, State University of New York, 1983, for excellence in teaching; Bienal de la Habana/Comision Nacional Cubana de la UNESCO award, 1984; Meissner Prize, National Academy of Design, 1985; named Distinguished Teaching Professor, State University of New York, Purchase, 1986.



See and Say: A Picture Book in Four Languages, Harcourt (New York, NY), 1955.

The House That Jack Built: A Picture Book in Two Languages, Harcourt (New York, NY), 1958.

The Snow and the Sun/La nieve y el sol: A South American Folk Rhyme in Two Languages, Harcourt (New York, NY), 1961.

A Sunday in Monterey, Harcourt (New York, NY), 1964.

See Again, Say Again: A Picture Book in Four Languages, Harcourt (New York, NY), 1964.

Kaleidoscope in Woodcuts, Harcourt (New York, NY), 1968.

(Editor) Walt Whitman, Overhead the Sun: Lines from Walt Whitman, Farrar, Straus (New York, NY), 1969.

(Editor) Herman Melville, On the Slain Collegians: Selections from Poems, Farrar, Straus (New York, NY), 1971.

Antonio Frasconi's World, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1974.

Frasconi against the Grain: The Woodcuts of Antonio Frasconi, introduction by Nat Hentoff, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1974.


Glenway Wescott, reteller, Twelve Fables of Aesop, Museum of Modern Art (New York, NY), 1954, revised edition, 1964.

Jorge Luis Borges, Dreamtigers, University of Texas Press (Austin, TX), 1964.

Ruth Krauss, The Cantilever Rainbow, Pantheon (New York, NY), 1965.

Pablo Neruda, Bestiary/Bestiario (verse), translated by Elsa Neuberger, Harcourt (New York, NY), 1965.

Louis Untermeyer, editor, Love Lyrics, Odyssey Press (New York, NY), 1965.

Mario Benedetti, editor, Unstill Life: An Introduction to the Spanish Poetry of Latin America, Harcourt (New York, NY), 1969.

Isaac Bashevis Singer, Elijah the Slave: A Hebrew Legend Retold, Farrar, Straus (New York, NY), 1970.

Gabriela Mistral, Selected Poems of Gabriela Mistral, Johns Hopkins University Press (Baltimore, MD), 1970.

Gabriela Mistral, Crickets and Frogs: A Fable in Spanish and English, translated by Doris Dana, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1972.

Gabriela Mistral, The Elephant and His Secret, translated by Doris Dana, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1974.

Myra Cohn Livingston, editor, One Little Room, an Everywhere: Poems of Love, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1975.

Penelope Farmer, compiler, Beginnings: Creation Myths of the World, Chatto and Windus (London, England), 1978, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1979.

Norma Faber, How the Left-behind Beasts Built Ararat, Walker (New York, NY), 1978.

Jan Wahl, The Little Blind Goat, Stemmer House (Owing Mills, MD), 1981.

Mercè Rodereda, The Salamander, Red Ozier Press (Port of New York, NY), 1982.

Mercè Rodereda, Two Tales, translated from the Catalan by David Rosenthal, Red Ozier Press (Port of New York, NY), 1983.

Isaac Bashevis Singer, Yentl the Yeshiva Boy, translated by Marion Magid and Elizabeth Pollet, Farrar, Straus (New York, NY), 1983.

Myra Cohn Livingston, Monkey Puzzle and Other Poems, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1984.

Octavio Paz, Cuatro chopos = The Four Poplars, translated by Elliot Weinberger, SUNY Center for Edition Works (Purchase, NY), 1985.

Muso Soseki, Sun at Midnight: 23 Poems, translated from Japanese by W. S. Merwin, Nadja (New York, NY), 1986.

Carlos Oquendo de Amat, Five Meters of Poems, Turkey Press, 1986.

Myra Cohn Livingston, If the Owl Calls Again: A Collection of Owl Poems, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1990.

Valerie Worth, At Christmastime (poetry), Harper-Collins (New York, NY), 1992.

Juan Ramón Jiménez, Platero y yo = Platero and I, adapted and translated by Myra Cohn Livingston and Joseph F. Dominguez, Clarion (New York, NY), 1994.

Martha Robinson, The Zoo at Night, Margaret K. McElderry (New York, NY), 1995.

Barbara Wersba, The Wings of Courage, Braziller (New York, NY), 1998.


Aesop, Some Well-known Fables, privately printed, 1950.

A Book of Vegetable Plants, privately printed, 1951.

Foothill Dairy, privately printed, 1951-52.

The World upside Down, privately printed, 1952.

The Fulton Fish Market, privately printed, 1953.

Federico García Lorca, Dos Poemas de Federico García Lorca: Romance de la luna, luna; Romance de la guardia civil española, privately printed, 1953.

Outdoors, privately printed, 1953.

Plants, Ants, and Other Insects, privately printed, 1953.

Santa Barbara, privately printed, 1953.

The Acrobats, privately printed, 1954.

El camino real, privately printed, 1954.

Lettuce Country, privately printed, 1954.

Printing with Dough, privately printed, 1954.

A Book of Many Suns, privately printed, 1955.

Fire Island Dunes, privately printed, 1955.

High Tide, privately printed, 1955.

Abraham Lincoln, The Fundamental Creed of Abraham Lincoln: A Selection from His Writings and Speeches, edited by Earl Schenk Miers, privately printed, 1956.

An Old Czech Carol, Murray Printers, 1956.

Woodcuts 1957, Spiral Press (New York, NY), 1957, published as Woodcuts: With Comments by Antonio Frasconi, Weyhe Gallery (New York, NY), 1957.

Homage to Thelonious Monk, privately printed, 1958.

Birds from My Homeland: Ten Hand-Colored Woodcuts with Notes from W. H. Hudson's "Birds of La Plata," Roodenko, 1958.

A Calendar for 1960, privately printed, 1959.

The Face of Edgar Allan Poe: With a Note on Poe by Charles Baudelaire, Roodenko, 1959.

Walt Whitman, A Whitman Portrait, Spiral Press (New York, NY), 1960.

Six Spanish Nursery Rhymes, privately printed, 1960.

American Wild Flowers, privately printed, 1961.

Berthold Brecht, Das Lied vom Sa-mann, Spiral Press (New York, NY), 1961.

Oda a Lorca, privately printed, 1962.

Known Fables, Spiral Press (New York, NY), 1964.

Six South American Folk Rhymes about Love: With Woodcuts, Spiral Press (New York, NY), 1964.

An Appointment Calendar for 1966, Baltimore Museum of Art (Baltimore, MD), 1965.

Henry David Thoreau, A Vision of Thoreau, Spiral Press (New York, NY), 1965.

Federico García Lorca, Llanto por Ignacio Sanches Mejias, privately printed, 1967.

The Portrait, privately printed, 1967.

Quattro facciate, privately printed, 1967.

Viet Nam!, privately printed, 1967.

Benedetti, selector, 19 Poems de Hispano America, privately printed, 1969.

Vedute di Venezia, Spiral Press (New York, NY), 1969.

Fourteen Americans, privately printed, 1974.

Venice Remembered, privately printed, 1974.

A View of Tuscany, privately printed, 1974.

Cantos a García Lorca, privately printed, 1974-1975.

The Seasons on the Sound, privately printed, 1974-1975.

The Sound, privately printed, 1974-1975.

Frasconi's Composite Side Show, privately printed, 1978.

Frasconi's Night Creatures, privately printed, 1978.

The Tides at Village Creek, privately printed, 1979.

Monet Gardens, Giverny, privately printed, 1980.

The USA from the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, California to the George Washington Bridge, New York, Every Six Miles, privately printed, 1982.

Ten Views of Rome, privately printed, 1983.

Theodore Low de Vinne, The First Editor: Aldus Pius Manutius, privately printed, 1983.

Los desaparecidos, privately printed, 1984.

Italo Calvino, Prima che tu dica "Pronto," translated by William Weaver, Plain Wrapper Press (Cottondale, AL), 1985.

Travels through Tuscany, privately printed, 1985.

Views of Venice by Day and Night, privately printed, 1986.

Ralph Waldo Emerson, Friendship: An Emerson Homage in Remembrance of Joseph Blumenthal, Kelly-Winterton Press (New York, NY), 1993.


The Neighboring Shore (film), Sextant, 1960.

The Woodcuts of Antonio Frasconi (film), American Federation of Arts, 1985.

Contributor of illustrations to New Republic and Fortune.

Frasconi's papers are housed at the de Grummond Children's Literature Collection, University of Southern Mississippi.


See and Say was adapted as a sound filmstrip, Weston Woods, 1964; Los desaparecidos was adapted for film, Darino Films, 1989. Crickets and Frogs was published in a Braille format.


"We live in an age where words are really more important than what you do with images," artist Antonio Frasconi said to Robert Berlind in an interview for Art Journal. "If you deal with images, it's better if you explain it than just show it.... What I'm doing now, technically, as an extension of my head—arms and fingers and tools—is exactly what I have been doing since I started fifty years ago." Called a "master of graphic art, especially woodcut," by Bill Zimmer in the New York Times, and a "champion of the common man, enemy of elitism, printmaker, and teacher" by Americas essayist Caleb Bach, Argentina-born Frasconi has long been recognized as one of the foremost woodcut artists living and working in the United States. Frasconi's work, which is well represented in the nation's museums and galleries, has also found a wide audience through book and magazine illustrations, book-cover art, and even Christmas cards. Using simple tools and an ancient technique, Frasconi has created a diverse body of work that addresses politics, American and European literature, American scenes, and lighthearted pictures for children. "If artists want to be a part of society, they have to be aware of society," Frasconi explained to Jane Sterrett in Print Review. "They should not only paint for it, they should think about it. One reason the graphic-art media have been so influential is that they can reach more people. The role of art is not just to end up on a museum wall. How is it possible to ask people who work all day long to go to a museum and see masterpieces? It's a big demand. An artist should be aware that there are people out there."

A Multicultural Background

Frasconi's own social awareness stems from his multicultural background and travels. The son of Italian parents who immigrated to South America during World War I, he was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1919. Within weeks of his birth the family moved on to Uruguay. Frasconi grew up in Montevideo, where his mother managed a restaurant and took in work as a seamstress in order to support Antonio and his two sisters while his father remained employed only intermittently. Speaking heavily accented Spanish in public and Italian at home, Frasconi felt like an outsider in his new home. "I was what I guess Americans would call a loner," the artist remembered in his introduction to Frasconi against the Grain: The Woodcuts of Antonio Frasconi. His refuge became art; he loved to draw and to decorate his homework, and some of his teachers encouraged him to develop his talent.

His mother, on the other hand, discouraged him from pursuing a career as an artist because "she felt that if I had the divine gift, I wouldn't be where I was—part of a working-class family that was in the restaurant business," he noted in Frasconi against the Grain. Speaking with Horn Book's Carol Goldenberg, Frasconi further explained, "My mother was too busy taking care of and feeding three young children to worry about food for the brain. I remember when I was young I tried to make a portrait of her. . . . I always remember this: she didn't get angry, but she said you have to be born with a gift for being an artist. I told her that's probably true, but in the end you just have to do what you really feel like doing."

Despite such discouragement, Frasconi continued to draw, paint, and read. He also began taking art lessons at night, and studied at the Circulo de Bellas Artes for almost a year before dropping out. At age twelve he became a printer's apprentice, an experience he still recalls with pleasure. "I was truly happy working [in the printing shop]," he wrote in the Something about the Author Autobiography Series (SAAS). "It was my first contact with printers' ink, and I loved it." The young apprentice was early on attracted to the art of book illustration, especially to the work of Gustave Doré and Doré's artwork for writers such as Miguel Cervantes and Dante. "This was what I wanted to do," Frasconi told Goldenberg, "to illustrate books, to find the perfect solutions for words and images."

As a teenager Frasconi—inspired by the work of George Grosz, Goya, and others—also began to publish anti-fascist cartoons and caricatures of people like Italian dictator Francisco Franco and German chancellor Adolph Hitler in some of Uruguay's satirical newspapers. "There was a great deal of social awareness in Uruguay when I was growing up," he recalled in Frasconi against the Grain. "We had a good popular press, and we read about everything that was going on in the world. The Spanish Civil War, for instance, affected us the way the Vietnam War affected many Americans during the 1960s. You had to take a position. If you were an artist you still had to take a position." Never a painter, he also began to concentrate on woodcuts as his primary artistic medium, influenced by the German expressionists. "I was always attracted to these startling shapes of white lines on black," Frasconi told Goldenberg. "And you don't really need anything much, just a knife and a piece of wood."

In the early 1940s the French government sent a selection of art works to Latin America for an extended exhibition. For the first time Frasconi got a chance to see paintings by Cezanne, Van Gogh, Matisse, and Picasso. He was particularly moved by the woodcuts of Paul Gauguin, since he was already experimenting with woodcuts himself. He was also in the process of becoming seduced by U.S. culture; as he told interviewer Goldenberg: "I became familiar with the United States by listening to jazz on the radio and by reading nineteenth-and twentieth-century writers such as [Theodore] Dreiser and [Walt] Whitman, [Henry David ] Thoreau and Sinclair Lewis, Richard Wright, and [John] Dos Passos." This introduction to U.S. culture was "liberating" to the young Frasconi: "Our high school was based in more European culture—all of our records were Italian operas, which I hated. Jazz meant freedom, a cultural revolution to me." In 1943 the young artist applied for a scholarship to the Art Students' League in New York City, and was astounded—but supremely happy—when he was accepted. He moved to the United States in 1945.

Career Takes Off

While living in New York, Frasconi studied with Japanese artist Yasuo Kuniyoshi at the Art Students' League, where he met fellow artist Leona Pierce, whom he would marry in 1951. First concentrating on painting, he gradually returned to the woodcut and the lithograph as his primary media. The couple lived in California during 1948, and Frasconi took odd jobs while continuing to work on his prints. His first solo exhibits were held at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art in 1948 and the Brooklyn Museum of Art in 1949. A trip to Mexico in 1949 scored an introduction to noted muralist Diego Rivera and a showing of Frasconi's work in Mexico City. By the mid-1950s his work was selling well at several New York galleries, major museums were mounting exhibits of his prints, and he had achieved success as a graphic artist with several magazine covers and book designs to his credit.

In the mid-1950s Frasconi's young son Pablo gave him the idea for what would become his first published book for children, See and Say: A Picture Book in Four Languages. By this time Frasconi was already illustrating books as a sideline, but he could not find the kind of book he wanted to use with his own child. "I was looking not for a book to teach a child a foreign language, but one that would show that there are different ways to say the same thing, that there is more than one nation in our world, that there are many other countries where people speak different languages," Frasconi explained in his essay for SAAS. When he failed to find such a book, he decided to create his own; "See and Say was what I was looking for." Margaret K. McElderry, who picked that book for publication, later recalled to Leonard S. Marcus in a Horn Book interview that See and Say "showed pictures of objects that would be familiar to a child, with the word for each object given in four languages. Each language," McElderry continued, "was printed in a different color; it was a job to work out the layout."

One of several bilingual books Frasconi has contributed to over the years, See and Say was well received by critics and educators even before the advancement of "multicultural" books for children. Filling a void, it remained in print decades after its first publication. Frasconi was pleased by the book's reception, noting in SAAS his excitement that "my work could, in some ways, introduce a young mind to an understanding of our vast cultures." Other bilingual books by Frasconi include See Again, Say Again, The House That Jack Built, and Bestiary/Bestiario, the text of the last penned by Chilean Nobel laureate Pablo Neruda. McElderry "was very encouraging and enthusiastic," Frasconi recalled to Goldenberg.

While his own children were young, Frasconi continued to concentrate much of his artistic energy on illustrating of children's books. Working with Valerie Worth, he supplied illustrations to the verses of At Christmastime, poems that celebrate the yuletide season. Ann A. Flowers, writing in Horn Book, remarked that At Christmastime is "permeated with the strong graphic shapes that are characteristic of Frasconi's work." For Jorge Hernandez, reviewing the same title in Americas, Frasconi "contributes a South American touch to these images of Christmas." Hernandez further remarked, "Frasconi's imagination and technical mastery open up to a new generation a whole world of possibilities and color."

A traditional Hebrew legend is retold by Isaac Bashevis Singer in Elijah the Slave. Frasconi's illustrations for this book are "jewel-like," according to a reviewer for the Washington Post Book World. Myra Cohn Livingston's verses in Monkey Puzzle and Other Poems provided another venue for Frasconi's illustrations. Janice M. Del Negro, writing in School Library Journal, felt that Frasconi's woodcuts serve as a "powerful complement" to Livingston's poems, and "help to create a dynamic interaction between poet and illustrator." More bilingual work appears in Platero y yo, a simple story told in both Spanish and English. According to Booklist contributor Hazel Rochman, Frasconi's colored woodcuts for this volume "are bold and beautiful, expressing the energy and gentleness of the writing." Working with poet Martha Robinson, Frasconi also contributed illustrations for the children's book The Zoo at Night. Michael Cart, reviewing this title in the Los Angeles Times Book Review, felt that Frasconi's woodcuts "are not only marvels of execution but as richly colored and luscious-looking as ripe tropical fruit."

Works Reproduced in Many Media

Frasconi has also made a mark as an illustrator of limited-edition works for an adult audience. Working with Spiral Press, he has illustrated volumes on nineteenth-century American writers Walt Whitman, Henry David Thoreau, Edgar Allan Poe, and Ralph Waldo Emerson. Asked by his former country, Uruguay, to represent them at the 1968 Venice Biennale, he put together a series of his prints later published as Kaleidoscope in Woodcuts. While in Venice, he created a visual study of that city, Views of Venice. Writing of that book, Bach noted, "With subtlety, [Frasconi's] sweeping panoramas captured the rise and fall of tides, the changing mood of the light, the man-made structures dwarfed by water and sky." Frasconi celebrates another famous Italian region in A View of Tuscany, and does much the same for the shoreline of Connecticut, where he makes his home, in The Seasons of Sound. Frasconi's work adorns the halls of prestigious museums in America and abroad, but it is also found on book dust wrappers, on record album covers, and even—in one case—on a postage stamp that was reprinted 120 million times. "I love to do record covers and book covers—anything that can be viewed by a large audience," Frasconi explained to Sterrett in Print Review. "Is it art? I really don't care. It's up to the viewer to judge. Judging is not my job."

During his long career Frasconi has addressed a wide variety of themes, from the joyous to the terrible, and some of his best-known pieces offer poignant commentary on economic and social inequities and political events in the United States and in the artist's native South America. He has never left behind the political content of his work. Outraged by the war in Vietnam, he created powerful antiwar images in Viet Nam! Other volumes, such as Attica and George Jackson, deal with other social-justice issues. "Frasconi's message is not exclusively pessimistic," noted Bach in Americas, "but more a wake-up call, a nudge to listen to that goodness he believes still dwells within us all. He has said his work 'celebrated the joy of living,' and in that sense its message contains a measure of optimism." However, racism, materialism, the plight of the South American desaparecidos or "disappeared," and the unjust politics of many countries around the world continued to figure prominently in his images. In addition to his other accomplishments, Frasconi has also been a well-respected educator, working with students interested in printmaking. "I don't really try to make art," Frasconi maintained in his interview for Print Review. "I try to communicate something that bothers me. It may not interest you, but I don't care—I still have to tell you. If you want to understand me and know me, just look at my work."

If you enjoy the works of Antonio Frasconi

If you enjoy the works of Antonio Frasconi, you might want to check out the following books:

George Grosz, The Berlin of George Grosz: Drawings, Watercolors, and Prints, 1912-1930, 1997.

Alfonso E. Perez Sanchez, Goya: The Complete Etchings and Lithographs, 1995.

Shane Weller, German Expressionist Woodcuts, 1994.

Biographical and Critical Sources


Frasconi, Antonio, Frasconi against the Grain: The Woodcuts of Antonio Frasconi, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1974.

The Illustrator's Notebook, Horn Book (Boston, MA), 1978.

Klemin, Diana, The Illustrated Book: Its Art and Craft, C. N. Potter (New York, NY), 1970.

Something about the Author Autobiography Series, Volume 11, Gale (Detroit, MI), 1991.


Americas, May-June, 1994, Caleb Bach, "Going against the Grain," pp. 38-44; November-December, 1994, Jorge Hernandez, "In the Language of Children," p. 60.

Art Journal, spring, 1994, Robert Berlind, "Antonio Frasconi," pp. 50-52.

ARTnews, December, 1988, Ruth Bass, "Antonio Frasconi," p. 158.

Booklist, November 15, 1992, Kathryn Broderick, review of At Christmastime, pp. 603-604; June 1, 1994, Hazel Rochman, review of Platero y yo, p. 1812.

Horn Book, January-February, 1993, Ann A. Flowers, review of At Christmastime, pp. 95-96; January-February, 1994, Leonard S. Marcus, "An Interview with Margaret K. McElderry—Part II," pp. 34-45; November-December, 1994, Carol Goldenberg, interview with Frasconi, pp. 693-701.

Life, October 18, 1954.

Los Angeles Times Book Review, June 4, 1995, Michael Cart, review of The Zoo at Night, p. 8.

Newsweek, March 17, 1952; April 5, 1954.

New York Times, December 12, 1999, Bill Zimmer, "A Search for Identity, Be It Uneven," p. CN14.

Print Review, numbers 16-17, 1982, Jane Sterrett, interview with Frasconi.

Publishers Weekly, January 1, 1982, review of The Little Blind Goat, p. 51; October 19, 1992, review of At Christmastime, p. 75; April 10, 1995, review of The Zoo at Night, p. 62.

School Library Journal, May, 1985, Janice M. Del Negro, review of Monkey Puzzle and Other Poems, p. 91; January, 1991, Kay E. Vandergrift, review of If the Owl Calls Again, p. 102; July, 1995, Joy Fleishhacker, review of The Zoo at Night, p. 68.

Time, June 15, 1953; December 20, 1963.

Washington Post Book World, October 9, 1988, review of Elijah the Slave, p. 12.

ONLINE, (December 20, 2003), "Antonio Frasconi."*