Timisoara Romania – 1915 -2004
From the 1950’s through the 1980’s, Mr. Francois’ work appeared frequently in leading French satiric magazines and in popular American publications, including The New Yorker, Holiday, Vogue, and Sports Illustrated, as well as in children’s and adults’ illustrated books, and in advertising posters.
In the ’50s and ’60s, romantic realism and literalism were the reigning conventions for illustration in the United Stat4es. But in Europe, many illustrators had earlier embraced abstract and impressionist art. Mr. Francois’ crude but sensual balck an dwhite brush drawings and starkly colored paintings, employing surreal and ironic juxtapositions, introduced serious whimsy to conservative commercial art. He also injected a comedic eroticism that broke various taboos.
Born Andre Frankas in 1915 in Timisoara, Romania, he studied in Budapest, Hungary. While there he became intrested in mass-produced graphic art and was influenced by the leading French Art Deco poster artist of the day, A.M. Cassandre, whose work was ubiquitous. In 1934 he moved to Paris and was invited to study with Cassandre at the art school that Cassandre had just opened. In 1939 he became a French citizen and changed his name to Mr. Francois. The same year, he married a young Englishwoman, Margaret Edmunds. They were married for 66 years. They also had a daughter, Catherine, and a son, Pierre.