This offset lithograph for the New York Metropolitan Opera’s production of Bizet’s Carmen is the third in a portfolio of eight Metropolitan Opera Fine Arts Posters.
Carmen is described by the Met as "Bizet’s searing drama about a free-spirited Gypsy and the soldier determined to win her." In the opera, the Gypsy Carmen is associated with the color red, and bold patches of red appear among the larger blocks of black and blue in the abstract expressionist design of this lithograph. She also typically wears a black lace mantilla, and bits of what appear to be black lace are scattered about the artwork as well. These scraps of lace illustrate Clave's technique of blending collage and painting in his art. The boldly dark colors and the ragged, irregular shapes suggest the intensity of the opera’s story and music.
Spanish artist Antoni Clave (1913-2005), who was commissioned to create this lithograph perhaps in part because Carmen takes place in his native country, was a painter, print maker, sculptor, stage designer and costume designer. One of Spain’s pre-eminent artists of his era, he began his artistic career as a baroque-style painter and eventually adopted an abstract expressionist style, often creating works combining paint with collage. This technique is, as noted above, apparent in this artwork.
Clave’s work was influenced by fellow Spanish artists Pablo Picasso and Joan Miro, and Miro’s influence in particular is evident here.
This original poster was published in 1978 by the Circle Gallery/Met Opera. Clave's signature appears on the lower right area.
Carmen is one of the most popular and frequently performed classical operas. If you love this opera, or if you love collecting opera posters, you will enjoy owning this interesting work by a famous Spanish artist.