|This and all chess set pictures below |
reproduced with kind permission of Fonds Stroppolo
To recap a little: Giordano Stroppolo was a Republican anti-fascist who had fought Franco and then sought refuge in France when the dictator's insurrection finally defeated the supporters of the democratically elected Popular Front Government.
|Giordano Giovanni Stroppolo|
From a photograph taken in Paris in 1936.
Reproduced with kind permission of Fonds Stroppolo
The Stroppolo chess set is - as discussed in that earlier post - remarkable not only for the pieces on top, and for what is inscribed on the edge...
...but for what is underneath.
|Prints of Spain: Suffering and Struggle (1937)|
Here is Giordano Stroppollo's chess set image, made in the Gurs camp in 1939 alongside Gumsay's original, published in 1937.
In the main AVENIR is remarkably faithful to Gumsay's ¡PORVENIR! - the arrangement of, and some detail in, the figures for example - suggesting Gumsay's print was in front of Stroppollo as he did his design. But also it is so different in a few other places - the facial profiles, the disposition and detail of the building - suggesting that these parts, anyway, were done from memory.
Significantly, the image chosen by Giordano Stroppolo for the chess set looked forward, with optimism, to the future, and didn't dwell on past miseries of the war which, noted the Comité Regional, gave Gumsay ample material for a stream of anguished tableaux, such as this depiction of aerial bombing on the left below, and the denunciation of the Guernica outrage on the right.
|Gumsay meets Grosz.|
Here is Gumsay "the painter of human depravity" (as the anarchist website quoted below puts it) in his own words (albeit French) - along with a more heroic, and colourful, image (btw the website has more striking posters by other artists).
|Exhibitions are an absurdity. They are the antechamber of the museum, and the museum is the cemetery. Gumsay|
(Find out about Elisée Reclus here)
Fair to say that Giordano Giovanni Stroppolo had risked much as an anti-Franco combatant - and through his modest art in miserable circumstances sought also to exercise "une fonction moraliste concrète" - and to offer hope to his comrades in Gurs.
Notes and Acknowledgments
Thanks again to Giordano Bruno Stropollo for generously sharing the Gumsay material, and apologies to him, and to you, for my mauvais French; and thanks again to Justin (and Mrs H) with their much better grasp of Spanish.