It is this desire to smile as much as a bittersweet feeling that Antonio Seguí leaves today in our hearts. When I heard the news of his death, it was first of all the sadness that I felt, to know that I will no longer see this great man and formidable artist whose works have always accompanied my career as a gallery owner. I also think back to the happiness I had to see him just a few weeks ago before he left for Argentina with the same joy of living that has characterized him for more than thirty years that we have been working together. Despite a certain nostalgia, it is with all the more pride that I realize how lucky I was to have been able to share with him the launch of the new edition of HOMME PRESSÉ (the busy man) from the collection Art For All. With great tenderness, I remember the future collaborative projects that we discussed together that day. I know he would have liked us to remember this image of a sparkling and dynamic man, an eternal artist with a great thirst for creation.
Born in Argentina in Villa Allende, in the province of Córdoba, in 1934, Antonio Seguí was thus a deeply jovial man, endowed with great culture and a passion for art in all its forms, from pre-Columbian art to contemporary art. He was also a travel enthusiast. He was only 17 when he first traveled to Europe to attend training at the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando (Madrid) and at L’Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris as a free auditor.
After returning to Latin America, a few years in Argentina and then in Mexico, he finally settled in France in 1963 with his first wife, the Argentinian dancer Graciela Martínez, who had obtained a scholarship from the French government. Segui then enjoyed great success at the III Paris Biennale and became the most Parisian of Argentines. His studio in Arcueil, where he organized evenings that brought together the Argentine artistic community present in France, then became the place of obligatory passage for many Argentine painters and artists passing through Paris, but also Marcel Duchamp, Pablo Neruda, Alejo Carpentier, Copi or Mercedes Sosa.
His work, like his life, has always been marked by this great freedom “without which (he) can neither paint nor live”. In his works populated by figures strolling in the heart of the cities, he thus treated with humor and irony the spectacle of urban life, characterized in the form of the memory of the cities of his native country. On multiple supports, from painting to photography, from lithography to monumental sculpture, he thus gave life to a whole gallery of characters in motion, absorbed by the frantic rhythm of cities, and whose deliberately simplified features seemed to give them a freedom as naive as it is utopian.
His modern, hurried and urban man, in bright colors as if to better escape from the daily grayness, resonates with us, in the four corners of the planet. If today the departure of its creator leaves us all a little orphaned, I am convinced that the works and talent of Antonio Seguí will continue to make us dream and shine on the international artistic scene for a very long time.