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Biography of Albert Flocon
Engraver, painter, historian, teacher and writer, Albert Flocon is one of the famous intellectual humanist from the 20th century. Born May 24, 1909 in Köpenick, near Berlin, under the name of Albert Mentzel, he became very interested in drawing, theater and literature. As a teenager he visits Italy where he discovers Michelangelo, Uccello, Masaccio and Fra Angelico. His artistic vocation leads him to the Bauhaus/Dessau in 1927. Amazed by Walter Gropius’s constructions, he decides to learn architecture. He first starts studying with Josef Albers, then Klee and Kandinsky.
One year later, fascinated by the small company directed by Oskar Schlemmer he decides to enroll in the theater atelier with a little group preparing shows. It is at that time that the young man militates within the communist Party ; because of this commitment, Kandinsky will make him send back of the Bauhaus. From 1930 to 1933 he lives in Berlin, then Francfort. Fleeting from nazism and and the anti-Semitism (his wife being Jewish), Albert Flocon emigrates to France in 1933. There will be a difficult life. He learns technical advertising and finds a job at the « Omnium graphique » and at « Le Père Castor ». At the declaration of war, he will be interned to the camp of Chambaran, then will enlist in the he enrolls in the French Foreign Legion for a period of the war. Demobilized in 1940, Flocon, his wife and their children settle in Pibrac near Toulouse. Caught by the Gestapo with his wife and eldest daughter, he’s locked up again in Saint Michel’s jail in Toulouse until the liberation of the city. His wife and laughter Ruth will be transferred to Drancy, before being gased to Auschwitz, while his two other children, hidden by families will survive. He settles in Paris definitely in 1945 and decides to take his maternal grand mother’s name.
In July 1947 his name figures in the catalogue of the International Exhibition on Surrealism, organized at the Galerie Maeght. In 1949, Flocon, Johnny Friedlaender (both refugees from Germany) and the expert printer Georges Leblanc, found « l’Atelier de l’Ermitage ».
In 1954, he teaches drawing at Ecole Estienne. Ten years later he obtains the chair in Perspective at l’Ecole des Beaux Arts. Flocon becomes friendly with the philosopher Gaston Bachelard who will write the text of a book to the Glory of the hand. Bachelard will introduce him to many other philosophers and writers such as Merleau-Ponty, Canguillem, René Taton, Jean Lescure, etc… The encounter between the engraver and the sciences philosopher is totally emblematic of reciprocal influences amid philosophy and art, spirit and hand work.
Both rooted in Surrealism but each one in his own way. Bachelard and Flocon kept exploring the Unknown. Passionated by links between art and geometry, Flocon’s art contributed to renew perspective studies especially Curvilinear perspective, beside André Barre.
Flocon had many engraver and artist friends, especially Henri Goetz and Christine Boumeester, his partner. He was the initiator of Escher in France which considered him as his brother in art.
In 1949, Paul Eluard wrote short poems for his first book : « Perpectives », transcription of war nightmares (published by Aimé Maeght).
Independent from Modern and Post-Modern avant garde, Flocon died in 1994. He was then 85 years.