Cheri-Bibi by Eugenio Foz
Chéri-Bibi (1954)

Eugenio Foz was a Spanish painter and illustrator, who spent most of his life in France. In addition to painting, he also worked as an illustrator for newspaper and advertisements, and as set and costume designer for theater productions.

Born in Barcelona on 31 July 1923, he dropped out of school in 1936 and went to work for his father as an apprentice printer. He went to the Escola Massana in 1939, where he learned egg tempera painting, retable technique, enamel painting and oil painting. After serving in the army, Foz and the painter Ismael Balanya illegally crossed the border to France in 1946, where they were granted the status of political refugees. Foz studied fresco painting at the School of Fine Arts in Paris in 1947-1948.

He was active as a commercial illustrator from 1948 to 1958, producing artwork for newspapers, books, video and advertising. For the Paris-Graphic agency, he made a comic strip about the life of novelist George Sand with writer François Desprez (60 strips), and a vertical strip based on the Ponson du Terrail novel 'Les Cavaliers de la Nuit' (69 strips). Both were published in Ce Soir in 1951. He then drew a comic story of 133 strips with Gaston Leroux' novel character 'Chéri-Bibi' for France-Soir in 1954 (script by Alfred Gaston Leroux). Foz replaced Regino Bernad, who was the main artist of the 'Chéri-Bibi' comic strip for fifteen years. Foz drew yet another strip about George Sand (12 vertical strips) for the series 'Les Grandes Égéries' by Opera Mundi, which also ran in France-Soir, in 1955. His text comic 'Lucille' (about 100 strips) was made in cooperation with L.A. Doucet and ran in Franc Tireur, Paris-Jour and a series of regional newspapers through Mondial Presse. Other strips by Foz were 'Le Marquis de Villemer' (Paris-Jour) and 'La Vie de Marie Stuart' (Ce Soir).

Passionnée, généreuse la via de George Sand (1951)

He provided illustrations for editions of Balzac, Flaubert, Rousseau, Lorca and Lalos. Hired by decorator Jean Clemens, he also participated in the creation of advertising stands. The company Discovision hired him to create 150 gouaches for an audiovisual montage on the Passion of Jesus Christ in 1958. Eugenio Foz started his longtime association with the theater in 1960. From 1960 to 1975, he was set decorator and costume designer for a great number of productions ranging from classic to contemporary, in Avignon and Paris. He worked with the playwright Jean Delpierres and the directors Serge Ligier and Jean-Louis Bihoreau, among others.

By 1975, Foz abandoned all his other activities and fully devoted his time to fine arts. Since 1980, he has exhibited in many Parisian galleries, including the Galerie de la Mandragore, Galerie de Chevreuse, Cercle Saint Louis, Galerie Jean Camion, Galerie Fay and the Galerie du Montparnasse. He won the Bronze Medal at the Salon des Artistes Français in 1980 and the Prix international d'Art Contemporain in Monte-Carlo in 1984. His work has furthermore been exhibited in Olivia Gallery in Newport Beach, California, and the small Calvados town of Saint-Aubin sur Mer.

He returned to the theaters in 1992, when he began an assocation with Jean-Luc Jeener of the Théâtre du Nord-Ouest in Paris. Until the end of his life, he worked on sets, posters and costumes for several plays directed by his partner, Edith Garraud. His last show took place at the Galerie du Montparnasse in 2013. The artist fell ill shortly thereafter and died in Paris on 9 June 2014.

Eugenio Foz in 1950

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