Home Art Magazine All you Need to Know on the Artist Will Faber

After bridging his expressionist era, the German painter Will Faber swings between schematic order and abstractism. What will reign?

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Will Faber (Saarbrucken, Germany 1901 – Barcelona 1987), painter and graphic designer moved to Barcelona at the beginning of the thirties to become one of the first artists to introduce the international avant-garde movement into Catalonia. He contributed to the renewal of Barcelona in the fifties together with the “Dau al Set” group. His work places him as one of the most notable abstract artists of our time.

After passing through an Expressionist phase his development brought together some of the main movements and tendencies from the early 20th century (Cubism, Surrealism, Fauvism and the aesthetics of the Bauhaus Movement) he was influenced by the works of Kandinsky and Paul Klee, as is evident in his pictorial work.

Will Faber. Untitled, 1981. Courtesy of Promoart21

The works of Faber stand between the rigorous constructivism and schematic order of space deriving from his Germanic origins and the fantasy of light and colour are closer to the ambience of the Mediterranean. His influence marked the course of art of his coetaneous and subsequent times to the point where the contemporary Spanish artists agree that they have all drawn from his art. Among the multiple recognitions that Faber received there are the Gold Medal granted by the Royal Catalan Academy of Fine Arts in 1946, the Gold Medal of the Spanish Association of engraving artists given to him in 1967, and the 1982 ‘Ciutat de Barcelona’ Prize, awarded by the city council of Barcelona. 

Both proposed artworks are a representation of abstract painting by the artist Will Faber. He uses a range of colours and shapes; from dissimilar-sized spirals, vertical or horizontal lines as well as spots. As seen in the second figure, Faber uses strings, too. The colours he uses are primary colours, nonetheless, yellow, blue and red. Just like the use of lines, he focuses on “simple” and “primary” tools to bring to light the essential.

Will faber. Untitled, 1982. Courtesy of Promoart21

Numerous books have been written about his work and even the Nobel Prize of Literature Camilo José Cela paid him hommage in the form of a 230 pages monographic edition of “Papeles de Son Armadans”, the magazine that he directed. The issue contained 20 articles written by friends and critics, besides a gloss by Camilo José Cela. The Noble Prize himself could not find the words to describe the power of Faber’s work, about which he wrote that “His painting has no explanation, but tremor and ecstasy”. About the artist itself, however, he said that “if he had not been a painter, he would be a painter. Namely: if he had not been an easel painter, he would have been a cave painter. Each one is due to his glorious or base destiny (…) Will Faber, Spanish painter that, like the Greco, was born where he could, is the guardian of our purest and distressed contemporary painting (…) He dominates colors, volumes and void (…) Will Faber, who turns everything he touches into art, is in possession of those secrets that are guessed and not learned”.

For the 25th anniversary of his death, in Barcelona a commemorative plaque was placed by the city council on the facade of the house where he lived and worked. Likewise, the town of Ibiza remembers him through a street named after him, who lived long periods in Ibiza for many years. The work of Will Faber can be admired in different places such as the Palace of the Catalonian Government, the MACBA (Museum of Contemporary Art of Barcelona) or the MACE (Museum of Contemporary Art of Eivissa), to name but a few, and the Llars Mundet Chapel conserves some beatiful stanied glass windows.

Discover all of Will Faber's artworks on Kooness.

Cover image: Will Faber. Untitled, 1980. Courtesy of Promoart21. 

Written by: PromoArt21

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