Two Graphic Works by Francisco Toledo

Many people are familiar with the works of Francisco Toledo. But predominantly his paintings; his great water colors, drawings and oil paintings. Also he’s a great ceramicist. But not that many people really understand the quality of his graphic works. 

Toledo is regarded as one of the great graphic artists of the last 50 years. In the very earlier graphics you see that wonderful quality of drawing and line in Francisco Toledo’s work. But it’s not until the late 1970’s and particularly the early 1980’s when the graphic works get a lot more sophisticated. 

This is because he starts working with master printmakers. And one of these printmakers was Polygrafia in Spain. 


Here we’re looking at a piece from 1983, titled Horse and Rider. The level of sophistication here is absolutely fabulous. It’s a mixture of aquatint, dry point, etching, and spit biting. It has beautiful, detailed lines, similar to what you see in his rare watercolor paintings with pen and ink. 


The imagery is classic Francisco Toledo. The piece evokes this wonderful mythological and almost mystical relationship between man and animals. There’s a very erotic sensuality throughout the piece. 

"I remember years ago talking to one of the printmakers from Polygrafia, and he said that most major name artists who came into the studio would spend around two weeks to do a suite of works and then leave. But Francisco Toledo would spend about 6 months. They actually rented an apartment for him to live in while he worked on some of these wonderful graphic works from that period" exclaims Robert Mc Donald.


This work by Toledo is quite different from Horse and Rider. This piece does not display any of the usual themes regarding relationships between man and animals, nor does it possess the sexual quality that you see in many of Toledo’s works. 

It’s a simple portrait if you will. Possibly and probably a self portrait. 


The piece has a wonderful texture. It’s comprised of woodblock, etching and gold leaf applied to the surface.

This unusual mix of medium is typical for Francisco Toledo who is always experimenting and mixing mediums. 

Again, it’s an absolutely fabulous and rare work. 


View more work by Francisco Toledo

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