See and Say

image © Antonio Frasconi
Cow from "See and Say" by Antonio Frasconi

Antonio Frasconi was born on April 28, 1919, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, to Italian parents who had immigrated to South America during World War I. The family soon moved to Montevideo, Uruguay where Franco and Armida (Carbonai) Frasconi ran a restaurant. Antonio enjoyed drawing, painting, and reading as a boy, and was delighted when he was apprenticed to a printer at age twelve. He began to publish cartoons and drawings in satirical newspapers while still a teenager and started to experiment with woodcuts in the early 1940s. He moved to the United States in 1945 to study at the Art Students' League and the New School for Social Research, both in New York City.

Frasconi quickly gravitated to woodcut and lithograph as his primary media. By the early 1950s he was recognized as one of America's foremost woodcut artists, achieving much success in sales and exhibitions. Frasconi married Leona Pierce, an artist, in 1951. He wrote and illustrated See and Say: A Picture Book in Four Languages (1955) for his son, Pablo, to teach him that there were many different languages to use to describe things. He has produced other bilingual books both to teach other languages and to foster a respect for other cultures in children.

Frasconi has served as teacher and artist-in-residence at various universities and institutions across the United States. He has supported mass-produced graphic art as a means to expose more people to artwork. Understandably, his own work has been commissioned for advertising, magazine illustrations, record covers, Christmas cards, and a U.S. postage stamp. Frasconi works from his home in South Norwalk, Connecticut.

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