The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

April 14, 2013

Dali lives through artist Francisco Poblet

SELINSGROVE — Artist Francisco Ciccio Poblet, of New York, who was trained as a young boy of 14 by Spanish Surrealist painter Salvador Dali, is returning to the area to discuss his work and show some of his artwork in Selinsgrove and in Lewisburg.

He will be at The Post and Lintel Gallery, 34 S. Market St., Selinsgrove, from 6-8 p.m. April 17. An Art Talk will be held from 7 to 8 p.m. Poblet will next be at The Smiling Chameleon Restaurant and Draft House, 235 Market St., Lewisburg, on April 18 from 6-8 p.m.

Francisco’s father, Franco Poblet, was a friend of Dali’s in the 1930s and ’40s, when both moved to New York City from Barcelona, Spain. Dali saw that the young Francisco had a lot of talent, and agreed to mentor him. Francisco would arrive at the St. Regis Hotel in New York, to Dali and his wife Gala’s suite, and would spend countless hours being mentored by this very stern and animated teacher who demanded nothing less than perfection. 

“He made the biggest impression on me. If I made a mistake and tried to correct it, he’d take a wide white paint brush, erase everything, and make me start over. He told me that ‘every canvas has a painting inside, it’s there for the creative mind to find it,’” said Poblet.

Dali trained him by replicating the masters and his own work, which is evident in his paintings to this day. Poblet, who is 80 years old and still paints daily, concedes his work is strikingly similar to Dali’s and laughs as he recalls a remark his former teacher once made, wide eyed with his distinct mustache and finger pointing upward. “He told me that I had an ability to be a painter, but said, ‘you’ll never be a Dali. When people see your paintings, they’ll remember me.’”

During the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, two blocks from his apartment on 9/11/2001, he was severely burned as he breathed in “the dust of death” and subsequently spent 10 years in the hospital but he didn’t stop painting. He continually painted through his recuperation, creating the vivid disturbing images he witnessed on that fateful day now depicted in his “9-11 Collection.”

Poblet is currently writing several books about his experiences with Dali, the tragedy of 9-11, his years owning several night clubs in New York City, and as a comic book artist for Western Publishing, where he painted all the comic book covers from 1968 to 1976, including Walt Disney, Hannah Barbera, Marvel and many more.

Last August, Carleen Lenner brought Francisco Poblet to stay at her home on the Isle of Que for a gallery event in Williamsport.


Local connection

Carleen Lenner, of the Isle of Que, purchased a painting by Poblet in 2005. After trying to find information on the artist, she finally reached him in 2011 through Facebook just after he was released from the hospital.

“I called him and we arranged a meeting for him to see the painting I had admired in my home for years,” she said of the painting Poblet painted in 1960 of “Mars and Venus United by Love,” originally painted by Paolo Veronese in the 1500s that sits in The Museum of Modern Art today.  “He was delighted when he knew I had this painting because he had not seen it since he painted it, and when he first saw it the excitement in his eyes was magical. He exclaimed, ‘my children, my children,’” she said.

Lenner, a graduate of The Art Institute of Pittsburgh, now assists the artist as his representative.

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