Ponç, Joan


Joan Ponç

Barcelona, 1927

Saint-Paul de Vence, Francia, 1984


Joan Ponç i Bonet had a troubled childhood and youth in Barcelona. In 1944 he began his training in drawing and painting at Ramón Rogent’s studio, training that took place alongside his work in a carpentry workshop which his parents made him do. In 1946, thanks to the antique dealer Joan Vinyals, he held his first solo exhibition at Galería Arte in Bilbao, which was a genuine failure. A few months later he began to meet with other young artists in a tavern in the Gràcia neighborhood where Jaime Colson had started the group La Campaña.

That same year, 1947, he founded with Joan Brossa the magazine Algol, of which only one issue would be published. At that time, his worked moved towards the field of an expressionism that could be described as fantastic, where deformed characters in a dream landscape were a constant theme.

In September 1948 the first issue of the magazine Dau al Set was published, the main source of information of the artistic group named after the Catalonian avant-garde, formed by Ponç, Tharrats, Tàpies, Cuixart, Cirlot, Arnau Puig and Joan Brossa. That same year, Ponç met Miró, whose influence was decisive in his artistic career, as was that of Paul Klee. In 1949 he exhibited with his colleagues at the Instituto Francés( (French Institute) in Barcelona and, months later, he held a solo exhibition at Galeries Laietanes with little success. He was selected by Eugenio d’Ors to participate at the Salón de los Once in Madrid, along with Miró, Dalí and Torres García, among others.

Accompanied by Roser Ferrer, his wife since 1953, he traveled to France and Brazil where he settled for ten years. There he opened a drawing and painting school, L’Espai, exhibited on various occasions at the Museo de Arte Moderno in São Paulo and he received an art scholarship awarded by Ciccillo Matarazzo.

After suffering from psychiatric problem and being ill with diabetes, he returned to Spain in 1962 where he remained retired in en El Bruc. In the mid-sixties, at the same time as the awarding of the Gran Premio Internacional de Dibujo de la VIII Bienal de São Paulo (Grand Prize for Drawing at the 8th Sao Paolo Biennial), he moved to Cadaqués. His exhibition activity increased, with numerous exhibitions taking place within and outside Spain. At the same time he developed a busy workload as a graphic illustrator and set designer.

In 1971, after separating from his wife, he moved his residence to La Roca, in the Catalonian Pyrenees, where he came into contact with Marcel Duchamp and Xavier Corberó. His health problems caused by diabetes worsened and caused him to have several stays in hospital, time which he used to create drawings and watercolors until his death in 1984.

Isabel Menéndez