Luis Martínez Fraile is born in Albacete, Spain (February 7th, 1947), inside a humble working class family. His father is a master builder and former political prisoner after the Spanish Civil War, and his mother is a factory worker and selfless housewife whose surname, from Sephardic origin, he would choose to sign his artworks. During his childhood he combines studies with several night jobs, amongst others as an employee in the mythical Casino Primitivo of the city, where he meets different situations, social behaviors and motley characters, adquiring a vital experience that helps him to forge a very early critical and sarcastic view of the Franco's Spanish society and customs, reflected in most of his artworks.
He is a self-taught person and, at the age of 20, his interest in Arts and Architecture leads him to pursue studies with which he achieves a position as Draftsman and Urban Planning Designer at the City Hall of his hometown. He works for the Cadastre and with the renowned architect Julio Carrilero Prat, designing amongst others, the Nautical Club of Torrevieja. At this stage painting is just a hobby and he entertains himself by creating landscapes, portraits and still lifes. He moves to Barcelona afterwards, employed in an engineering consultancy company years before starting his professional path as a painter.
Painting was his true vocation, so at the beginning of the 70's, and being all fed up with the political repression and the country's limited openness to outside influences, he decides to spend long periods abroad (France, USA, Canada, Italy, ...) and to break away from a comfortable lifestyle in order to improve his technique and to learn new artistic methods. His frequent travels make him fluent in several languages such as English, French, Catalan and Italian.
He studies Painting, Drawing & Esculpture (Instituto Barcelonés de Arte), Altarpiece & Polychromy (Massana School), Ceramics (Arts & Crafts School of Barcelona), as well as Engraving & Lithography, not only in the Catalan metropolis, but also in Paris (Atelier Hayter) and Toronto (North Toronto Collegiate), cities where he also makes his living creating paintings and stained glass artworks, aside from other occupations as taxi driver, waiter or even dog walker. During his bohemian staying in Paris, where he makes friendship and shares flat with the famous catalan pianist Josep Colom, it is also possible to review his studies of Plastic Arts (Université de Vincennes) and History of Art (École du Louvre).
Both his intellectual concerns ( he was an avid reader of History, Philosophy, Poetry, Classical & Contemporary Novels, Mythology, etc. ) and his vast formation, will lead him to create a work in endless transformation. In addition to appearances in important Spanish publications of the time (Diario ABC, Casa & Jardín, El Punto de Las Artes, Cyan, La Brocha, Tribuna, Formas Plásticas, etc.) and other recognitions, he is already awarded in its beginnings by the Güell Painting Foundation (Barcelona, 1974) and is a finalist at the 7th Cleveland International Drawing Biennale in the United Kingdom. In the mid-70s he even achieves representation with the veteran gallery owner Juana Mordó, but for various reasons he returns to Paris. For several decades, he is featured in multiple exhibitions locally and internationally. At the end of the 80's he settles permanently in Madrid with his wife and sons, where he creates most of his paintings, working in a tireless way and being represented by the now extinct Novart Gallery. In 1997, he is appointed Academic Associate by the International Academy of Letters, Arts and Sciences of Verbano, Italy.
Only a long sickness kept him away from his vital passion. Unfortunately Luis Fraile left us on Kings' Day of 2016. His great artistic legacy features more than 3000 artworks with an exceptional originality.
" The creations of this non-conformist Spanish artist are sprinkled with allegories as a criticism of the human condition. Like pages checked by the author in the urban chronicle of our days. Luis Fraile art is complex, profound and unsettling, an ambitious controlled expressionism through a mysterious figuration, serene narrative, multiple characters-objects in space, out of his rich imagination."
" Surrealistic traits are perceived in those strange beings that populate his paintings, as well as characteristics of Impressionism, discovered throughout his years of learning and, to some extent, assimilated. But the characteristic of Luis Fraile Painting is the Syncretism of an art that knows how to take advantage of all the 'isms' and has managed to overcome them."
Doris Martínez Ferrero - Revista Formas Plásticas, Editorial M. R. Taylor , Madrid, Año V Nº35 (1985)
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