Roland Chanco (1914-2017) Chanco arrived in Paris, aged 16 and interested in sculpture, where he worked with Marcel Gimond. He then abandoned sculpture in favor of paint and color. In Montmartre, he frequented the studios of Edmond Heuzé, Utrillo, and Gen-Paul, and became a very good friend of Picasso.
Roland Chanco left Paris in 1947 to live in Antibes, and later settled inland from Nice. During his early years in Paris and until 1939, he painted urban landscapes in a style somewhere between Post-Impressionism and Expressionism. In 1942, he abandoned landscapes for good, thereafter painting only figures and later, still-lifes. For a while, Chanco painted groups of heads or figures in harsh colors set against a black or very dark background, in what he called his ‘black period’. In 1960, however, he renounced this ‘black period’ and adopted a style directly derived from Picasso’s Cubo-Expressionism, though Chanco’s work was clown-like in his choice of subjects and his joyous and exuberant treatment of them. Although he broke down the subject in Cubist fashion, it remained very decipherable, painted in a range of harsh, almost incandescent, colors. After 1970, in addition to his figures, he began painting still-lifes.
These were carefully constructed, filled with a superabundance of elements including guitars, jars, baskets, small carafes, bowls, glasses, fruit, fish, lobsters – even a live cat attracted by the smell – all set on multicolored tablecloths covering a table surrounded by chairs. Compared with Picasso’s later works, to which Chanco’s paintings clearly refer, his work appears minor, partly because of the clown-like elements already mentioned, although these do not apply to his still-lifes. However, his works have a density lacking in many other paintings in the style of Picasso. Chanco exhibited at several annual Paris Salons and showed collections of his work in solo exhibitions.