This Apprentice Had A Fabled Master

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Francisco Poblet and his painting “The Real 911, I Was There,” part of an exhibit to be unveiled on June 12 at the new Westbury Arts building. (Photo by Lyn Dobrin)

Westbury Arts will hold a celebration of the opening of its new building at 255 Schenck Ave., just off of Post Avenue. On Saturday, June 12 from 1 to 5 p.m. it will host Francisco “Ciccio” Poblet, age 88, the last living apprentice of Salvador Dalí, as the first artist inaugurating the brand new state-of-the-art building.

Poblet’s work focuses on the post-Dalí influenced period, and September 11, where he was critically wounded, Super Storm Sandy and most recently, the COVID-19 pandemic. He will also be premiering his newly completed work: “Children Playing Mumbly-Peg,” Last brush stroke: May 30, 2021. The exhibit will remain on view until Saturday, June 26.

The artist’s father, Franco Poblet, was a friend of Dalí’s in the 1930s and ’40s, when both moved to New York City from Barcelona, Spain. Dalí recognized young Francisco’s 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, demanding and animated teacher.

One of the great personalities of 20th Century art, Salvador Dalí poses with his pet ocelot, “Babou,” and cane. (Public Domain)

Poblet attended Cooper Union Art School, The Art Students League of New York and the School of Visual Arts. He also attended Columbia University. He was employed by Western Publishing, where he painted Gold Key comic book covers for such giants as Walt Disney, Warner Brothers, Hannah Barbera and Marvel Comics, and Little Golden Books. He was the art director for the Grit Newspaper in Williamsport, PA.

Poblet was severely injured during the 9-11 terrorist attacks, and although it took many years of rehab and hospital visits, Poblet brought to life every memory from what he witnessed with his 9-11 collection. It is a true portrayal of human fragility, pain, humanity and hope.

Poblet is currently writing several books about his experiences with Dalí, the tragedy of 9-11, his years owning several night clubs in New York City, and as a comic book artist.

In Addition…

Also on Saturday from 7 to 9 p.m., the theater premieres an original comedy in one-act by Meagan J. Meehan entitled “The Values of Gold, Silver & Bronze,” followed by musical performances by Carle Place High School students Devin Eichel and Antonio Urrutia.

On Sunday, June 13, a “Family Fun Day” is planned with kid-focused arts and crafts, exercise, story reading, cupcake decorating, games and a dance party.
Space is limited for the play, solo performances and Sunday kid’s day so preregistration is mandatory. To register and for information visit www.westburyarts.org.

Hours are Tuesday through Thursday, 2 to 6 p.m.; Friday, 2 to 8 p.m.; and Saturday, noon to 6 p.m. It is closed on Sunday and Monday.

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