Josep Pla-Narbona Biography

Josep Pla-Narbona




Josep Pla-Narbona was born in Barcelona, Spain in 1928. His father and mother both died before the Spanish civil war started (1936). He was raised by his uncles who encouraged his love and aptitude for drawing. In 1945 he began his artistic studies at the School of Arts and Crafts in Barcelona and started learning the printmaking techniques of lithography and engraving.

In 1946, he began advertising work in the workshop of the artist Ricard Fàbregas, and thereafter established a close relationship with the world of advertising, collaborating with the agencies J. Uriach y Cia, S.A; Claim R. L. Dupuy (Paris) and Adolf Wirz (Zurich) in different stages of his career. In addition, Pla-Narbona has created a second career as a poster and book illustrator.


He returned to Barcelona in 1958 to set up his own Studio and by 1960 and 1961 was awarded with the Sant Jordi prize granted by the Artistic Circle of Sant Lluc for drawing and painting. Appointed professor of Advertising Plastic Art at the Massana School, he was one of the founders, member and elected first chairman of the “Grafistas Agrupación FAD” which is known today as “ADG-FAD”.


In 1962, Pla-Narbona studied typographic techniques in Switzerland and worked with the advertising agency Adolf Wirz of Zurich. He also produced a sequence of lithographs for the Zurich company ARTA. In 1964 he promoted the creation of the LAUS awards. Also in 1964 he joined the Alliance Graphique Internationale as member and he became president of the group for Spain.


As a member of the AGI Pla-Narbona participated in exhibitions organized by the American Institute of Graphic Arts in New York (1966), the Lincoln Center in New York (1966), the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam (1973), the Design Center in Stuttgart (1974) , the Royal College of Art Galleries in London (1974) and the Musée des Arts Decoratifs de Laussana (1974) among others.


Since then Pla-Narbona found success, exhibitions and awards, related to his design and graphic work. Pla-Narbona’s designs and engravings have been exhibited in Europe and America including the 1st International Biennale Poster exhibition in Warsaw, Poland. In 1972 some of his work was accepted into MoMA's Collection. In 1976 he received the first prize of the XVIII International Drawing Competition, Fundació Ynglada-Guillot, Barcelona.

Since 1977 he has been mainly devoting his efforts to the Fine Arts (engraving, painting, and designing).  He received the Honor Laus 2000 from the ADG-FAD, the Design Award in 2001 from AEPD (Asociación Española de Profesionales del Diseño) and the Spanish National Design Award 2004. He was given the 2011 Ilustrad’Or  award from the Professional Association of Illustrators of Catalonia and the Gold Medal of the Cercle Artístic de  Sant Lluc (2012, Barcelona).

Josep Pla-Nabona continues to live in Barcelona. There is a large holding of his work at the Museu del Disseny de Barcelona.