Aldo Bonadei

06.11 – 06.12 / 2013

The show, marking 40 years since the death of Aldo Bonadei (1906-1974), brings together around 30 of his works including oils, collages and textiles and works produced at different stages of his life. Curated by Denise Mattar, the exhibition inaugurated on 8th of November 2013 included an illustrated chronology, poems and texts by the artist, objects from his atelier and his favorite songs.

Aldo Bonadei was a rare personality among the São Paulo artists. He was part of the Santa Helena Group, which consisted of artists such as Francisco Rebolo Gonsales, Manoel Martins and Alfredo Volpi. However, despite his affinity for the group, his output is more complex, and style unmistakable.

His cityscapes depict, with a dose of nostalgia, a São Paulo which later ballooned to swallow up bucolic landscapes bordering the city. His still-life works are compositions constructed in the same way as those of Cézanne. He almost never depicts human figures and his lyrical eye creates poetry in all details.

At the same time, few artists have had such involvement with plastic studies and his quest for innovation was constant throughout his career. His earlier works verge on the academic but he gradually assimilated the cubism lessons in an expression altogether personal and followed the line of abstraction in pioneering fashion. In the 1940s, during which there was outright rejection of abstraction in Brazil, he painted his musical impressions, conveying his sensations plastically. One of these paintings was presented at the exhibition together with the music which inspired the artist to produce it.

Bonadei applied his creativity in a host of areas. He created object-pictures incorporating different materials, such as embroidery and sewing on canvas, designing his own professional experiences stemming from his family group dedicated to sewing and embroidery. He produced etchings using novel engraving processes,  changed the support of painting innovatively by dropping the frame altogether and painted fabrics and created patterns for the industry. He designed graphics, created scenery and costumes for the Nydia Lícia Company and for Walther Hugo Khoury. He wrote poems and mused about the processes of full creation of lyricism.


Aldo Bonadei was an active and participative artist. Together with the Union of Plastic Artists, he fiercely defended recognition of the profession. He exhibited in several editions of the Paulista Salon of Modern Art, being awarded the top prizes in the contest. He took part in the São Paulo Biennial, represented Brazil at the XXVI Venice Biennial, exhibited in Japan, Chile, Cuba and Paris and held solo exhibitions in the most important Galleries at the time, such as Domus and Bonfiglioli.

All these facets were highlighted by the exhibition, according to the curator Denise Mattar. “This exhibition aimed to recreate the plenitude of Aldo Bonadei, an artist skilled at harmonizing contradictions, producing a dense, lyrical, nostalgic art, yet vibrant and without shrillness. Work which surprises through its innovation and the naturalness by which is manifests from artistic endeavor.

Numerous respected Brazilian critics have written about Aldo Bonadei, e.g.: Pietro Maria Bardi, Mario Schenberg, Walter Zanini, Lourival Gomes Machado, Roberto Pontual, Arnaldo Pedroso D’Horta, Lisbeth Rebolo, Emanoel Araújo, among others.

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