Cândido Portinari

19.06 – 15.08 / 2015




The solo exhibition includes paintings done between 1931 and 1944, a period which saw Portinari rise to become the greatest Brazilian artist.


The Almeida & Dale Gallery will open the exhibition Portinari and the Poetry of Brazilian modernity on 18 June. Curated by Denise Mattar, the exhibition showcases a collection of around  35 emblemic works produced between 1931 and 1944, an important period which saw Portinari elevated to Brazil´s top artist.


The focus of the exhibition is the result of a survey conducted by the curator on two groundbreaking events in Modernism in Brazil: The XXXVIII Salon of Fine Arts of 1931 in Rio de Janeiro and the Exhibition of Modern Art of 1944 in Belo Horizonte. Cândido Portinari played a key role in both events and as a result became the leading protagonist of the expansion of Modernism in Brazil.


In 1931, Portinari, having recently arrived from Europe, was invited to be part of the Organizing Committee of the XXXVIII Salon of Fine Arts (The Revolutionary Salon of 1931, by Lúcio Costa). The show was held in Rio de Janeiro – Brazil´s capital at the time and academic stronghold – and featured artwork by modernists Tarsila do Amaral, Anita Malfatti, Di Cavalcanti, among others.  


Besides helping organize the event, Portinari showed 17 works, which caught the attention of writer and critic Mário de Andrade, who was disappointed by the offerings of Tarsila and Anita and saw in Portinari the qualities he was looking for. The two became great friends and this meeting led to Portinari choosing his central theme: Brazilians.


Thirteen years later, in 1944, the Modern Art Exhibition took place, the last large show of Brazilian modernism. Organized by Juscelino Kubitschek while mayor of Belo Horizonte, the show brought together artists from the Week of 22, the Santa Helena Group, the Bernardelli Group and the then-novice Iberê Camargo, Milton Dacosta and Carlos Scliar, among others. But the star was Portinari. His work O Olho (the Eye), known as the Cock, caused furor in the press and divided opinion.


The polemic work is now part of a collection of around 35 pieces – to be exhibited at the Almeida & Dale Gallery – on loan from important private collectors in São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Salvador and Fortaleza and institutions such as the Roberto Marinho Collection. From the Roberto Marinho Collection, the almost epic work Brazilian Flora and Fauna (1934), Forest (1942), a delicate subtle work; and Brodowsky (1942) which depicts children flying kites in their native country will be on display.


The show also includes the works: the Violinist (1931), considered by Mário de Andrade the best artwork of the 1931 Revolutionary Salon; The Flutist and the Domingo no Morro (Sunday on the Hill) (1934 and 35), which mark the moment in which the artist begins painting the Brazilian people; and Jangada e Carcaça (Raft and Corpse), Bois (Cattle) and Espantalho (Scarecrow) and Enterro (Burial), works from 1940 in which the artist portrays the drama of the drought using glowing hues.


The lyricism of the artist is evident in artworks such as Friends (1938), Woman and Child (1940) and the Girls of Arcozelo (1940) – the painting adorning the cover of the Portinari Catalogue of Brazil, held at MoMA in 1940.


The show is part of the institutional initiative the gallery has been running, having put on exhibitions of other masters such as Fernando Botero, Aldo Bonadei, Alfredo Volpi, Alberto da Veiga Guignard and Willys de Castro.


The show is curated by Denise Mattar, one of the most lauded and best known curators in Brazil. Denise has worked at institutions such as the Museu da Casa Brasileira, São Paulo (1985-1987); the São Paulo Museum of Modern Art (1987-1989); and the Rio Museum of Modern Art (1990-1997). And as an independent curator she held, from 1997 to 2014,retrospective shows of Di Cavalcanti, Flávio de Carvalho (APCA Award), Ismael Nery (APCA and ABCA Awards), José Pancetti, Anita Malfatti, Samson Flexor (APCA Award), Frans Krajcberg, Mary Vieira, Maria Tomaselli, Aluísio Carvão, Abelardo Zaluar, Raymundo Colares, Hildebrando de Castro, Norberto Nicola, Aldo Bonadei, Alfredo Volpi, and Alberto da Veiga Guignard.


Major theme-based shows include: Traço, Humor e Cia (FAAP Museum of Brazilian Art, 2002), O Olhar Modernista de JK (Itamaraty Palace/DF, MAB-FAAP/SP, MNBA/RJ, Palace of Arts/BH, 2004-06), O Preço da Sedução (The Price of Seduction) (Itaú Cultural, São Paulo, 2004), O’ Brasil – Da Terra Encantada à Aldeia Global (Brazil –From the Enchanted Land to the Global Village) (Itamaraty Palace, 2005), Homo Ludens – Do Faz de Conta à Vertigem (Itaú Cultural, São Paulo, 2006), Nippon (Galeria de Valores, CCBB Rio de Janeiro, 2008), Brasília – Síntese das Artes (CCBB Brasília, 2010), Tékhne e Memórias Reveladas (FAAP Museum of Brazilian Art , 2010) (ABCA award), Pierre Cardin (CCBB Rio de Janeiro, 2011), Mário de Andrade (Centro Cultural dos Correiros, Rio de Janeiro, 2012), Projeto Sombras (MAM Rio de Janeiro, 2012), No Balanço da Rede (Caixa Cultural, Rio de Janeiro, 2014), and Duplo Olhar (Paço das Artes, São Paulo, 2014).

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