sábado, maio 06, 2017

Uma Maneira de ser Moderno - exposição de Almada Negreiros na Fundação Gulbenkian

I always liked the work of Almada Negreiros, and the Gulbenkian exhibition is an excellent show. Almada was part of a brilliant set of artists that brought modern art to Portugal - Fernando Pessoa and Mário de Sá-Carneiro in literature, himself, Amadeo de Souza-Cardoso and Santa-Rita-Pintor in painting, to mention the most remarkable. They were all outstanding artists by any standards, and they brought a breath of fresh air to Portuguese art, distinctively Portuguese and yet cosmopolitan, in synch with what was going on in Paris at the time. They were the perfect modern artists, and Almada Negreiros was the one who lived longer. He was a kind of Renaissance man, painter, poet and writer, but I think he mostly excelled as a draughtsman. He had that rare ability of drawing the perfect picture with a few apparently simple lines.

Irreverent as he was at the beginning, his longevity and quality made him become the modern Portuguese artist par excellence, accepted and recognised even by such a backward regime as we had at the time. He decorated major buildings, from cafés to universities to the dockyards buildings, doing mosaics and stained glass windows, and his 40s style became somewhat of a standard in illustration - I remember my childhood books and grade schools books being illustrated by him or in his style.

The Gulbenkian museum keeps doing a great job showing Portuguese art; this show is another great contribution, a par with the one they did a few years back with Amadeo Souza-Cardoso, my favorite Portuguese painter.

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