Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Tarsila do Amaral: Inventing Modern Art in Brazil

The Museum of Modern Art 

 February 11, 2018–June 03, 2018

Tarsila do Amaral (Brazilian, 1886–1973) is a foundational figure for the history of modernism in Latin America. The first exhibition in the United States exclusively devoted to the artist focuses on her pivotal production from the 1920s, from her earliest Parisian works, to the emblematic modernist paintings produced in Brazil, ending with her large-scale, socially driven works of the early 1930s. The exhibition features nearly 120 artworks, including paintings, drawings, sketchbooks, photographs, and other historical documents drawn from collections across Latin America, Europe, and the United States.


Tarsila do Amaral. Abaporu, 1928. Oil on canvas. 33 7/16 x 28 3/4 in. (85 x 73 cm). Collection MALBA, Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires. © Tarsila do Amaral Licenciamentos.

Born in São Paulo at the turn of the 19th century, Tarsila―as she is affectionately known in Brazil―studied piano, sculpture, and drawing before leaving for Paris in 1920 to attend the Académie Julian. Throughout subsequent sojourns in Paris, she studied with André Lhote, Albert Gleizes, and Fernand Léger, fulfilling what she called her “military service in Cubism,” ultimately arriving at her signature painterly style of synthetic lines and sensuous volumes depicting landscapes and vernacular scenes in a rich color palette.


Tarsila do Amaral. Urutu Viper (Urutu). 1928. Oil on canvas. 23 5/8 x 28 3/8 in. (60 x 72 cm). Coleção Gilberto Chateaubriand, Museu de Arte Moderna, Rio de Janeiro. © Tarsila do Amaral Licenciamentos.

The exhibition follows her journeys between France and Brazil, through Rio de Janeiro and Minas Gerais, charting her involvement with an increasingly international artistic community, and her role in the emergence of modernism in Brazil; in 1928, Tarsila painted Abaporu, which quickly spawned the Anthropophagous Manifesto, and became the banner for this transformative artistic movement that sought to digest external influences and produce an art for and of Brazil itself.

Tarsila do Amaral. Anthropophagy (Antropofagia), 1929. Oil on canvas. 49 5/8 x 55 15/16 in. (126 x 142 cm). Acervo da Fundação Jose e Paulina Nemirovsky, em comodato com a Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo. © Tarsila do Amaral Licenciamentos.

The exhibition is organized by The Museum of Modern Art and the Art Institute of Chicago.
Organized by Luis Pérez-Oramas, former Estrellita Brodsky Curator of Latin American Art, The Museum of Modern Art, and Stephanie D’Alessandro, former Gary C. and Frances Comer Curator of International Modern Art, The Art Institute of Chicago; with Karen Grimson, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Drawings and Prints, The Museum of Modern Art.


Tarsila do Amaral. A Negra, 1923. Oil on canvas. 39 3/8 x 32 in. (100 x 81.3 cm). Museo de Arte Contemporânea de Universidade de São Paulo. © Tarsila do Amaral Licenciamentos.


Tarsila do Amaral. A Cuca, 1924. Oil on canvas. 23 13/16 × 28 9/16 in. (60.5 × 72.5 cm). Centre National des Arts Plastiques, Paris, France FNAC 9459. Photography © Cnap / Ville de Grenoble / Musée de Grenoble – J.L. Lacroix. © Tarsila do Amaral Licenciamentos

Tarsila do Amaral. City (The Street). 1929. Oil on canvas. 31 7/8 × 21 1/4 in. (81 × 54 cm). Collection of Bolsa de Arte. © Tarsila do Amaral Licenciamentos

Tarsila do Amaral. Carnival in Madureira (Carnaval em Madureira). 1924. Oil on canvas. 29 15/16 x 25 in. (76 x 63.5 cm). Acervo da Fundação José e Paulina Nemirovsky, em comodato com a Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo. © Tarsila do Amaral Licenciamentos.


Tarsila do Amaral. Setting Sun (Sol poente), 1929. Oil on canvas. 21 1/4 x 25 9/16 in. (54 x 65 cm). Private collection, Rio de Janeiro. © Tarsila do Amaral Licenciamentos.

Tarsila do Amaral. Postcard (Cartão-postal), 1929. Oil on canvas. 50 3/16 x 56 1/8 in. (127.5 x 142.5 cm). Private collection, Rio de Janeiro. © Tarsila do Amaral Licenciamentos.