Almeida Júnior, O importuno, 1898, oil on canvas, 145 x 97 cm.
Artist’s Work: Image and Self-image (1826-1929) spans four rooms on the 1st floor at Pina Luz. Conceptually curated by Fernanda Pitta, of Pinacoteca of Sao Paulo, and co-curated by Ana Cavalcanti and Laura Abreu, the exhibition bring together around 120 works — paintings, sculptures, prints, and drawings. He show features 33 authors, men and women, who represented their work and their characters as artists, between the 19th century and the early 20th century, the period when the modern artistic system in Brazil took shape. The exhibition was held in association with the National Museum of Fine Arts of Rio de Janeiro.
Artist’s Work: Image and Self-image (1826-1929) is organized around four cores: Creation and Craft, The Atelier as a Motive, An Artist’s Persona (Portraits and Self-portraits) and The Artist and the Model. The collection includes works that, more than a simple exercise in the representation of portraits and self-portraits, or showing picturesque images of ateliers, represent the effort of generations of artists poured to introduce to the public their own images and their own work, their own personas and their own universe of creation, legitimizing their presence in Brazilian culture. Pieces such as Longe do lar (Far Away from Home, 1884), by Benedito Calixto, and O importuno (The Ill-Suited, 1898), by Almeida Júnior, both belonging to Pinacoteca’s collection, are a testament to how self-aware the artists were when they created a public image of themselves and their craft.
Integrating the exhibition are also works from 25 other private and public collections, including D. Joao VI Museum (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), the Museu de Arte de Belém (Pará, Brazil), and the Museu de Arte de São Paulo (São Paulo, Brazil). Besides those, it introduces photographs of ateliers, illustrated magazines with articles on the lives of Brazilian painters and sculptors, albuns by artists, and the first books dedicated to the history of art and artists in Brazil, such as Belas Artes: estudos e apreciações (Fine Arts: Essays and Appreciations, 1885), by Felix Ferreira, A arte brasileira: pintura e escultura (Brazilian Art: Painting and Sculpting, 1888), by Gonzaga Duque, and the first edition of Antonio Parreiras’ biography, História de um pintor contadas por ele mesmo (A Painter’s Story as Told by this Painter Himself, 1881-1926), released in 1926.
(Photo by Isabella Matheus)