Lasar Segall Processes

Museu Lasar Segall

The Lasar Segall Museum | Ibram | MinC presents a selection of works from its collection, chosen as being among the most representative of the production of Lasar Segall (1891–1957). This collection consists of more than three thousand items, including oil paintings, paintings on paper, sculptures, engravings, and drawings.

Lasar Segall Museum
The Lasar Segall Museum, conceived by Jenny Klabin Segall—the widow of Lasar Segall—was created as a non-profit organization in 1967 by her sons Mauricio Segall and Oscar Klabin Segall. It is housed in the artist's former residence and studio, designed in 1932 by his wife's brother-in-law, the Russian-born architect, Gregori Warchavchik. In 1985, the Museum was incorporated into the National Pro-Memory Foundation, now integrated into the Brazilian Institute of Museums (IBRAM) of the Ministry of Culture, as a special entity. In addition to its collection, the Museum is a center for cultural activities, offering programs of guided visits, courses in the areas of engraving, photography, literary creation, and cinema projection. It also houses a large library specialized in the performing arts and photography.The Museum, as a federal body, is supported by the Cultural Association of Friends of the Lasar Segall Museum (ACAMLS), a non-profit organization, made possible by the collaboration of public and private institutions, as well as individuals who work together with the Museum.
German Period
Lasar Segall was born in 1889 in the Jewish community of Vilnius, Lithuania, at that time under the rule of Tsarist Russia. In 1906, he went to Germany, joining the Berlin Academy. The works he produced until 1910 show an artistic personality in formation, characterized more by the strong connection with his culture of origin than by academic influence. Segall's subjects are the human figure portrayed in interior spaces, Jewish themes, and the streets of his hometown with its suffering inhabitants.

Short, colorful brushstrokes make the painting appear to vibrate, while movement is suggested by the musician's arm and the violin bow to the right of the canvas.

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The indirect lighting, filtered through the windows, reinforces the drama of the scene and is indicative of the artist's admiration for Flemish painting.

This painting probably portrays the first wife of Segall, Margarete, who he met in Dresden in December 1913, just after his trip to Brazil.

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The artist appears in the foreground, "as tall as the houses"—as he wrote in an autobiographical text—that populate the ghostly scene of Vilnius, his hometown, where a lonely little man wanders in the left corner of the image.

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The house that appears in the background of this engraving, is similar to the one in the background of the painting of the same title.

The Russian Village picture inaugurates, in Segall's painting, the move to geometrization in the compositions, visible in the engravings Vilnius and I (1910?) and Russian Village (1913?).

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Self-portraits are prominent in Segall's work.They exhibit not only visible transformations in the artist's face, but, especially, the changes that occur throughout his poetic journey.

The historian and art critic, Paul Ferdinand Schmidt, was the director of the Dresden Municipal Museum when they acquired the Eternal Wanderers painting, among other Segall works, in 1920.

1919 and 1920 in Germany represented a time of failure of all utopias. Men, lost and confused, roamed the great German cities, their dreams shattered.

Acquired in 1920 by the Dresden City Museum, then directed by art historian, Paul Ferdinand Schmidt, this painting was taken from the collection by the National Socialist government—which rose to power in Germany in 1933, with Hitler at the helm—and was exhibited in Munich in 1937 at the celebrated Exhibition of Degenerate Art.

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Historian and art critic, Will Grohmann, one of the intellectuals among Segall's circle of friends, was close to the artist on many occasions, including at the founding of the Dresden Secession Group 1919.

Segall pointed out three visual art styles for progressing from Impressionism: Cubism, Futurism, and Abstractionism.

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Engraving, according to Segall and other Expressionists, should be something very simple in form and powerful in message.

In Germany in the 1920s, following defeat in World War I, there was a feeling of pessimism and hopelessness, which translated into the trend called New Objectivity.

"My Grandparents" was shown at the largest individual exhibition Segall held in Germany at the Folkwang Museum in Hagen in 1920.

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This gouache seems to have a clear connection to "Eternal Wanderers" in terms of theme and composition.

Prostitution is a universal issue common to the urban centers of the Old and New World. This painting, which repeats the composition of a lithograph from the album Bubu (1921) shows a typical scene from Berlin from the 1920s.

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This "Female Figure with Mirror" also shows the influence of the New Objectivity trend, while the geometric areas reveal the ordering influence of Cubism.

Brazilian Period
"I saw myself transported under a dazzling sun, whose rays illuminated the people and objects in remote and hidden corners, lending a kind of resplendence to things found even in the shadows, as everything seemed to give the impression of radiating pulses of light. I saw purple earth, brick-red earth, almost black earth, a luxurious vegetation overflowing in fantastic decorative forms. I saw dances performed by the people with an almost religious exaltation, with a hypnotic and contagious rhythm, expressed spontaneously, without theory or intellectual thought—which the modern trends in European dance strive to elaborate as innovative and revolutionary creations—and I saw men and women with whom, regardless of their strange language and customs, I felt a sense of brotherhood."

The self-portrait "Encounter" is the first and strongest symbol of Segall's integration into Brazilian life.

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In the period known as the "Brazilian phase," which began with his arrival in 1923 and extended until 1928, the presence of the colorful landscape of the tropics in Segall's work is striking.

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"Old Olegario," a former slave weathered by old age, posed for Segall in front of the terrace of the farmhouse of Carolina da Silva Telles in the interior of São Paulo State.

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"Boy with Lizards" is one of the paintings of Segall's "Brazilian phase." The name, given by the critic Mário de Andrade, refers to the artist's first work in our lands.

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Segall's initial contact with the Brazilian countryside took place on visits to farms in São Paulo, including those of Tarsila do Amaral and Carolina da Silva Telles.

In many of the pictures created by Segall after his arrival in Brazil, the presence of pencil drawing is significant. In "Self-Portrait III," the artist stands before a blank canvas and holds a pencil, rather than a brush, between his fingers.

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Segall in Paris
In 1928, Segall returns to Europe for a period of four years with his Brazilian wife, Jenny Klabin Segall, and his son, Mauricio. They live in Paris, where, in 1930, the couple's second child, Oscar, was born. Domestic recollection stimulates the intimacy of his work and its themes—motherhood, Judaism, still life, and bucolic landscapes.

When Segall arrives in Rio de Janeiro at the end of 1923, he discovers the Mangue area.The impressions of this district of Carioca prostitution result in paintings, a collection of engravings made in metal and wood, from 1928 in France, and in the Mangue album of 1943.

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Based on a small drawing from a sketch book, in which Segall recorded several scenes from the Carioca area of Mangue, this engraving synthesizes the relationship between the prostitute and her client.

The possibilities of contrast between black and white offered by woodcut were masterfully exploited by Segall in "Head of Black Man"

Women and couples from the Mangue district, as in the painting "Two Nudes," are themes extracted from visions of the red-light neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro.

The figures in the foreground—mother and child—have as their scenery the rickety architecture of the favela.

Motherhood has been a frequent subject in Segall's work since his days in Germany.

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The return to Europe, in 1928, ends Segall's "Brazilian phase." In the four years he lived with his family in Paris, until 1932, domestic tranquility inspired themes such as motherhood, landscapes and still lifes.

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Return to Brazil
Segall returns to Brazil in 1932, settling permanently in São Paulo in a house designed by his brother-in-law, the modernist architect, Gregori Warchavchik. The Lasar Segall Museum is now in what were his house and his studio, adapted for this new purpose.

In 1935, Segall discovers Campos do Jordão and begins to portray this region known as "the Brazilian Switzerland."

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This gouache has a concentrated pyramidal composition, in which the group of animals clustered together dialogues with the outline of the mountain in the background.

In 1935, Mário de Andrade introduced the young painter, Lucy Citti Ferreira, to Segall. Lucy began to attend the artist's studio, working alongside him, and assisting in the documentation of his work.

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This is one of the numerous portraits of painter Lucy Citti Ferreira produced by Segall between 1935 and 1947.

Transposed to gray marble from the original clay model, the theme of the two friends undergoes a simplification of form, visible mainly in the draping of the garments wrapped around the figures.

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Of all the methods used by Segall, sculpture was the one that allowed the best formal exploration of the theme of motherhood.

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Segall makes his first sculptures in Paris in 1929. At that time they are plaster reliefs in polychrome, and would later be cast in bronze.

From 1937, under the impact of the tensions that led the world to World War II, Segall produced a series of large paintings depicting the dramatic events that had victimized humanity in the 19th and 20th centuries.

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The engravings of the "Emigrants" series began to appear in 1927, taking reference from drawings made by Segall during his ship voyages, in sketch books that are real travel logs.

Segall's life story, in which he roams across enormous geographic, cultural, and emotional distances to become a Brazilian artist, crosses paths with the emigrants honored in this canvas, a great allegory of emigration.

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A woman glimpsed behind shutters is a recurring image in Segall's works from the Mangue series. The women of this brothel district of Rio de Janeiro are almost always portrayed with both a touch of sensuality and of formal tension.

Last Phase
In the decade of the 1950s, Segall revisits subjects featured frequently in his previous work.They constitute the "Erradias, Favelas, and Forests" series. The paintings of this time seek the sublimation of themes, the transparency of matter and the verticalization of forms, sometimes represented by the slender bodies of women, sometimes by the long trunks of trees.

From his reflections on the uncertain fate of emigrants and the marginalization of prostitutes, the series that Segall called "Erradias" emerges in the late 1940s.

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In the last years of his life, Segall resumes the "Erradias, Favelas, and Forests" series. It focused on the vertical constructions that punctuate the geography of Rio.

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In the forests, the gray tones of memories of his past childhood in the woods of Vilnius were mixed with the ochers of Cézanne, the moss-greens, warm browns, and the colors of the Brazilian earth he admired.

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The forests of Campos do Jordão inspired several of Segall's drawings. Made of graphite, pen, or ink applied with pen nib.

The theme of forests occupied the last years of Segall's life, leading to the appearance of paintings, watercolors and drawings inspired by Campos do Jordão.

Lasar Segall
Lasar Segall (Vilnius, Lithuania, 1889–Sao Paulo, SP, 1957), painter, engraver, sculptor, and designer of Jewish origin. He starts his art studies in 1905 at the Drawing Academy of Master Antokolski in Vilnius, Lithuania. He moves to Germany in 1906 and studies at the School of Applied Arts and the Imperial Academy of Fine Arts in Berlin. In 1910, he goes to Dresden, where he attends the Academy of Fine Arts. In this initial period in the city, he becomes more familiar with impressionist painting, and holds his first individual exhibition in the Gurlitt Gallery in 1910. At the end of 1912, he comes to Brazil and, the following year, exhibits in São Paulo and Campinas. He returns to Europe in 1913 and, from 1917, becomes involved with the new expressionist generation in Dresden. In 1919, he founds the Dresdner Secession Group 1919 with Otto Dix (1891–1969), Conrad Felixmüller (1897–1977), Otto Lange (1897–1944), and others. This group brings together the city's expressionist artists. In 1921, he publishes Bubu, an album of lithographs, in 1922, and Memories of Vilnius in 1917, with etchings. He returns to Brazil, where he settles in São Paulo, at the end of 1923. In the São Paulo state capital, Lasar Segall becomes one of the protagonists of the modern art scene, considered a representative of the European avant-gardes. In 1924, he made the decorations for the futuristic ball of the Automobile Club and for the modernist Pavilion of Olívia Guedes Penteado (1872–1934). He is one of the founders of the Pro Modern Art Society (SPAM), in 1932, of which he becomes director until 1935. Ten years after his death, in 1967, the house where he lived in Vila Mariana, in São Paulo, is transformed into the Lasar Segall Museum.
Credits: Story

Museu Lasar Segall

Presidente da República: Michel Temer

Ministro da Cultura: Roberto Freire

Presidente do IBRAM: Marcelo Mattos Araújo

Diretoria do Museu Lasar Segall

Diretor Emérito: Mauricio Segall

Diretoria: Jorge Schwartz | Marcelo Monzani


Jorge Schwartz | Marcelo Monzani

Seleção de obras:
Pierina Camargo | Rosa Esteves | Vera d'Horta

Textos: Vera d'Horta

Revisão: Maria Carolina de Araújo

Produção: Ademir Maschio

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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