Art from Brasil until 1900 was the first of a series of exhibitions devoted to MASP collection, what was the focus of the Museum's programming in 2015. The show brought together not only works from the collection, but also documents from the museum's historical and photographic archive. It presented a cut from MASP's Brazilian painting collection, from the 17th to the 19th century, from the colonial period to the Republic. As "art from Brazil" it is understood all production carried out in and on the country, by Brazilians or foreigners. In this way, both European traveling artists and Brazilian academic painters were included. Although the ensemble was not intended to construct an all-embracing art history of the period (an eminently impossible task) and included portraits and still lifes, a strong guiding thread was the representation of the landscape - by Frans Post with his painting of landscape foundation in Brazil in the 17th century; passing by 19th century travelers such as Henry Chamberlain, E. F. Schute, Joseph Brüggemann, Henri Nicolas Vinet and Félix Émile Taunay; until the set Benedito Calixto works, the great painter of the paulistas landscapes.
Also featured were portraits by Victor Meirelles, Almeida Júnior, Belmiro de Almeida, Henrique Bernardelli, Pedro Américo and Eliseu Visconti, central figures in the history of art of the period. Some works of the early 20th century - by Antonio Parreiras, João Baptista da Costa and Arthur Timótheo da Costa - were presented because of the close dialogue they establish with the tradition of the previous century. The absence of female artists, who appear only as representations during a period dominated by men, was remarkable. On the other hand, two black painters are in the group - Arthur Timótheo da Costa and Emmanuel Zamor. If the most well-known and visible collection of the Museum is the one with art works, the most extensive is the documentary and photographic, which covers since 1947, the founding year of MASP. The archive includes mailings on donations, acquisitions, assignments of works and loans between MASP and other institutions or individuals, invoices and receipts, collection records, invitations and brochures for exhibitions, newspaper and magazine clippings, photographs of works and exhibitions, among others. In museums, documents and photographs from the archive are usually not exposed. By bringing them to the public in MASP, juxtaposing them to their respective works, we offer a new layer of reading about the collection, revealing part of the museum's history. In the museum's exhibition space, the exhibition design reconstructed Lina Bo Bardi's project for the MASP collection at the Fundação Armando Alvares Penteado (FAAP) in São Paulo. Between 1957 and 1959, MASP and FAAP jointly created the Institute of Contemporary Art to host the museum's courses and collection. However, the initiative did not last, and the collection was exhibited for about a year at FAAP, with guest-only visitation, and then returned to the museum's former headquarters on 7 de Abril Street. The rebuilding of exhibits that marked the museum's history (the MASP collection at FAAP in the second basement and that of MASP 7 de Abril on the first floor), with suspended panels, maintains the transparency and amplitude of the open space. These characteristics were radicalized with glass stands at the inauguration of MASP at Avenida Paulista in 1968 - retired in 1996, and resumed in December of 2015. In gathering works and documents at the same exhibition, Art from Brasil until 1900 presented not only one panorama of the period, but also revealed some of the stories surrounding the construction of the collection. Thus, several stories intertwine: MASP, São Paulo, the trajectory of art works in the museum and the Brazilian art itself. Next, you will find part of the works exhibited in Art from Brasil until 1900 at MASP, from 26.3 to 6.6.2015.

Frans Post
A painter, illustrator and engraver, Frans Post was born into a family of artists. He came to Brazil in 1637 at age 25 as part of Maurice of Nassau’s entourage in Pernambuco (1630-54). He lived in Recife until 1644, a period in which he produced 18 landscapes, only seven of which are still known to exist.

This first phase is characterized by representations of Brazil’s landscapes that are faithful to reality, but with few details in composition.

His second phase begins after his return to Holland, with paintings of Brazilian landscapes created from sketches and drawings he made while he was in the country.

His third phase, during the 1660s, is considered his most important, because he utilized natural elements of northeastern Brazil, reorganizing them according to his imagination.

Of Post’s second phase, the MASP collection owns "Cachoeira de Paulo Afonso" [Paulo Afonso Waterfall] (1649) and, of his third, "Paisagem com tamanduá" [Landscape with Anteater] (circa 1660), "Paisagem em Pernambuco com casa-grande" [Landscape with a Farm House in Pernambuco] (1665), "Paisagem com jiboia" [Landscape with Boa Constrictor] (circa 1660) and "Paisagem pernambucana com rio" [River Scene in Pernambuco] (1668). Post could be considered the originator of Brazilian landscapes, though through European eyes, representing tropical elements such as the country’s fauna and flora.

E. F. Schute
Most likely of Scandinavian origins, Schute was a painter who worked in Brazil during the 19th century. Little is known about his life, and the painting that belongs to the MASP collection is one of his rare works included in public collections. Possibly an amateur painter, Schute’s work demonstrates a noticeable influence from German Romanticism with a strong concern in relation to the sublime in nature, connecting his painting to such German artists as Caspar David Friedrich (1774-1840).

João Batista Castagneto
Castagneto came from a peasant family and followed in the footsteps of his sailor father, with whom he settled in Rio de Janeiro in 1874. He studied with Victor Meirelles (1832-1903) and Georges Grimm (1846-1887) at Academia Imperial de Belas Artes, where he enrolled in 1876, breaking the school’s rules on age limit in order to attend. He referred to himself as a mere “boat painter,” painting seascapes, often in a makeshift studio set up on a boat.

He created impasto oil paintings with broad strokes nimbly applied to canvases or other rigid materials, often the covers of cigar boxes.His work represented a fresh approach in Brazilian painting, introducing a more sensitive, intuitive and modern landscape.

The painting "Uma salva em dia de grande gala na baía do Rio de Janeiro" [Gun Salute on a Gala Day at the Rio de Janeiro Bay] (1887) was the centerpiece of a controversy which characterized his turbulent relationship with the Academia. It was one of the artist’s most ambitious undertakings, a fact which nonetheless failed to save him from being barred from the Escola Nacional de Belas Artes for disrespecting the values espoused by the academics.

Victor Meirelles
Victor Meirelles was one of the artists responsible for the consolidation of historical painting during the reign of Dom Pedro II (1841-1889) and taught artists such as Eliseu Visconti (1866-1944) and Almeida Júnior (1850-1899). He was admitted to the Academia Imperial de Belas Artes in 1847 and was awarded a travel grant to Europe in 1853, studying in Rome, Florence and Paris.

On the other hand, with the painting "Moema" (1866), also owned by MASP, Meirelles developed another theme: the scene presents the character Moema from the epic poem Caramuru by Frei Durão (1722-1784), dead on the beach after swimming behind the ship carrying her lover, Diogo Álvares, who was returning to Portugal.

The theme belongs to the traditional of Indianist Romanticism, typical of the time, which sought to validate native themes. Meirelles portrayed Moema in a supposedly “natural” condition, though, in reality, quite idealized, representing her body through defined shadows and forms bordering on the geometric.

The painting is a commentary on the Brazilian empire: while it massacred the indigenous population, it appropriated its image as a national symbol.

Antonio Parreiras
As a child, Antonio Parreiras was sent by his family, which did not approve of his artistic bent, to a boarding school named Liceu Popular de Niterói. In 1882, after his father’s death, Parreiras enrolled at the Academia Imperial de Belas Artes in Rio de Janeiro. Two years later, he left the Academia to participate in the open painting course given by Georg Grimm (1846-1887) in Niterói. His first exhibition was held in 1886. He traveled to Europe where he attended the Accademia di Belle Arti in Venice, returning to Brazil to serve as a professor of landscape painting at the Escola Nacional de Belas Artes, a position which he later gave up to found the Escola do Ar Livre.

Known as a landscape painter, his main subjects being the countryside, tropical forests and seascapes, Parreiras also developed a repertoire of portraits, nudes and historical scenes, as is the case of Iracema (1909), which is part of the MASP collection. In this painting,

The artist depicted the denouement of the novel of the same name by José de Alencar (1829-1877) in 1865. Iracema, the indigenous heroine, is depicted in her suffering after being abandoned by her European lover. The figure derives from the paintings of the penitent Mary Magdalene in the desert and does not present indigenous features. The choice of these models indicates the tragic and violent character of the clashing between the colonizer and the colonized during the formation of Brazil.

Almeida Júnior
Self-taught until the age of 19, Almeida Júnior was later admitted to the Academia Imperial de Belas Artes in Rio de Janeiro, where he studied under Victor Meirelles (1832-1903) and Jules Le Cevrel (1810-1872). His early paintings caught the attention of the Brazilian emperor Dom Pedro II, who financed his studies in Paris. He stood out at the Académie des Beaux-Arts in Paris, where he was taught by Alexandre Cabanel (1823-1889). Almeida Júnior produced portraits, landscapes and seascapes.

His best-known paintings depict everyday life in the countryside. The influence of Gustave Courbet (1819-1877) and Millet (1814-1875) contributed to an emphasis on realism in his representation of nature and people. Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot (1796-1875) influenced Almeida Júnior in his use of light, intense colors. Further influence from French artists Édouard Manet (1832-1883) and Claude Monet (1840-1926) can also be found in his work. Critical re-evaluation of Almeida Júnior’s work centers on the mostly rural themes of his paintings, which were executed with fine academic technique. Some of his more outstanding works include "Moça com livro" [Young Woman with Book] (undated), owned by MASP, "Caipira picando fumo" [Caipira cutting tobacco] (1893) and "Amolação interrompida" [Interrupted Whetting] (1894).

Victor Meirelles
Victor Meirelles was a painter during the reign of Dom Pedro II (1840-1889) and taught artists such as Eliseu Visconti (1866-1944) and Almeida Júnior (1850-1899). He was admitted to the Academia Imperial de Belas Artes in 1847 and was awarded a travel grant to Europe in 1853, studying in Rome, Florence and Paris.

Meirelles was one of the artists responsible for the consolidation of historical painting in Brazil with his famous "Primeira missa no Brasil" [The First Mass in Brazil] (1861). Of this genre, the MASP collection includes the paintings "D. Pedro II" (1864) and "Dona Tereza Cristina" (1864).

MASP - Museu de Arte de São Paulo
Credits: Story

Art from Brazil until 1900
26.3 a 6.6.2015
Curatorial: Adriano Pedrosa and Tomás Toledo

Credits: All media
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