Rosa Ramalho

Learn about the artist's universe through a text accompanied by a selection of works from the exhibition “All I want – Portuguese women artists from 1900 to 2020”

By Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation

Text by Lígia Afonso / Plano Nacional das Artes

She-monkey (1960) by Rosa RamalhoOriginal Source: Museu de Olaria / Município de Barcelos

Rosa Ramalho was the most renowned creator of Figurado de Barcelos [Figures of Barcelos]. These originate from a Neolithic clay tradition that is specific to this town in northern Portugal. Such figures are distinguished from other pottery pieces by their spontaneous, playful character, rather than being designed for any practical purpose.

She-monkey (1960) by Rosa RamalhoOriginal Source: Museu de Olaria / Município de Barcelos

She-monkey, 1960
Inorganic material, painted clay
13,2 x 8,2 cm
Museu de Olaria / Município de Barcelos, inv. 03.1.47

Monkey with chain (1960) by Rosa RamalhoOriginal Source: Museu de Olaria / Município de Barcelos

Monkey with chain, 1960
Inorganic material, glazed clay
25,5 x 15,3 x 8,1 cm
Museu de Olaria / Município de Barcelos, inv. 03.1.15

Big-headed man (1960) by Rosa RamalhoOriginal Source: Museu de Olaria / Município de Barcelos

Big-headed man, 1960
Inorganic material, painted clay
27,6 x 13,1 x 12,8 cm
Museu de Olaria / Município de Barcelos, inv. 03.1.21

Monkey Chicken (1965) by Rosa RamalhoOriginal Source: Museu de Olaria / Município de Barcelos

The clay modeller’s pieces are enigmatic and disconcerting, interweaving everyday life with fantastical and religious elements with abandon. The “dolls” that she used to mould and expand upon the tradition and imagery variously take the form of Christ figures, saints, devils and little shrines, “wild beasts” and hybrid creatures such as werewolves or men with the head of a donkey. Yet there are also women in ox-drawn carts and children on bicycles. Such pieces evoke and are infused with the narratives and ancestral rituals of the region.

Monkey Chicken (1965) by Rosa RamalhoOriginal Source: Museu de Olaria / Município de Barcelos

Ramalho’s pieces bear the standard traits of the form, but also have startling, grotesque features. They range from a monochrome ochre to exuberantly colourful creations.

Monkey Chicken (1965) by Rosa RamalhoOriginal Source: Museu de Olaria / Município de Barcelos

Monkey Chicken, 1965
Inorganic material, clay
27,1 x 20 x 13,3 cm
Museu de Olaria / Município de Barcelos, inv. 03.1.3

Fertilization (1965) by Rosa RamalhoOriginal Source: Museu de Olaria / Município de Barcelos

Fertilization, 1965
Inorganic material, clay
22,6 x 30 x 10,6 cm
Museu de Olaria / Município de Barcelos, inv. 03.1.13

Man with plough (1960) by Rosa RamalhoOriginal Source: Museu de Olaria / Município de Barcelos

Man with plough, 1960
Inorganic material, painted clay
10,9 x 21,4 x 8 cm
Museu de Olaria / Município de Barcelos, inv. 153

Big-headed woman (1960) by Rosa RamalhoOriginal Source: Museu de Olaria / Município de Barcelos

Cabeçuda, 1960
Inorganic material, painted clay
20,2 x 11,2 x 12,5 cm
Museu de Olaria / Município de Barcelos, inv. 03.1.24

Animal (1960) by Rosa RamalhoOriginal Source: Museu de Olaria / Município de Barcelos

Her unique work, an expression of the artist’s eccentricity and surreal vision, initially garnered support from contemporary artists – first António Quadros and later Ernesto de Sousa in the 1950s and 60s – against the backdrop of an ethnographic movement that would go on to encourage the breaking down of barriers between popular and high art, raising the profile of the former as ‘naive art’, free of the codes prevalent in modern and contemporary art.

Animal (1960) by Rosa RamalhoOriginal Source: Museu de Olaria / Município de Barcelos

Animal, 1960
Inorganic material, painted clay
14,6 x 7,6 x 8,8 cm
Museu de Olaria / Município de Barcelos, inv. 05.3.33

Adapted goat (1965) by Rosa RamalhoOriginal Source: Museu de Olaria / Município de Barcelos

Adapted goat, 1965
Inorganic material, glazed clay
17 x 21,6 x 10 cm
Museu de Olaria / Município de Barcelos, inv. 1693

Plate with monogram (1965) by Rosa RamalhoOriginal Source: Museu de Olaria / Município de Barcelos

Plate with monogram, 1965
Inorganic material, glazed clay
20,6 x 20 x 2,4 cm
Museu de Olaria / Município de Barcelos, inv. 1673

Credits: Story

Selection of works presented at the exhibition All I want: Portuguese women artists from 1900 to 2020, in its first moment at Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, Lisbon, within the scope of the cultural program that takes place in parallel to the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the European Union 2021.

Exhibition organized by the Portuguese Ministry of Culture, Directorate-General for Cultural Heritage (DGPC) and the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, in co-production with the Center of Contemporary Creation Olivier Debré, Tours, and with the collaboration of the Plano Nacional das Artes (Portugal).

Curators:
Helena de Freitas and Bruno Marchand


Text by Lígia Afonso / Plano Nacional das Artes


Learn more about Rosa Ramalho's works presented in the context of this exhibition:
All I want: Starting Point

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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