Friday, December 13, 2013

68. Centrode Arte Moderno Lisboa

Today’s adventure takes me on a short walk - with no hills in sight !!! - from home past my buddies at the zoo to the Lisbon Centre of Modern Art.


Created in 1983 this Centre for Modern Art is devoted to artworks from the 20th and 21st centuries focusing on Portuguese art produced in the first decades of the 20th century. So I was very interested to see what was on show – and I was not disappointed. 
This beautifully spacious contemporary gallery with its clever spot lighting effects make for a very relaxed and easy viewing ... coupled with the fact that now as winter and Christmas fast approach, tourist numbers here have fallen dramatically, and on this occasion I practically had the gallery to myself ...   
For Men Only - Peter Phillips - collage - 1961
Audience - Pedro Barateiro - 16 chairs & concrete - 2008 
Alphabet 1 - Joao Vieira - oils - 1981 
Library on fire - Maria Helena Vieira da Silva - oils - 1952
The Orange Tree - Maria Helena Vieira da Silva - oils - 1958
Close II - Antony Gormley - fibreglass - 1993 
Painting - Pierre Soulages - oils - 1954

One of the more pleasing sights that I have seen when visiting the many galleries on my travels, is the large number of school groups of all ages from the likes of these youngsters right up to university age young men and women, being tutored to by gallery curators. Just look how interested these kids are ... At this gallery I could count the number of adult visitors on one hand - whereas there were six school groups all learning about art appreciation ...
Ladies at the Table - Cristiano Cruz - oils - 1931 
Blue Symphony - Antonio Carneiro - oils 1920
Viewing exhibitions in a gallery can be a big strain on all the senses - and here at the CAM it was refreshing to be able to switch off the art and focus the brain onto the calming Autumn colours through the windows into the garden outside ...   
untitled - Lino Antonio - oils - 1923 
Natacha - Lino Antonio - tempera - 1928 
The Farewell - Diogo de Macedo - bronze - 1920 
Peasant Women - Jorge Barradas - oils on wood - 1937 
Washer Women - Jorge Barradas - oils on wood - 1939 
Abduction - Antonio Pedro - oils - 1946 
Leszek Mierzwa - Craigie Horsfield - gelatine silver print on paper - 1984 
K5 - Michael Biberstein - acrylics - 1991 
BL-HY - Antonio Sena - acrylics - 1979
Peelings - Maria Beatriz - mixed media - 2001
detail - cotton painted with acrylics
no details ...

The permanent collection was very interesting, but the highlight of my visit to the MAC was to stumble onto this wonderfully exciting retrospective exhibition of works by Portuguese artist Amadeo de Souza-doso.

Amadeo was born in 1887 and at the age of 18, he entered the Superior School of Fine Arts of Lisbon to study architecture. Lasting only one year at the college he then moved to Paris, where he intended to continue his studies but soon quit the architecture course and started studying painting. By then, he was especially experienced in caricatures, and many of these pen and ink on paper drawings are included in this exhibition.
During those early years of the turn of the century he became friends with - and fell under the influence of - other great artists of those times, such as Gertrude Stein, Amedeo Modigliani, Antoni Gaudi and the like.

All of his works on exhibition were either untitled or had long titles in Portuguese - so I have not included the titles under each painting - all his paintings are oils on canvas and represent his brief artistic career from 1910 to 1917.

His early works, under the tutelage of the Spanish painter Anglada Camarasa, were stylistically close to impressionism. Around 1910, influenced both by cubism and by futurism, he became one of the first modern Portuguese painters. His style is aggressive and vivid both in form and colour and his works may seem random or chaotic in their compositional structure at first sight but are clearly defined and balanced. 


He died a young man at the age of just 31 years. After his death in 1918, his work remained almost unknown until 1952, when a room dedicated to his paintings in a Lisbon Museum gained the public's attention and his reputation as a leading 20th century Portuguese artist took hold.

I hope you enjoyed these vibrant paintings as much as I did ... and after a couple of hours in the cosy warmth of this wonderful gallery, I ventured back out into the cool of an early winter's afternoon to explored the gardens around the Centre.

Next blog I have a pretty amazing church and museum to take you to ...