Documents of 20th-century Latin American and Latino Art Home


Document first page thumbnail
  • ICAA Record ID
    A propósito de pintores e de suas relações com a luz regional / Gilberto Freyre
    Vida, forma e cor / Gilberto Freyre. --- Rio de Janeiro, Brasil : José Olympio, 1962
    p. 214- 218
    Book/pamphlet article – Essays
    Freyre, Gilberto. "A propósito de pintores e de suas relações com a luz regional."  In Vida, forma e cor, 214- 218. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: José Olympio, 1962.

In response to the article “Sociólogos versus Pintores” written by the art critic Mário Pedrosa, the Brazilian sociologist Gilberto Freyre speaks up in defense of the painter Candido Portinari. Freyre believes that this painter was treated unfairly in the article by Pedrosa. It is not that the painter is against “modernism,” Freyre points out, but that he is instead an enthusiast of the ties between region, tradition, and modernity. The writer certainly does not agree with Pedrosa’s statement that there is a conservative stance in the poetics of the “northeastern painters” (painters from northeastern Brazil). Instead, he sees the innovative nature of the work done by the artists in that region. Their direct contact with the European avant-gardes has encouraged these painters, each in his own way, to capture a meaning that clearly expresses the artist’s intrinsic, non-European characteristics. In Freyre’s opinion, Brazil’s innovative painters have been men native to the northern or northeastern region, and the typical light of painting from Pernambuco may be observed in their work. In his opinion, if the artists from Pernambuco choose other directions or geographical settings, they do it for reasons that strictly are motivated by the art market. Referring to his native city (Recife, the capital of Pernambuco), he believes that its brightness provides an ambience ideal for the training of an artist.

Leia esta sinopse em português

Resposta ao artigo "Sociólogos versus Pintores", escrito por Mario Pedrosa, em defesa do pintor Candido Portinari, que teria, a seu ver, sido injustiçado por Freyre. 
Aqui Freyre afirma não ser contra o modernismo, mas entusiasta da junção entre região, tradição e modernidade. Não aceita o argumento de que há um conservadorismo na poética de pintores nordestinos, afirmando o caráter renovador da obra de artistas da região. Estes, em contato direto com as vanguardas européias, conseguiram captar cada um o seu sentido sem perder suas características intrínsecas de artistas não-europeus. Freyre sugere que os renovadores da pintura brasileira teriam sido homens do Norte ou Nordeste.  Uma das características destacadas seria a existência de uma luz própria na pintura pernambucana, afirmando o autor que esta persiste mesmo na obra dos artistas que se encontram em outros contextos geográficos.
Contraargumenta que, se os artistas pernambucanos rumam para outros contextos geográficos, o fazem por questões de mercado, pois o Recife seria, com sua luz, ambiente ideal para se formar um artista.


b- Experiencia regional e renovação artística

Revert to English synopsis

Gilberto [de Mello] Freyre (1900-87) worked as a sociologist, anthropologist, historian, writer, and journalist. From the start, he was highly conscious of the great geographic and cultural distances that separated his region from the political and economic centers, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. As early as 1926, he proposed for his city, Recife, the Primeiro Congresso Regionalista do Nordeste (see the manifesto in [doc. no. 1074787]). This was an event that defended aspects of the culture and customs of his region (northeastern Brazil), a position that Freyre would defend, tooth and nail, with respect to two important painters. Unfortunately for the writer’s purposes, the two painters, Cícero Dias and Vicente do Rego Monteiro, each had spent long periods of time in France. Regarding Dias, see “O regional e o universal na pintura de Cícero Dias” [doc. no. 1075269]. Regarding Rego Monteiro, to whom the writer paid a visit in Paris, see “Notas a lapis sobre um pintor indiferente” [doc. no. 785071].


The document presented here is a response to an article written by Mário Pedrosa, “Sociólogos versus Pintores,” published in the Jornal do Brasil, in Rio de Janeiro. In this text, Pedrosa defends the painter Candido Portinari believing that he was the victim of an unfair assessment made by Freyre. Freyre challenges the idea that the painters from northeastern Brazil were “conservative;” that is to say, exclusively dedicated to the preservation of regional traditions.


Starting in the 1930s, Pedrosa had paid special attention to Portinari’s paintings. The article, “Impressões de Portinari,” was published in the Diário da Noite (São Paulo, 1934), emphasizing regional, ethnic/socially oriented works such as Café and Índia e mulata. Subsequently, he wrote about the historical mural of the conversion with the first mass in Brazil, in his article, “A missa de Portinari,” that appeared in the Correio da Manhã (August 8, 1948).

Leia este comentário crítico em português

Resposta ao artigo de Mario Pedrosa "Sociólogos versus Pintores", publicado no Jornal do Brasil, no Rio de Janeiro. Neste texto, Pedrosa faz uma defesa de Portinari, que o autor considerando ter sido injustiçado por Gilberto Freyre. Em sua tréplica, Freyre contesta a idéia de que os pintores nordestino seriam "conservadores", dedicados somente a preservar tradições.

Revert to English annotations
Clarissa Diniz; Gleyce Heitor, collaborator.
FAPESP, Sao Paulo, Brazil
Cortesia da Fundação Gilberto Freyre, Pernambucano, Brazil
Instituto Ricardo Brennand