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Synopsis

This is an album of drawings and prints by Lasar Segall depicting the red light district in Rio de Janeiro known as “Mangue.” The album includes essays by the writers and poets Jorge de Lima, Mário de Andrade, and Manuel Bandeira. The first of these discusses the human aspect, lyricism, and technical economy in the works by the Lithuanian-born painter who lives in Brazil. Mário de Andrade contributes a theoretical essay about the expressive nature of the drawings. And Manuel Bandeira provides a history of the neighborhood where prostitution has flourished since the early nineteenth century. The images are of women, most of them mulattas or blacks.

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Synopsis

Álbum com desenhos e gravuras de Lasar Segall retratando a zona de prostituição conhecida como Mangue, na cidade do Rio de Janeiro. Reúne textos dos escritores Jorge de Lima, Mário de Andrade e Manuel Bandeira. O primeiro autor comenta a dimensão humana, o lirismo e a economia técnica na obra de Segall. Mário de Andrade apresenta um ensaio teórico sobre as especificidades expressivas do desenho. Manuel Bandeira descreve a história do bairro Mangue desde o início do século XIX. As imagens mostram prostitutas, sendo a maioria delas negras e mulatas.

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Annotations

Most of the prostitutes portrayed by the painter Lasar Segall in his album Mangue are of African descent. According to Manuel Bandeira, these women are not seductresses; their sadness and exhaustion can be seen in their faces. In their essays, the writers Jorge de Lima, Mário de Andrade, and Bandeira focus on the human side of the subject matter as well as certain formal aspects of Segall’s drawings, but pay scant attention to the prostitute’s ethnic features. Bandeira is the only one to make any mention of Segall’s artistic interest in documenting the social condition of blacks and Jews in this environment in Brazil. In his album Mangue, Segall shows the poverty-stricken lifestyle of these black women. Earlier in his career, Segall had been a member of the German expressionist movement, where he concentrated on exploring the Jewish racial experience and diaspora. After he had settled in Brazil, in 1923, he concentrated on similar subjects, such as social marginalization, loneliness, and poverty. According to Jorge Schwartz, once Segall was in Brazil he focused on the black experience until it became the core subject of his art.       

 

Lasar Segall (1891–1957) was born in Vilnius, Lithuania, where his family was part of the Jewish community. He enrolled in the School of Applied Arts in Berlin and, in the early years of the century, spent time at the Academy of Fine Arts. In 1912 he travelled to Brazil, where his brothers were already living. The Centro de Ciências e Artes de Campinas (São Paulo) bought one of his paintings: Cabeça de menina russa (1908). He returned to Europe during the First World War. Joining forces with a group of German painters (such as Otto Dix) he co-founded the Dresdner Sezession – Gruppe 1919. After an exhibition of Russian art in Hanover in 1921 he established a relationship with Kandinsky. In 1923 he returned to Brazil. He painted a mural at the Pavilhão de Arte Moderna, a meeting place for artists and intellectuals at the home of the great promoter of the Semana de Arte Moderna of 1922, Mrs. Olivia Guedes Penteado. The mural was reviewed by Mário de Andrade, who identified his “Brazilian phase” (1924–28). Segall took part in SPAM’s Primeira Exposição de Arte Moderno and the Spamolândia project in 1934. Three of his paintings and seven prints were featured in the Entartete Kunst Ausstellungsführer [Exhibition of Degenerate Art] organized by the Nazis in Munich in 1937 to discredit modern art. In the 1940s Segall traveled, painted stage sets, and illustrated books and magazines. His major work, Navio de emigrantes (1939–41), was highly praised by George Grosz.   

The noted critic, poet, musicologist, and cultural promoter Mário de Andrade (1893–1945) closely followed Segall’s career in Brazil, writing several articles outlining what he described as the painter’s “visual art biography” during the time he lived in Brazil. See the essay included, in 1943, in the Catálogo da exposição promovida pelo Ministério da Educação [doc. no. 783296]. Regarding the project promoted by the Sociedade Pró-Arte Moderna de São Paulo (SPAM, 1934), which Segall cofounded, see the statute written by Mário de Andrade [doc. no 783393]. 

Several months after Segall’s first visit to Brazil, Abílio Miller wrote about one of his exhibitions in Campinas, São Paulo (1913), in an article entitled “Um pintor de almas: a propósito de Lasar Segall” [doc. no. 1084988]. The Revista Acadêmica also published a tribute to Segall: “Número de homenagem a Lasar Segall” (82 pp.) in the mid-1940s [doc. no. 1110322]. 

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Annotations

A maior parte das prostitutas retratadas pelo pintor Lasar Segall no álbum Mangue são afro-descendentes. Como escreveu o poeta Manuel Bandeira, essas mulheres não são sedutoras. Ao contrário, suas feições denotam melancolia e cansaço. Os textos dos escritores Jorge de Lima, Mário de Andrade e Manuel Bandeira enfocam a dimensão humanista e aspectos formais dos desenhos de Segall, sem se ater às características étnicas das personagens. Apenas Manoel Bandeira aponta brevemente correspondências entre o interesse do artista em retratar a condição social de negros e judeus. Em Mangue, a presença das negras está aliada a sua condição de pobreza. Integrante do movimento expressionista alemão, o artista lituano Lasar Segall transferiu-se para o Brasil em 1923. Sua obra configura-se como uma via de reflexão sobre a exclusão social, a solidão e a miséria. De acordo com Jorge Schwartz - estudioso da arte moderna no Brasil - após a vinda de Segall para o país, a temática negra torna-se um dos pontos centrais de sua produção.

Ver também: BOPP, Raul. Urucungo. Poemas Negros. Rio de Janeiro: Ariel, [1932?]; LIMA, Jorge de. Essa negra Fulô. Maceió: Typ. da Casa Trigueiros, 1928; LIMA, Jorge de. Poemas Negros. Rio de Janeiro: R. A. Editora, 1947; SCHWARTZ, Jorge. Lasar Segall: um punto de confluencia de um itinerário afrolatinoamericano em los años veinte. In: D’HORTA, " (curad.). Lasar Segall: un expresionista brasileño. São Paulo: Museu Lasar Segall; MALBA; Museu de Arte Moderno, 2002.

d1- Modernistas: a visão do mestiço e poemas sobre o negro

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Researcher
Equipe Brasil: Ana Maria Moraes Belluzzo
Team
FAPESP, Sao Paulo, Brazil
Credit
Courtesy of the family of Mário de Andrade, São Paulo, Brasil
Museu Lasar Segall/IBRAM/Minc
Location
Biblioteca do Instituto de Estudos Brasileiros da USP