The editorial categories are research topics that have guided researchers during the recovery phase and continue to be the impetus behind the Documents Project’s digital archive and the Critical Documents book series. Developed by the project’s Editorial Board, each of the teams analyzed this framework and adapted it to their local contexts in developing their research objectives and work plans during the Recovery Phase. Learn more on the Editorial Framework page.
This is a letter from Lourival Gomes Machado, director of the I Bienal do Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo, to Yolanda Penteado, one of the organizers of the event. Gomes Machado is writing to update Penteado on negotiations with representatives from England, France, Belgium, and Holland about the first edition of the São Paulo Biennial (1951), to prepare her for her visits to these countries where she will finalize details on the forthcoming event.
Carta e Lourival Gomes Machado (diretor da I Bienal do Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo) a Yolanda Penteado, mulher de Ciccillo Matarazzo, colocando-a a par das negociações das representações nacionais da Inglaterra, da França, da Bélgica e da Holanda para a I Bienal de São Paulo (1951), preparando-a para sua viagem àqueles países para fechar as negociações.
This letter lists the institutions and names that were contacted in the various European countries, indicating which organizations or agencies represented them at that time (British Council, Action Artistique—that was later known as the Association Française d’Action Artistique, and today is called Cultures France—and the Dutch Information Service). Itamaraty was obviously involved on behalf of Brazil (through the Minister, Souza Leão). This letter documents the relationships that Brazil had with several European countries as regards the organization of the 1st São Paulo Biennial. The reference to entities such as the British Council and Action Artistique indicates the level of official cooperation that existed between the Fundação Bienal de São Paulo and those foreign organizations. The letter also shows that the São Paulo Biennial was the result of an entirely Brazilian effort in the 1950s, and was not just copied from a foreign model.
Lourival Gomes Machado (1917?67) was a journalist, art critic, and art historian. In 1941 he joined forces with intellectuals such as Antonio Candido, Paulo Emílio Salles Gomes, and Décio de Almeida Prado to publish Clima (São Paulo), a magazine designed to promote a renewal in the fields of Brazilian literary, cinema, and theater criticism. During that decade he was the art critic at the newspaper Folha da Manhã and covered world politics as a columnist at O Estado de S. Paulo. When the Belgian curator Léon Degand quit his job, Gomes Machado took his place as Director of the MAM/SP (Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo) (1949–51). His best-known work, Barroco Mineiro (1969), is a collection of articles on the subject, a project he began in 1953 with Teorias do Barroco.
To view this letter from a different perspective, see the introduction to the I Bienal del Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo written by Gomes Machado, in which he explains the objectives behind the organization of that grand event in “Apresentação” [doc. no. 1110834].
The Grande dame of society and coffee heiress Yolanda Penteado (1903–83) and her second husband, the Italian-Brazilian industrialist Francisco (Ciccillo) Matarazzo (1898–1977), were responsible for organizing the I Bienal do Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo, which opened to the public on October 8, 1951; they also organized the 2nd Biennial in 1953. Both Biennials contributed a great deal to the importance that this international event would achieve.
In addition to her involvement in the Bienal do Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo, Penteado played a key role in the founding of the Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo (MAM-SP), working closely with the newspaper magnate Assis Chateaubriand (1892–1968). Her entire private collection was donated to the Universidade de São Paulo as a basis for the Museu de Arte Contemporánea da USP. After founding these museums and events in the major Brazilian cities, she embarked on a joint initiative with Chateaubriand to open Regional Museums in the 1950s and 1960s, at Olinda (Pernambuco), Campina Grande (Rio Grande do Norte), and Feira de Santana (Bahia), among others.
Ao listar as instituições e nomes de contatos nos respectivos países, a carta revela quais são as instituições estrangeiras por trás das representações nacionais daquela época (British Council, Action Artistique - depois Association Française d’Action Artistique, hoje Cultures France - e o Serviço de Informações Holandês). No caso brasileiro, o envolvimento direto do Itamaraty (na figura do Ministro Souza Leão). Este documento testemunha a organização e as relações travadas entre o Brasil e os países europeus para a realização da I Bienal de São Paulo. Por citar nominalmente os órgãos de alguns dos países visitados (caso do British Council e da Action Artistique), é possível recuperar a longa colaboração entre a Fundação Bienal de São Paulo e tais órgãos estrangeiros. Além disso, o documento revela que a iniciativa da Bienal de São Paulo constitui, de fato, um projeto nacional nos anos 1950, e não uma mera reprodução de um modelo estrangeiro.
Ver também: PENTEADO, Yolanda. Cartas e Telegramas de D. Yolanda. Mar. 1951.
m- Bienal de São Paulo
m- Estratégias de visibilidade local e intercâmbio cultural