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In this brief note published in the Brazilian newspaper Folha de São Paulo on January 25, 1959, the anonymous author comments that the Galeria de Arte das Folhas brought the year of 1958 to an end with a group exhibition of Concrete art. The note provides a list of the six artists who were included in the show: Waldemar Cordeiro, Kazmer Fejer, Mauricio N. Lima, Luis Sacilotto, Judite Lauand, and Hermelindo Fiaminghi. The author also observes that the Prêmio Leirner de Arte Contemporânea [Leirner Award for Contemporary Art] for 1958 still remained to be awarded. The short article concludes with the names of the artists and art enthusiasts who were present the day of the opening.
This document is part of The Adolpho Leirner Collection of Brazilian Constructive Art at The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.
The Galeria de Arte das Folhas was established in 1958 by Isaí Leirner (1903–1962), one of the directors of the Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo [Museum of Modern Art of São Paulo], with support from Grupo Folha, responsible, among others ventures, for the newspaper Folha de São Paulo. The idea behind the creation of the gallery was born out of a disagreement at the IV International Biennial of São Paulo in 1957. Flávio de Carvalho (1899–1973), who was excluded from the biennial, denounced bias on the part of the organizing committee for showing favoritism to Concrete art and discarding all figurative art. Because of this incident, Isaí Leirner organized a show, 12 Artists from São Paulo, in the lobby of the newspaper’s building on Alameda Barão de Limeira—a public promenade in the historic neighborhood Campos Elísios—which marked the opening of a space dedicated to the visual arts and which stood in direct opposition to the Biennial. Ironically, the exhibition referenced in this note, and organized only a year after the opening of the Galeria, was dedicated to Concrete art. The Galeria was active from 1958 until 1962, the year Leirner died.
The Prêmio Leirner de Arte Contemporânea was given out yearly after a group show with the individual artists who had exhibited the previous year. The winners of the Prêmio Leirner would have their work purchased by the Galeria and then donated to different museums in Brazil. As with the Galeria, the Prêmio Leirner lasted until 1962.
Some of the guests who attended the opening and whose photographs were published alongside the article included: Alfredo Volpi (1896–1988), Mario Zanini (1907–1971), Hermelindo Fiaminghi (1920–2004), Mauricio N. Lima (1930–1999), Kazmer Féjer (1922–1989), Waldemar Cordeiro (1925–1973), and Lothar Charoux (1912–1987), among many others.