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.
In this review, Reynaldo Roels, Jr. discusses the work of Milton Dacosta, an example of a geometric painter who was not beholden to the dogmatism of the groups that shaped the development of modern art in the 1950s. Dacosta, along with other artists who worked with constructive principles but were not formally linked to any group, was included in an exhibition, Geometric Abstractionism 2 at the Galeria Rodrigo M. F. de Andrade. What distinguishes this exhibition, Roels writes, is the absence of dogmatic concretism and neoconcretism, and a freedom of treatment of geometry. Curator Ligia Canongia exhibited 19 original canvases by Dacosta, who was famously reluctant to lend his work, with the help of the artist’s son.
Reynaldo Roels, Jr. (1951–2009) was an art critic for Jornal do Brasil in the 1980s. A curator and art historian in addition to critic, Roels was later the Curator of the Gilberto Chateaubriand Collection at MAM-RJ and directed the Escola de Artes Visuais do Parque Lage during an important period of reevaluation of Brazilian cultural history and debates about the “return to painting.”
Milton Rodrigues da Costa (1915–1988) was a painter, designer, printmaker, and illustrator from Niterói. In 1931, he helped to found the Núcleo Bernardelli, a group of young students at the Escola Nacional de Belas Artes who were interested in updating Brazilian art instruction methods. In 1945, he moved to New York to study at the Art Students League. The following year, he traveled to Europe, settling in Paris to study at the Académie de La Grande Chaumière. Through Brazilian painter Cicero Dias, Dacosta met Pablo Picasso and Georges Rouault, and attended Georges Braque's ateliers. After exhibiting at the Salon d’Automne in 1947, he returned to Brazil and married the painter Maria Leontina. In this article, Roels marvels at the hanging of works by Leontina and Dacosta side by side.
[For more by Reynaldo Roels Jr., see the following articles in the ICAA digital archive: “A Arte e as Coisas” (doc. no. 1293883), “Arte Construtiva: O Brasil como Projeto” (doc. no. 1293915), and “A arte do AI-5 hoje” (doc. no. 1110475). For more on Milton Dacosta, see by Walmir Ayala “Milton Dacosta” (doc. no. 1316485); by Jayme Mauricio “Cortaram a luz do ‘Melhor pintor brasileiro’ da III Bienal” (doc. no. 1232758); and by Gloria Ferreira “A greve das cores” (doc. no. 1307631)].