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 undated note, addressed to the artist Almir Mavignier, Adolpho Leirner writes to confirm receipt of his letter and thank him for sharing his memories. “I must tell you that I was thrilled to learn that your son continues his father’s work,” he writes. He mentions the recent publication of Aracy Amaral’s book Arte Construtiva no Brasil Coleção Adolpho Leirner, a copy of which Leriner had sent the artist.
Born in Rio de Janeiro, Almir Mavignier (b. 1925), studied under the Hungarian painter Arpad Szenes, but, inspired by Mário Pedrosa’s essay “Da natureza afetiva da forma na obra de arte,” abandoned naturalism in favor of abstraction in 1949. Along with Ivan Serpa and Abraham Palatnik (whom he mentions in this letter), Mavignier formed a new group of abstract artists working in Rio de Janeiro. The group established links with Argentine concretism through Tomás Maldonado and his wife, Lidy Prati, and, through Geraldo de Barros, with the abstract artists working in São Paulo. Mavignier participated in the first São Paulo biennial in 1951, the year he had his first solo exhibition at the MAM-SP. Also that year, he attended classes at the Académie de La Grande Chaumière in Paris, arriving in Zurich the following year as Max Bill was forming his Hochschule für Gestaltung. In 1953, Mavignier joined the first class of the school in Ulm, studying under Josef Albers, Johannes Itten and Otl Aicher, among many others. After graduating, Mavignier established himself as a graphic designer in Ulm, where he maintained a professional workshop until 1971, when he moved to Hamburg. Though he often exhibited with Brazilian concrete artists, he remained in Hamburg throughout his career.
Aracy Amaral (b. 1930) is an art historian, critic, and curator who served as director of the Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo (1975–79) and of the MAC-USP (Museu de Arte Contemporânea da Universidade de São Paulo, 1982–86). She is currently a professor of Art History FAU-USP. She is the author of many books about Brazilian art, including the text referred to here, Arte Construtiva no Brasil Coleção Adolpho Leirner. That text accompanied an exhibition of the same name at MAM-SP, from October 2–December 20, 1998. In 2000, Amaral curated mavignier 75, a survey of Mavignier’s contributions to the importance of graphic arts in Concretism that included installations made with his son, Delmar, at the MAM-SP. This document belongs to the Adolpho Leirner Archives at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, contributed by the collector himself.
[For related material, see the following documents in the ICAA digital archive: “Letter from Almir Mavignier to Adolpho Leirner” (doc. no. 1317498); by Murilo Mendes “Almir Mavignier” (doc. no. 1090273); by José Gómez Sicre “Abraham Palatnik of Brazil, Kinetic Effects in Art” (doc. no. 1222582); by Flávio de Aquino “Flávio de Aquino: fala de Ulm” (doc. no. 1111182); and by Mário Pedrosa “Ivan Serpa expõe em Washington, E.U.A.” (doc. no. 1090373)].