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  • ICAA Record ID
    Tarsila / M. de A.
    Diário Nacional (Sao Paulo, Brasil). --- Dez.. 21, 1927
    Newspaper article – Crítica de arte
    Andrade, Mário de. " Tarsila." Diário Nacional (São Paulo, Brasil),  December 21, 1927.

Mário de Andrade, the writer and member of the Brazilian “modernist” movement—[this version of “modernism” had nothing to do with the literary movement headed by Rubén Darío that followed European avant-garde ideas]—described Tarsila do Amaral as the first artist to produce a work that expressed a “national reality” in spite of her involvement in the trends that were “most in vogue in universal painting.” In that pivotal year, when the Anthropophagus Movement was founded, her work reveals a technique and a “ruralism of forms and colors” that achieve what de Andrade calls an expression of the “national psychology.” As a backdrop to Mário de Andrade’s critical reading there are two paintings that are of fundamental importance to the movement mentioned above: A Negra [The Black Woman] and O abaporú [The Anthropophagus]. De Andrade also discusses a series of still lifes, painted by Tarsila in the latter part of the 1920’s, that he describes as having “a pungent smell of earth and flowers.” He goes on to describe the painter as “a person who, from the very beginning, took a unique position in the Brazilian modern art movement.” He clearly sees in her work a constant search for “an essentially local expression,” although within that “artistic essence that painting needs in order to truly be painting.” That self-reference—the painting referring to itself—is something rather radical for that moment in history when the goal was to find, at all costs, a national, indisputable essentialism.   

Leia esta sinopse em português

Mário de Andrade classifica Tarsila do Amaral como a primeira artista a realizar uma obra de "realidade nacional", afeita às correntes "mais em voga da pintura universal", mas dotada de uma técnica e de um "caipirismo de formas e cores" que a permitiram alcançar o que o autor chama de "psicologia nacional".
Mário comenta uma série de pinturas de natureza-morta que Tarsila realizara na segunda metade da década de 1920, telas que têm "cheiro forte de terra e de flor". O autor ainda define a pintora como "uma pessoa que tomou desde logo uma posição excepcional no movimento moderno das artes brasileiras".

Revert to English synopsis

The Pau-Brasil movement—Brazilwood, like the local timber that was exported during Brazil’s colonial period, from 1530 to 1822—included works by Oswald de Andrade, the painter Tarsila do Amaral (who was de Andrade’s wife at the time), and the Swiss-born poet Blaise Cendrars. The movement was founded in 1924, the result of a trip taken by a group of modern art aficionados to a number of historic cities and towns in the mining region of Minas Gerais. This trip was subsequently baptized the “Discovery of Brazil” caravan. At that time, Brazilian “modernism” was in search of a primitive or local form of expression, and identified with Indian culture and the rural landscape of São Paulo and Minas Gerais. The group kept up with international trends but also identified with the local “caipira” [interior of the country, rural, ranch] style. Tarsila do Amaral (1886–1973) studied under André Lhote (1885–1962) in Paris, although some of her oil paintings from that period reveal the unmistakable influence of Fernand Léger (1881–1955).


Mário de Andrade (1893–1945) was a seminal writer in the field of Brazilian “modernism” if we consider a key work written that same year, his essay about “Tarsila”—Macunaíma: o herói sem nenhum caráter [Macunaíma: A Hero With No Character] (1928) [Latin American version by Héctor Olea, Macunaíma (Barcelona: Seix Barral, 1977; Barcelona: Anagrama, 2005)]. In this novel-rhapsody, the author creates a “de-geographization” of the vast Brazilian territory—as indicated in its two (unpublished) prefaces—through the book’s combination of speech, terminology, flora, and fauna, all united by his imagination. An imagination that he underscores in his “Tarsila” essay by identifying in her “a creative imagination at the service of an intelligent and critical culture.” One of the most remarkable aspects of the cultural anthropophagous approach of the group from São Paulo is their desire for a nationality, but a more flexible ideal that can assimilate all manner of cultural traits and devour them. In that sense and with no prejudice whatsoever as he points out, Tarsila do Amaral’s work is able to assume the self-reference of the painting, just like the “artistic essence that painting needs in order to truly be painting.”

Leia este comentário crítico em português

O movimento Pau-Brasil reúne obras de Oswald de Andrade, Mário de Andrade e da pintora Tarsila do Amaral, assim como do poeta francês Blaise Cendrars. Foi desencadeado a partir de uma viagem realizada às cidades históricas de Minas Gerais, por uma grupo de adeptos da arte moderna , em 1924, também chamada pelo grupo de caravana da "descoberta do Brasil". Nessa etapa, o modernismo em busca de um teor primitivo e local se identifica não apenas com a cultura indígena, mas com o cenário rural de Minas Gerais e de São Paulo, com tratamento plástico a gosto "caipira".


b- Busca, construção e expressão de aspectos locais

b- Modernismo brasileiro e vanguarda européia

b- Primitivismo modernista

Revert to English annotations
José Augusto Ribeiro
FAPESP, Sao Paulo, Brazil
Courtesy of the family of Mário de Andrade, São Paulo, Brasil
Biblioteca do Instituto de Estudos Brasileiros - USP