The most important feature of this document is its confirmation of which foreign entities agreed to a historic participation in the First São Paulo Biennial, one of which was the British Council. Mrs. Penteado had assistance from the staff at a number of Brazilian embassies and consulates, who helped her make contacts. In Holland she was in touch with Vincent van Gogh’s nephew as part of an attempt to arrange for a retrospective of the artist’s works at the Biennial. This proved to be impossible due to prior commitments, which prompted the Dutch government to send forty works by contemporary artists instead.
Yolanda de Ataliba Nogueira Penteado (1903–83), who was from a wealthy coffee-growing family in São Paulo, was married to the main promotor of the Biennial, Francisco “Ciccillo” Matarazzo. Her passion for the arts dates back to the time when she lived with her aunt, Mrs. Olívia Guedes Penteado, the grand sponsor of the Semana de Arte in 1922. Mrs. Penteado undoubtedly played a key role in the creation of international relationships that contributed to the organization of the São Paulo Biennial. She was able to use her social connections to make contact with the kind of people who could add an international flavor to the event that would provide a Latin American counterpart to the pioneering Venice Biennial.
[As complementary reading, see the following articles in the ICAA digital archive: by Lourival Gomes Machado “Apresentação” (1110834) and “Carta de Lourival Machado a D. Yolanda” (1110824); by Mário Pedrosa “Intróito à Bienal” (1090338); and by Fernando Cerqueira Lemos “Bienal quando nasce é para todos” (1110908)].