In 1957 the major art promoters in São Paulo noticed that important figurative artists had been excluded from the biennial, which was more focused on Concrete art. As a result, the industrialist Isaí Leirner (who was, at the time, the director of the Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo) sponsored an alternative exhibition of works by twelve São Paulo artists. This first exhibition—which was later called the Prêmio Leirner de Arte Contemporânea—was held in the lobby of the building where the newspaper Folha de São Paulo had its offices. Leirner eventually created a space specifically for this purpose, known as the Galeria de Arte das Folhas (which was open from 1958 to 1962), where exhibitions, debates, lectures were organized to discuss a wide range of trends and styles other than the ones endorsed by the organizers of the Bienal de São Paulo. Leirner and the other businessmen who were involved in the Galeria often bought the works exhibited there, which they then donated to various museums, thus contributing to the institutional recognition of participating artists. During its four-year lifespan the Galeria introduced many emerging artists, such as: Franz Weissmann, Regina Silveira, Maria Helena Andrés, Mário Silésio, Emiliano Di Cavalcanti, Willys de Castro, and Hermelindo Fiaminghi, among others. [See the entire catalogue in the ICAA Digital Archive: “Prêmio Leirner de Arte Contemporânea, 1960” (1232976).]
This catalogue was produced for the exhibitions of works by Italo Cencini, Mario Zanini, Edith Jiménez, and Antônio Henrique Amaral, all of whom were prizewinners at the 1960 Leirner Prize. It includes a photo of the artist at work, a biographical essay, and a list of the works in the exhibition.
[For more information about the prizes, see “Samson Flexor” (1316704) by Luis Martins; “Paulo Rissone” (1322939) by Geraldo Ferraz; “Murilo Penteado” (1322939) by Oswald de Andrade Filho; “Moacyr Rocha” (1309168) and “Niobe Xandó” (1309188) both by Wolfgang Pfeiffer; see also “Raúl Porto” (1309108) by Décio Pignatari.]