Vieira da Silva

until October 26

The Municipal Museum of Óbidos receives on August 1 the work of Vieira da Silva, a dialogue between artists. Josefa d’Obidos, ( XVII century painter) and Maria Helena Vieira da Silva ( XX century painter) coexist until October 26 in this common space, which is the Municipal Museum of Óbidos.

An exhibition that happens inserted in the celebrations of the 20th anniversary of the International Piano Week of Obidos (SIPO) and Arpad Szenes – Vieira da Silva Foundation. Óbidos receives between their walls this project, which connects a set of institutions that contribute strongly to art and Portuguese artists.

EXHIBITION ENGRAVING - Vieira da Silva Óbidos


The Arpad Szenes – Vieira da Silva Foundation  has in its collection a significant engraving collection of Maria Helena Vieira da Silva. Between set of 286 engravings were selected 33 for its technical representation – ranging from the chisel to water paint, screen printing and lithography; by its date of production, ranging from 1960 to 1991 ie the whole maturity period of the artist; and also by its thematic and plastic diversity, more abstract representations of the figurative representations, all of them resulting in a similar way of the artist in painting.

This set presented is thus an indicator graphic route of another path, the pictorial. In the case of multiple works on paper and, consequently, framed under glass, it is easier to roaming exposure as making known to all public the work of the largest Portuguese artist of the twentieth century.


“The painting has its own meaning throughout the plastic work of Vieira da Silva that does not disturb their development or modify its meaning. The artist begins in the techniques of etching, the burin and dry point in 1929, in the famous Atelier 17 directed by Stanley William Hayter in Paris. Quick start, because only in 1960 the chisel technique is taken when making the prints for L’Inclémence Lointaine of René Char. Same with lithography (the first date of 1948), taking over in 1961, after some experiences that do not satisfy her.

The screen printing is practiced occasionally, the insistent requests from the art dealer Pierre Loeb and Lourdes Castro and René Bertholo, Portuguese artists living in Paris. Of all the techniques, Vieira da Silva prefers the chisel, the picture in black and white, the light that allows the contrasts with the range of gray.

The color lithography raises reticence and reserve, the opacity and lack of quality of printing inks. Demand transparency leads her to prefer the Japan paper, brighter.

The graphic work of Vieira should not be seen as a reducing production because the artist always made sure to control the editing of multiple who signed with the same requirement that had to her work.

The different techniques, with specific characteristics and constraints, not conditioned the creator goal: find, with these or other titles and its variations, topics such as libraries, labyrinths, cities, stations, gardens, Tiles.

EXHIBITION ENGRAVING - Vieira da Silva Óbidos

The concern of the artist focused in these as in other techniques, the description of the time, the suggestion of space. Several art historians report that Vieira da Silva’s work is characterized by a meditation on the Square, the birthplace of tile, whose characteristic is to be multiple. Linked to time and space, isolated tile is an instant; their multiplication presupposes a duration, at your disposal traces a perspective and your clutter can confuse it.

Both the cities or Libraries that Vieira “talks” allude to time, history and space. Books can be homes, your organization on the shelves are buildings and streets, the gardens are subverted by the seasons and themes like Atlantis exploit the time and the legendary space.

As in painting, Vieira da Silva tried by the picture describe the world and unravel its complexity, suggesting space, over time, using metaphors and metamorphoses. This set of prints unveils its attempts to translate the reality that never corresponds to the way we got used to seeing her in a plastically credible manner. “

Marina Bairrão Ruivo

Director of the Museu Arpad Szenes – Vieira da Silva _ Lisboa


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