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Handwritten letter from Candido Portinari (1945)

Handwritten letter from Candido Portinari (1945)

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"I've been working a little, but now I'm going to start."

  • Unpublished handwritten letter from Candido Portinari to Marques Rebelo.
  • One page.
  • 21 cm x 28.2 cm.
  • In Portuguese.
  • Brodowski, February 1, 1945.
  • Excellent condition, top left corner burnt (without damage to the text).
  • Unique piece.

Brodowski. 1 - 2 - [1]945

Dear Marques

I received your letter and it was a / pleasant surprise to know / that you are going to Buenos Aires / to take a / painting exhibition and that old Santos / is also participating. Every day where / they are both I go / even without knowing what / it is for. That's why you can / count on that at the end of / March you will have my / contribution. / I've been working little / but now I'm going to start / working. / If you want to take a trip / this will give pleasure to / all Portinaris. / Memories of Mary and everyone / for you all. Hugs from yours/old Portinari (signed)

There are some names that mark generations, some, perhaps, that write the history of a country, but few are those that become recognized for their cultural contributions beyond geographical borders. These people transform humanity and create forms of expression that define the world after their passing. It is not difficult to remember some examples, Leonardo Da Vinci, Virginia Woolf, Marie Curie, however, which Brazilian personality would we think of for this list?

Perhaps one of the first names that comes to mind is that of the painter Candido Portinari (1903 - 1962), author of more than 500 works of art, including War and Peace, exhibited at the United Nations Headquarters in New York since 1956. Portinari was born on a coffee farm, in the city of Brodowski, in the interior of São Paulo, in 1903. His artistic vocation emerged during his childhood, still young, Portinari abandoned his studies, and at the age of 14 he joined a troupe of Italian painters and sculptors. At 16, he decided to bet everything on his talent, left São Paulo and moved to Rio de Janeiro, to study at the National School of Fine Arts.

From then on, Portinari's career took off, with awards, trips and international exhibitions that made the artist explore the world. One of these exhibitions took place at the MNBA, in 1954, in Buenos Aires, organized by Marques Rebelo, a writer recognized for his literary work and for being a promoter of Brazilian painting and literature abroad. The letter signed by Portinari and addressed to Marques reveals that participating in such an exhibition was a pleasant surprise for the painter. Portinari stated that wherever Marques was, he would be there, “even without knowing what he is for”, which demonstrates great confidence on the artist's part. In the letter, Portinari also reveals details of his life and invites Marques to visit, would they, in addition to their obvious artistic affinities, be good friends? Portinari's affectionate hug at the end of his missive seems to indicate yes.

Although Portinari accepted the invitation without hesitation, the year 1945 was a troubled period in the painter's life, active in the party political movement. This year, Portinari ran for federal deputy for the Brazilian Communist Party. He was not elected either on that occasion, nor in 1947, when he ran again, this time for the position of senator, however, such political determination led him to exile in Uruguay in 1948 after a series of threats.

A painter with strong ideals expressed in his work that portrays miscegenation and daily life in Brazil, Portinari, son of Italian immigrants, showed the world the peculiarities and strength of the Brazilian people, of which he was a great defender. His passion for painting cost him his life, the artist died due to poisoning caused by the paints he used in his paintings. Portinari lived his love to the end and taught that a great artist can come from the humblest of origins and still reach the most distant corners of the world, through his dedication and talent.

Letters by Candido Portinari are extremely rare, this is the first one we present in the Glórias collection.

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