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Handwritten letter from Oscar Niemeyer to Athos Bulcão (1957)

Handwritten letter from Oscar Niemeyer to Athos Bulcão (1957)

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At the height of the construction of Brasília, the great Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer selected new collaborators with Athos Bulcão.

Handwritten letter, headed by the architect, from Oscar Niemeyer to Athos Bulcão. One page. In Portuguese. 21cm x 27.6cm. No information about location (probably Brasilia). 1957, 1958 or 1959. Very thin and fragile tissue paper, small wear on the margins and a larger tear (~2 cm, does not reach the text) on the right side. The list of architects mentioned by Niemeyer was not found. Single piece.



This is the list of architects. You can highlight those who attended and contributed to my house meeting.

The portrait is for using the head only, if necessary.



In 1956, President Juscelino Kubitschek (1902 - 1976) decided to build Brasília and entrusted the project to Oscar Niemeyer (1907 - 2012). The idea was to transfer the capital from Rio de Janeiro to the interior of the country, populating that region. People from all over the country, especially from the northeast, were hired to build the city, inaugurated in 1960. In this letter, the architect still used Oscar Niemeyer Filho on the stationery, an indication that it was written in 1957, 1958 or 1959, when the his father was still alive and Brasília was under construction.

First of all, this letter, a proof of Niemeyer's work methodology, provides information on the routine of hiring architects, as in the following extract from Oscar Niemeyer's biography, by Marcos Sá Corrêa:

At this end of the world, I needed a good conversation. I chatted with them about other subjects, I didn't need to talk only about architecture. All together, in a rush of popular houses already built. Comfort was little: a living room, two bedrooms, bathroom and kitchen. My room was small: a cot, a small temporary wardrobe and a bench as a bedside table.

Another notable point is the recipient of the correspondence, O Bulcão, alias Athos Bulcão (1918 - 2008). He was one of Niemeyer's main collaborators and is considered the decorator of Brasília. Bulcão's creations are now part of Brasília's landscape and heritage, especially his famous geometrically shaped tiles and marble panels. Born in Rio de Janeiro, Athos Bulcão left the capital of Rio de Janeiro for that of the Cerrado in 1958, when he was 40 years old (the time of this letter) and the federal capital was little more than a huge construction site.

Finally, we observe Niemeyer's informal signature that ends his letter with a rare "Oscar".

According to Brasiliana Itaú, "famous as an architect since the 1930s, Niemeyer signed numerous sketches, often presented to friends. On the other hand, his letters and manuscripts, especially with important content, like this one, are rarer."

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