The Feminine in the Work of Victor Brecheret
“O Feminino na Obra de Victor Brecheret” (“The Feminine in the Work of Victor Brecheret”) presents sculptures and drawings that alternate between different materials and techniques, such as bronze and marble, pen and ink and fountain pen, produced over decades by this essential artist on the national and international scene. Curated by Daisy Peccinini, it unites more than 100 works, with sculptures related to the eternal feminine, symbolism of the Earth, the Great Mother, the goddess Gaia, Geia, of the Greeks. Brecheret's works are characterized by drawing with few lines, clean and light, female images that take shape from a few strokes.
From 22 de setembro de 2023
Until 21 de janeiro de 2024
Room 1Plan your visit
FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THE EXHIBITION
The Oscar Niemeyer Museum (MON) is holding the exhibition “O Feminino na Obra de Victor Brecheret” (“The Feminine in the Work of Victor Brecheret”), which can be seen in Room 1 from the 22nd of September. Curated by Daisy Peccinini, the exhibition presents more than 100 works by this important name in the national and international scene of visual arts.
“The purpose of art is to express feelings, thoughts, and beliefs through aesthetic values. That's what happens in this potent exhibition”, says MON's director-president, Juliana Vosnika. “Exhibitions like this justify our relentless quest to bring more and more visitors to this enjoyment of knowledge, beauty, and reflection promoted by the Museum.”
Culture Secretary Luciana Casagrande Pereira Ferreira sees each exhibition as a journey that helps build MON as one of the most important cultural institutions on the continent. “This perspicacity in bringing together different languages, times, and proposals enriches the institution's history. Now, it's the turn of the great master Victor Brecheret to charm and seduce the spectator's eye. The state of Paraná welcomes this new cut of its works with great honor”, says the secretary.
The exhibition “The Feminine in the Work of Victor Brecheret” features sculptures and drawings that alternate materials and various techniques, such as bronze and marble, pen and ink, produced over decades. His works are characterized by drawing with few lines, clean and light. Feminine images take shape from a few lines.
In this incredible selection of works, we have the privilege of finding the last one created by the artist, in 1955: the bronze sculpture “Retrato de Marisa” (“Portrait of Marisa”), a unique opportunity for contemplation. Also part of the set is the portrait “Juranda Brecheret”, the sculptor's wife, at the time of their wedding.
The curator talks about the exhibition, which features Brecheret's art related to the eternal feminine. “In the artist's psyche, moods, feelings, intuitions, the ability to love and sensitivity to nature take shape in his works,” says Daisy.
According to her, the small, medium, and large sculptures in this exhibition are predominantly female nudes related to the feminine symbolism of the Earth, the Great Mother, the Greek goddess Gaia, Geia, the primordial and latent element of an unlimited generating potential.
Brecheret's drawings are presented on condition of their singularity, as an autonomous expression of artistic creation, independent of the sculptures on display. Most of the 80 drawings date from the last decades of his life and constitute the initial materialization of the idea. “Sculptures and drawings contain latencies, intangible emanations of the female archetype, originating from the artist's psyche”, concludes the curator.
The exhibition “The Feminine in the Work of Victor Brecheret” is a partnership between the Oscar Niemeyer Museum and the Victor Brecheret Institute (IVB).
The exhibition presents the art of Brecheret, related to the eternal feminine. In the artist's psyche, moods, feelings, intuitions, the ability to love, and sensitivity to nature take shape in his works.
The small, medium, and large sculptures in this exhibition are predominantly female nudes related to the feminine symbolism of the Earth, the great Mother, and the goddess Gaia – Geia, from the Greeks, the primordial and latent element of unlimited generative potentiality.
In different materials and belonging to different moments of his artistic path, they trigger a special invitation to experience not only the aesthetics of forms, in the material presence of female bodies, but also to capture the soulful atmosphere of the works that their creator imprinted on the material.
Meanings are multiple, from the focus on the female body to allegories, portraits, love, rhythm, music, and sacred figures. They establish an extremely strong dialogue between the bodies, between the pieces and the visitor, offering the pleasure of the sensitive, triggered by their physical presence, in the same space. Walking around the sculptures creates visual, emotional, and sensitive sensations of form, light, and color, adding to the contemplation of meaning.
Brecheret's drawings are presented in the condition of their uniqueness, as an autonomous expression of artistic creation, independent of the exhibited sculptures. The 80 drawings, for the most part, date from the last decades of his life (1935-1955), predominating the years 1940-1950. They are the initial materialization of the idea.
He drew continuously, almost compulsively, without models. The female bodies retain a natural and light sensuality, and are structured employing a few, clear and long strokes, made in graphite, pen, and ink; few have crosshatching. Grouped into seven sets, the drawings allow the eye to perceive its intense need to create forms.
Sculptures and drawings contain latencies, intangible emanations of the female archetype, coming from the artist's psyche.
By holding the exhibition “O Feminino na Obra de Victor Brecheret” (“The Feminine in the Work of Victor Brecheret”), the Oscar Niemeyer Museum presents its public with an inspiring set that allows not only contemplation but reflection.
The purpose of art is to express feelings, thoughts, and convictions using aesthetic values. That is what happens in this potent exhibition, where the viewer can find more than 100 works by Brecheret, such an important name in the national and international scene of visual arts.
There are sculptures and drawings that alternate materials and techniques, such as bronze and marble, pen and ink, produced over decades. His work is characterized by drawing with few lines, clear and light. Feminine images take shape from a few lines.
In this incredible selection of works, we have the privilege of finding the last one made by the artist, in 1955: the bronze sculpture “Retrato de Marisa” (“Portrait of Marisa”), a unique opportunity for contemplation.
As the largest art museum in Latin America in a built-up area, MON houses important references of national and international artistic production in its respected collection of more than 14,000 works. Famous for its immense free span and the iconic Eye building, it is a unique space, a sculptural work by the homonymous architect, which holds significant exhibitions, such as Brecheret.
In a constant search to become more and more alive and active, nationally and internationally, MON offers one more great accomplishment. Exhibitions such as this justify our incessant quest to bring more and more visitors to this enjoyment of knowledge, beauty, and reflection promoted by the Museum.
Juliana Vellozo Almeida Vosnika
Director-President | Oscar Niemeyer Museum
The Victor Brecheret Institute (IVB) is very pleased to present the exhibition “O Feminino na Obra de Victor Brecheret” (“The Feminine in the Work of Victor Brecheret”), in partnership with the Oscar Niemeyer Museum (MON) and which has its theme women through Victor Brecheret's creativity.
This exhibition is an important part of the artist's work, featuring a selection of sculptures dedicated to the female gender, which comprises more than three decades of inspiration and careful execution.
The exhibition is of great temporal coverage. It presents pieces from the period from 1918 to 1955, highlighting the various phases and trends of his career.
The sculptures are from different periods and different materials, such as marble, stone from France, plaster, granite stone rolled by the sea, patinated bronze, and polished bronze. Eighty drawings accompany the sculptures and help the audience to understand the initial steps of artistic creation.
The artist not only looks for the figure, surfaces, volumes, and composition but, above all, those resulting from his dedicated and intense creativity, which, by molding the material, makes it emanate the feminine soul and the symbolic, historical, and aesthetic values of the universal woman.
On display are, among others, significant works from the time when the sculptor gained prominence at the School of Paris when he conquered his definitive space in world sculpture.
The repertoire of this exhibition, in its richness and diversity, built around the figure of women, is extremely revealing of the high quality of Brecheret's art, which, combined with perception and sensitivity, allows those who see it to delve in-depth and extension into the feminine soul.
In this way, the IVB (Victor Brecheret Institute) fulfills its main mission, significantly contributing to the dissemination and understanding of Brecheret's life and work.
Once again, this exhibition demonstrates the richness of readings and understandings that Victor Brecheret's sculptural work offers researchers, scholars, collectors, students, and the general public.
It is important to register the seriousness and competence of the people and entities involved in the realization of this exhibition, to which the Victor Brecheret Institute would like to express its greatest gratitude.
Victor Brecheret Filho
President | Victor Brecheret Institute
Sculptures of the naked female body date back to prehistoric times, as a totem and fetish. In Classic Antiquity, a sculpture of female or male nudes was considered the perfect representation of human beings, as well as in the Renaissance and Neoclassicism.
The vanguards, Cubism and Futurism, infused the human body with machinery, transforming it into volumes and planes. In the 1920s, Art Déco mixed tubist geometry with Eastern influences, among others, elements present in “Mulher Ajoelhada” (“Kneeling Woman”), in polished bronze. In the 1930s and 1940s, his sculptures showed greater naturalism, under a discreet geometric discipline and greater sensuality, as in the bronzes “Mulher Reclinada” (1930s) (“Reclining Woman”) and “Adolescente Reclinada” (1940s) (“Reclining Adolescent”).
In the beginning, the artist made strong allegories, women who catalyzed the dramatic tension. In the phase of the School of Paris, he addressed the mythological theme of the “Três Graças” (“Three Graces”) or “Carites”, a symbol of harmony. He created a modern and innovative version, like allegories of the three human races. At a time when racist theories were expanding, Brecheret proposed harmony and equality between them, uniting the three allegories shoulder-to-shoulder in a central axis. At the same time, he created another “Três Graças”, in polished bronze, a rare abstract geometric composition. In the 1950s, he resumed the same theme and technical solution but used organic and primitive forms covered with incisions evoked in indigenous art. With the same orientation, he made “Filha da Terra Roxa” (“Daughter of the Red Land”), c. 1947-1948, and “A Índia Escondida por um Grande Peixe” (“The Indian Woman Hidden by a Big Fish”), c. 1948, from the Pedras Series; he represented the myth of the dolphin that reveals the sacred feminine that generates life, carving incisions in the granite, which complete the marks of erosion of the sea. Achieving a high degree of monumentality, the bronze “Morena” (1951) (“Brunette”) symbolizes the women of the original people of the Brazilian land. In the previous decade, integrating the urban landscape of the city of São Paulo, the two monumental buildings “Graça I” (“Grace I”) and “Graça II” (“Grace II”) marked the presence of women in the city.
The relationship between women and men is a rare theme, appearing in the early 1930s, in “O Beijo” (“The Kiss”), a remarkable sculpture. With volumes of powerful plastic expression, it configures a passionate couple, with stylized naturalistic forms. It instills a romantic atmosphere in the gentle inclination of the male figure towards the female. “O Beijo”, in polished bronze, is another version of the same theme, in which there is a fusion between the feminine and masculine, forming an oval geometric solid.
In the 1920s, Brecheret was in Montparnasse, where he experienced the lively atmosphere of the neighborhood, several dance halls, and cabarets. He attended Swedish and Russian Ballet performances. “Dançarina” (“Dancer”), from the 1920s, in polished bronze, from the series “Dançarinas”, presents the machinist view of the body, an effect of rhythmic, elegant gliding, accentuated by the position of the hands in arabesques and the feet in pointe of an Oriental dance.
At that time, the woman figure was also related to music. Brecheret performed several “Tocadoras de Guitarra” (“Female Guitar Players”), a fashionable instrument in American bands. “A Tocadora de Guitarra”, in polished bronze, is a typical example of the mechanism of the female body, an architecture of geometric bodies that fit together like gears in a machine.
Portraits, and sculptures related to individual commemoration, are numerous in Brecheret's work. “Despertar da Glória” (“Awakening of Glória”), c. 1923, is an idealized portrait of Simone Bordat, the sculptor's bride, in her years in Paris. In the early 1930s, his growing fame at exhibitions won him several important commissions. An example is “O Retrato da Marquesa Soriano de La Gandara” (“The Portrait of the Marquesa Soriano de La Gandara”), created in the half body, in the Art Deco style, with smooth and synthetic volumes, endowed with a subtle and serene introspection. From the same period, “Máscara de Jovem” (“Young Person's Mask”), c. 1930-1934, bronze, is a synthetic composition with a smooth and tranquil expression. The posthumous portrait, “Dama Paulista” (Lady from São Paulo) (Olívia Guedes Penteado), 1934, represents the artist’s patron, as a reclining and graceful figure participating in the banquet of life, according to the Etruscan myth. In “Retrato de Juranda” (“Portrait of Juranda”), c. 1939, the sculptor portrayed the young wife, capturing the youthful character, with a cheerful expression, modeling a naturalistic and poetic interpretation. In the series of portraits of beautiful women from the 1940s, an example is “Itacy Pellegini”, c. 1943. His last work was a female portrait, that of her niece, “Retrato de Marisa” (“Portrait of Marisa”), from 1955. In this work, one can find the qualities of so many portraits made: purity, clarity of volumes, simplicity, and plastic strength of forms under rigorous ordering.
The feminine and religious theme in Brecheret's sculpture appears from its early stage. The bronze “Soror Dolorosa”, from 1920, was inspired by the book of poems of the same name by Guilherme de Almeida. The dramatic and tense composition, quite modern, places the mystic woman's head face to face, contemplating the face of the sacrificed Christ. In the 1920s, in Paris, the artist developed a more intense production of religious art, which was praised by critics. The favorite theme was the Virgin Mary, as in “Fuga para o Egito” (“Escape to Egypt”), in polished bronze. The Art Deco figurines are stylized and elegant. In the 1950s, he returned to religious art and composed several works with the theme of the Virgin and Child, such as “Virgem com o Menino” (“Virgin with the boy”). The composition is synthetic, the volumes are rustically defined, and the details are through incisions, with figures of animals and graphics. “Virgem da Anunciação” (“Virgin of the Annunciation”), from 1955, one of his last sacred works, composed of the young Virgin and the Archangel Gabriel, takes up the delicacy and elegance of the Madonnas of the 1920s. The feminine theme was treated with simplicity, according to a very spiritual perspective. Of particular note is the monumental “Portadora de Perfume” (Madeleine aux Parfums - Carrier of Perfume)”, from 1924, which stood out at the Autumn Salon that year in Paris.
They constitute the majority. As a powerful image, the female figures occupy the sheet of paper by themselves. Sometimes they share spaces on the page with other figures in different postures.
The oldest, from the 1930s, made with graphite pencil, has a static presentation, like classic goddesses. In the 1940s and 1950s, Brecheret's drawings changed, infusing a naturalistic dynamic into female bodies.
It encodes a type of woman with a slim waist, high breasts, undulating and generous hips. The treatment of her face is of no importance, but the sensual elements of her body; also, the limbs like the hands and feet are not shown. In some drawings, the female figure is associated with an element of interest, such as a bird in the hands
Another very recurrent preferred theme in the drawings is female backs. The posterior part of the female body is shown in light and sinuous postures.
In some cases, the back curves sensually, highlighting the fleshy volumes at the base of the spine. In other backs, the arms are elevated or away from the trunk.
It is noteworthy that the vision of naked female backs was a visual and literary erotic motif quite common among the Greeks.
The drawings of nude figures in profile or three-quarters show movement. The disposition of the body parts denotes the triggering of an action. The poses are elegant and seem to float in mid-air. As the artist does not develop the finishes (feet, hands, and heads), some images seem to come out of the sheet of paper – upwards or sideways.
The reclining female nudes, among Brecheret's drawings, have a special presentation – when alone they occupy the entire longitudinal extension of the page. There is an undeniable monumental value in these compositions of the great female nudes that populate the history of art and that the artist realized in sculptures.
The figure is powerful: her breasts are high, her head is thrown back, an erotic signal of pleasure. Fluid and fine lines design the slender waist, which precedes the large curves of the hips and sinuous thighs.
The rare drawings that show woman in romantic relationship with man are enigmatic. They create poetic and soft love situations – therefore, idyllic. Interestingly, two of them present situations of a love triangle between two women and a man.
A bride and groom walk hand in hand, exchanging rapt glances; in the background, a female figure can be seen with a painful tilt of her head. There is a sensuality subtly present with the nakedness of male and female bodies.
A couple of dancing, a light amorous entertainment, erotic by the nakedness of the bodies, softened by the arabesque hand gestures and half-closed eyes, denoting the intensity of the inner emotion.
Several drawings address the sacred feminine according to the figuration of holy women, related to his production of sacred art, linked to the Catholic religion.
He admired the medieval statuary of churches in 1920s Paris. Drawings with the theme “Fuga para o Egito” (“Escape to Egypt”), from the second half of the 1920s, refer to this phase.
Generally, Mary is drawn as a mother who protects her child, either under the stylized lines of art deco in the Parisian period, while she is drawn with organic shapes and with small symbols of primitivism in the indigenous art phase of the 1940s and 1950s.
Several drawings by Brecheret bring the duality of the sacred and the profane, which is, images of female nudes alongside sacred figures. At first sight, one may think of an opposition, the image of a naked woman, and the sacredness of holy figures. A deeper analysis, in which the two elements appear to be intimate, may reveal another understanding.
The essence of the artist's thinking about women follows the prehistoric archetype of sacredness, which is inherent in the image of the naked woman, a theme that is present in all of his drawing production. For example, one can observe the drawings of nude figures around the Crucified Christ, as well as the striking composition of the tonsured monk who looks with fervor and devotion at the small female nude that raises and brings the palm next to itself.
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