Antonio Bandeira (1922-1967)
Antonio Bandeira (1922-1967)
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signed and dated 'Bandeira 65' (lower right)
oil on canvas
46 3⁄4 x 47 3⁄4 in. (119 x 119 cm.)
Painted in 1965.
Nicole Roumengous de Festes de Saint André, Paris (gift from the artist).
By descent to the present owner.
Paris, Galerie Debret, Services Culturels de l’Embassade du Brésil, Bandeira a Paris. Huiles et gouaches, 24 November-10 December 1971.
Further details
This work is registered by the Antonio Bandeira Institute under registration no. IAB2081-ATR.

1 Antonio Bandeira, quoted in Antonio Bandeira: pinturas e desenhos (Rio de Janeiro: Pinakotheke, 2006), 100.
2 Antônio Bento, quoted in Antonio Bandeira, 102.
3 Pietro Maria Bardi, quoted in Antonio Bandeira, 99.

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Lot Essay

“I am Brazilian, but the profession and chance led me to Paris,” Bandeira once explained of his beginnings. “I traveled young and matured there. This stays within us. It is even a sense of gratitude that forces me to be loyal to Paris.” Born in Ceará, Bandeira moved to Rio de Janeiro in 1945 and to Paris one year later, studying at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts and at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière. In 1947, he showed at the Salon d’Automne and became acquainted with Wols and Camille Bryen, with whom he formed the mythical Grupo Banbryols (a portmanteau word made from their surnames). Bandeira found considerable early and international success, winning the Fiat di Torino Prize at the II Bienal de São Paulo (1953) and exhibiting at the Salon des Réalités Nouvelles (1956, 1958) and the XXXII Venice Biennale (1964). Bandeira split his time between Brazil and France during these years, and he lent considerable support to emerging Brazilian institutions, inaugurating the Museu de Arte Moderna in Salvador in 1960 and holding the first solo exhibition at the Museu de Arte da Universidade Federal do Ceará the following year. “Back in Brazil, I found my place and people recognized me as a painter,” he acknowledged. “As you see, I have to twist between the continents. Until the end, I will buy a two-way ticket.”

“The avant-garde post in Brazilian painting, from the 1950s, belonged to Antonio Bandeira,” observed the critic Antônio Bento. “Bandeira produced living painting, within the best avant-garde at the time in Paris, in New York, or in Rio de Janeiro. Having participated directly in the production of Tachism, he also became an authentic creator, earning the right to be dubbed here as the best painter of his generation.” Associated with the postwar School of Paris, Bandeira adapted the gestural language of the Tachist artists, among them Wols, Henri Michaux, and Vieira da Silva, by the late 1940s. Many of his mature paintings, like the present Untitled, feature a density of lines and taches at their centers, the color often extending outward in a loosely geometric pattern or grid. Here, streaks of red and blue pigment crisscross the white ground, the strong diagonal lines pulsing outward and dispersing energy across the canvas surface.

“I think of Bandeira recalling the magician of the Bauhaus,” wrote Pietro Maria Bardi, the curator and director of the Museu de Arte de São Paulo, in a felicitous comparison to Paul Klee. “His leaves are miniature chimerical poetics, delicate, almost hummed chants, not alluding to facts of easy reference. Intricate hieroglyphs but nevertheless stupendously delineated ones, lines that run without solution of continuity to the infinite like a spiral by Archimedes, elevated to the last graphical consequences, which makes us reflect on the analogy between painting and poetry, naturally outside and far from the clashes of the Renaissance: accented tracings, insinuating delineations in zigzag, deliberately emotive stains, at times a single spot expanding to a crepuscular ‘tatilatio,’ creating formal enigmas, implicit, evanescent rhythms of natural unrest in the true poet.”

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