Amaral, Tarsila do (1886–1973)

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Amaral, Tarsila do (1886–1973)

Tarsila do Amaral (b. 1 September 1886; d. 17 January 1973), Paulista artist and salon leader whose paintings, sculpture, drawings, engravings, and illustrations helped to define, inspire, and stimulate the Brazilian modernist movement, especially the Pau Brasil (Brazilwood) and Antropófagia (Cannibals) avant-garde submovements. Her works are known for their cubist forms, Brazilian colors and themes. A negra, a caipirinha, Abaporu, Floresta, Antropófagia, and other works were shown at galleries and museums in Paris, London, Argentina, Chile, and Brazil from 1922 until 1970. Amaral also wrote poems and articles and illustrated books and periodicals. Other writers and composers dedicated works to her, and she was the subject of a film, books, articles, and interviews.

Amaral grew up on the family fazenda and attended colégios in Santana, São Paulo, and Barcelona. After her 1906 marriage to André Teixeira Pinto, she settled in São Paulo, where she studied sculpture with Zadig and Mantovani, and design and painting with Pedro Alexandrino and Georg Fischer Elpons. In Paris in the early 1920s Amaral attended the Académie Julian and studied at the studios of Émile Renard, Pedro Alexandrino, André Lhote, Albert Gleizes, and Fernand Léger.

She joined the "Grupo dos Cinco" (with Anita Malfatti, Mário de Andrade, Oswaldo de Andrade, and Menotti del Picchia) in 1922. With other Brazilians, including Lucília Guimarães Villa-Lobos, Heitor Villa-Lobos, Victor Brecheret, and Emiliano Di Calvalcanti, Amaral traveled annually between Europe and Brazil until 1928. In 1930 she briefly became diretora-conservadora of the Pinacoteca do Estado (State Painting Museum) in São Paulo. In 1931 she exhibited at the Moscow Museum of Modern Western Art, which bought one of her works (O pescador). Recognized by retrospective exhibits in Rio (1933, 1969), São Paulo (1950–1951, 1969), and Belo Horizonte (1970), Amaral's work is widely reflected in the literature on Latin American art and culture.

See alsoArt: The Twentieth Century.


Marta Rossetti Batista, Brasil. Vol. 1, Tempo Modernista—1917/29: Documentacão (1972).

Aracy A. Amaral, Tarsila—Sua Obra e Seu Tempo, 2 vols. (1975).

Mary Lombardi, "Women in the Modern Art Movement in Brazil: Salon Leaders, Artists, and Musicians, 1917–1930" (Ph.D. diss., University of California at Los Angeles, 1977).

Additional Bibliography

Amaral, Aracy A., compiler. Correspondência Mario de Andrade & Tarsila do Amaral. São Paulo: Instituto de Estudos Brasileiros, Editora da Universidade de São Paulo, 1999.

Damian, Carol. "Tarsila do Amaral: Art and Environmental Concerns of a Brazilian Modernist." Woman's Art Journal 20 (Spring, 1999): 3-7.

Gotlib, Nádia Battella. Tarsila do Amaral: A modernista. São Paulo: Editora SENAC, 1998.

Justino, Maria José. O banquete canibal: A modernidade em Tarsila do Amaral (1886–1973) = The Cannibal Feast: Modernity in Tarsila do Amaral. Paraná: Editora UFPR, 2002.

Miceli, Sergio. Nacional estrangeiro: História social e cultural do modernismo artístico em São Paulo. São Paulo: Companhia das Letras, 2003.

                                Mary Luciana Lombardi