Modern Art Week

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Modern Art Week

Modern Art Week (Semana de Arte Moderna), a cultural festival held at São Paulo's Teatro Municipal on 13, 15, and 17 February 1922. The young women and men who produced and participated in this three-day series of concerts, readings, lectures, dances, and exhibitions of art were self-consciously declaring their cultural independence from traditional forms and styles, and announcing the arrival of Brazilian modernism. Exhibiting paintings, architecture, and sculpture in the foyer of the theater were Anita Malfatti, Emiliano Di Cavalcanti, John Graz, Martins Ribeiro, Zina Aita, Vicente do Rego Monteiro, Vitor Brecheret, and Antonio Moya. On stage lectures and poetry readings were given by Menotti del Picchia, Guilherme de Almeida, Ronald de Carvalho, Mario de Andrade, Oswaldo de Andrade, Sérgio Milliet, and Renato Almeida. Chamber music concerts featured Guiomar Novaes, Ernani Braga, Heitor Villa-Lobos, Lucília Guimarães Villa-Lobos, Alfredo Gomes, and Paulina d'Ambrósio. Yvonne Daumerie danced. Providing moral and financial support were a few elders: Graça Aranha, who also gave opening remarks, and generous Paulista salon leaders Paulo and Dona Marinette Prado and Dona Olivia Guedes Penteado, among others. D. Marinette Prado had suggested patterning the Brazilian Modern Art Week after a similar one held in Deauville, France.

The public's extremely hostile reactions to the week's events included jeers, catcalls, curses, and other disruptive behavior. Angry people poked canvases with their canes. Men tried to keep discussions of these shocking events from the ears of women and children. This intense response, reminiscent of the "Anita Malfatti Affair" (2 December 1917–January 1918), which inspired Modern Art Week's events, provided the young generation of artists with further evidence of Brazil's cultural backwardness and its need for modernist revolution.

Throughout the rest of the decade of the 1920s, many of Modern Art Week's leaders and participants, including the "Grupo dos Cinco" (Anita Malfatti, Mario de Andrade, Tarsila do Amaral, Oswaldo de Andrade, and Menotti del Picchia) and other Brazilians (Lucília Guimarães Villa-Lobos, Heitor Villa-Lobos, Victor Brecheret, and Emiliano di Cavalcanti) spent much of their time traveling between Brazil and Europe, especially Paris.

See alsoArt: The Twentieth Century .


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

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

Bonaventura, Maria Eugenia de Gama Alves. 22 por 22: A Semana de Arte Moderna vista pelos seus contemporaneos. São Paulo: Edusp, 2000.

Camargos, Marcia. Semana de 22: Entre vaias e aplausos. São Paulo: Boitempo, 2002.

Jackson, K. David. Literature of the São Paulo Week of Modern Art. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1987.

                                 Mary Luciana Lombardi

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Modern Art Week

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