Segall, Lasar (1891–1957)

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Segall, Lasar (1891–1957)

Lasar Segall (b. 1891; d. 2 August 1957), Brazilian painter considered the pioneer of expressionism in Brazil. Born in Vilna, Lithuania, Segall moved to Berlin at the age of fifteen and studied at the Imperial Academy of Fine Arts from 1907 to 1909, the year he was expelled for participating in the Freie Sezession, an exhibition by artists opposed to official aesthetics. In 1910 he moved to Dresden to study at the Meisterschüle (Art Academy). A year later he joined the German expressionist movement, and in 1912 made his first trip to Brazil.

In Brazil from 1912 to 1914, Segall prompted controversy over expressionism when his work was displayed in 1913 at solo exhibitions in São Paulo and Campinas. In 1923 he returned to Brazil and became a citizen. His paintings of Brazilian themes (1923–1926) were exhibited in 1926 in Dresden, Stuttgart, and Berlin. From 1928 to 1932 he lived in Paris. Segall returned once again to Brazil in 1932, when he cofounded the São Paulo Society of Modern Art.

In 1935, Segall completed a series of Campos de Jordão landscape paintings of Brazil and his Portraits of Lucy series. From 1936 to 1950, he produced paintings like Concentration Camp (1945) that focused on such social themes as the suffering and plight of Jews in Europe. He also participated in the Brazilian People's Graphics Workshop, a collective work center for artists founded first in Mexico in 1937, producing a series of linocut and woodcut prints published in an album entitled Mangue (1944), in which he depicted the theme of prostitution. In 1938, he represented Brazil at the International Congress of Independent Arts (Paris) and had a solo exhibition at the Renou et Colle Gallery in Paris. In the 1940s, his work was exhibited in New York and Rio de Janeiro, and in 1951 and 1953, he had special exhibitions at the São Paulo Biennial. He died in São Paulo.

See alsoArt: The Twentieth Century .


Pietro Maria Bardi, Lasar Segall (1959).

Leopoldo Castedo, A History of Latin American Art and Architecture (1969).

Gilbert Chase, Contemporary Art in Latin America (1970).

Carlos Lemos, The Art of Brazil (1983).

Dawn Ades, Art in Latin America (1989).

Additional Bibliography

Carneiro, Maria Luiza Tucci, and Celso Lafer. Judeus e judaísmo na obra de Lasar Segall. Cotia: Ateliê Editorial, 2004.

D'Alessandro, Stephanie, Reinhold Heller, and Vera d'Horta Beccari. Still More Distant Journeys: The Artistic Emigrations of Lasar Segall. Chicago: David and Alfred Smart Museum of Art, 1997.

Mattos, Cláudia Valladão de. Lasar Segall. São Paulo: EDUS, 1997.

                                      Mary Jo Miles