Segall, Lasar

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SEGALL, LASAR (1891–1957), Brazilian painter and sculptor. Born in Vilna, Lithuania, to a religious family, Segall studied at the Design Academy of Vilna in 1905 and moved the next year to Berlin, where he studied at the Imperial Superior Academy of Arts until 1910. Segall rebelled against the strict academic discipline and presented his works in an exposition of the "Freie Sezession," one of the precursor movements of expressionism. In 1910 he moved to Dresden, where he joined the Fine Arts Academy as Meisterschueller (student-instructor) with his own atelier and freedom of creation. After being accepted in the German Expressionist movement at the end of 1912, he traveled for the first time to Brazil, and his exhibitions in Campinas and Saõ Paulo were among the first presentations of modern art in Brazil. After eight months he returned to Dresden. In 1919 Segall participated in the foundation of the "Dresdner Sezession, Grupe 1919," and in the next four years he participated in the German Expressionist movement, presenting exhibitions in The Hague, Frankfurt, and Leipzig and publishing two albums: Bubu (1921) and Remembrance from Vilna (1922).

In 1923 Segall settled in Brazil. He joined the modernist group and held his first exhibition in Saõ Paulo. Afterwards he exhibited the first works of his Brazilian stage in Berlin and Dresden. In 1927 Segall adopted Brazilian citizenship and in 1928 traveled to Paris for three years, where he began to sculpt. Back in Saõ Paulo (1932) he founded and led the Society for Modern Art. In 1938 he represented Brazil in the International Congress of Independent Artists in Paris. In this period he started to work with socio-political themes and produced a collection related to the experience of immigrants and the war. In the 1940s and the 1950s he presented his works in exhibitions in Brazil and the United States.

The Jewish perspective is present in some of Segall's works. In a number of paintings he included Hebrew letters and he signed a few in Hebrew. Other paintings were focused directly on Jewish themes: Rabino con alunos ("Rabbi with Students" – 1931), Rolo de Tora ("Torah Scroll" – 1922 and 1933), Pogrom (1937), Navio de Emigrantes ("Emigrants' Ship" –1939/1941), Campo de Concentração ("Concentration Camp" – 1945), Êxodo ("Exodus" – 1947), and others that were part of the collection Visões de Guerra 19401943 ("Visions from War 1940–1943").


O Museu Lasar Segall (1991).

[Efraim Zadoff (2nd ed.)]