Womanshow 2000

Spaightwood Galleries

Last updated: 6/23/2019

Maria Elen Vieira da Silva (Portuguese, 1908-1992)

Born 1908 in Lisbon, "she studied sculpture in Paris under Bourdelle and Despiau, and later with Dufresne, Friesz and Leger. She first began to attract attention in the early thirties, with her abstract, linear compositions in neutral tones. She strove to express the relationships of shapes in space without resorting to the accepted rules of perspective, and the result was a fascinating mass of geometrical forms interacting with one another in lively fashion. Gentle color and soft light characterize her work, which is often mysterious but never disturbing. From 1946 she has had many shows in New York, Paris, and London, and is represented in many European and American public collections." (Phaidon Dictionary of Twentieth Century Art)

"In other artists, reality, at first obsessive, breaks up, rids itself of its compact and heavy mass, and is transposed into inverted sensory perceptions. Architecture turns into an unstable, imponderable, vacillating substance, walls are constructed with trembling iridescences, marble borrows the nature of water, and the human figure becomes ghostlike. The cities painted by Vieira da Silva turn into mirages. These mysterious transformations, begun in 1940, continue to this day. Tending to a space which is all depth and displaying a minimum of matter, these works are comparable to physical changes of solids to gases. Da Silva eliminates the haunting vision of the big city by reducing it to the consistency of the stuff 'that dreams are made on.' Here, the fata morgana reflects a victory of poetry over anguish, of light over opacity." (Marcel Brion, Art Since 1945 [Abrams])

"An artist difficult to classify but one of great sensitivity. . . . Since the 1940s she has been obsessed by the interaction of perspective and non-perspective space in paintings that are literally based on architectural themes of the city. . . . [Her works are] related to Picasso's synthetic cubism of the 1920s in . . . [their] fluctuations of Renaissance perspective and the cubist grid. From this point forward, she has gradually flattened the perspective while retaining the rigid, rectangular, architectural structure. The view of the city, seen from eye-level, has become the view from an airplane where, as one rises higher and higher, details begin to be blurred and colors melt into general totalities." (H.H. Arnason, History of Modern Art [Abrams])

"In the mid-1930s she began to attract attention with pictures consisting of flecks of color against a greyish or neutral background. These works, which evoke a sense of landscape, giving the impression of space without recourse to traditional devices of perspective, have something in common with Bissiere's paintings, but Vieira da Silva's spiky linear organization is her own. . . . After her return to France [in 1947] she rapidly gained recognition as one of the most gifted painters in the style of expressive abstraction that dominated the Ecole de Paris at this time. From 1948 she exhibited frequently in London and New York and her work is represented in many of the world's major collections of modern art. She won numerous awards, among them the Grand Prix at the 1961 Sao Paulo Bienal" [Ian Chilvers, Oxford History of 20th Century Art].

Since 1969, she has had major retrospective exhibitions at the Musee national d'Art moderne (Paris), the Boymans van Beuningen Museum (Rotterdam), the Kunstnernes Hus (Oslo), and the Fundacio Calouste Gulbenkian (Lisbon). For further information, see: Vieira da Silva, Les Estampes (Paris: Yves Riviere, 1977), Dora Vallier, Vieira da Silva (Paris, 1970), Anne Philipe, L'Eclat de la Lumiere (Paris, 1978), and Jacques Lassaigne and Guy Weelen, Vieira da Silva (Barcelona, New York, Paris, 1978)

L'Exode / The Dispossessed. Original color lithograph, 1968. 250 signed and numbered impressions on Arches paper plus 50 impressions on Auverne paper. Image size:650x498mm. Price: SOLD

Composition 7. Original color lithograph, 1977. 99 signed and numbered impressions on Arches, of which ours in number 76/99. Image size: 275x238mm. Image size: 275x238mm. Price: $1575.

Composition 10. Original color lithograph, 1977. 99 signed and numbered impressions on Arches, of which ours in number 76/99. Image size: 275x238mm. Image size: 275x238mm. Price:SOLD.

Composition 11. Original color lithograph, 1977. 99 signed and numbered impressions on Japon, of which ours in number 76/99. Image size: 275x238mm. Price: $1575.

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Visiting hours: flexible. Although zoning regulations require us to request telephone confirmation (@ 508-529-2511 or 800-809-3343) of your visit, browsers and guests are always welcome.