28 August 2022

Lost and found and discovered dept. Tarsila do Amaral


I confess that I had never heard of this marvellous painter until I read in The New York Times that this painting (above), among others, had been stolen, but then recovered by the Brazilian Police. It was a sordid tale of deception by the daughter of an elderly widow whose husband had left her with a great collection of Art. I saw a cool video on VICE News of the recovery by the police unit the moment when they discover the picture, among others, hidden under the bed of one of the thieves.  

It always gives me a strange feeling to see art works being recovered by police from the various arcane hiding places in so many different country's around the world. Of course, it's not hard to understand why people steal works of art, as it's rarely for any other reason than for the money Ha Ha, but there are those rare and curious souls who feel compelled to do it out of an obsession for something which they cannot seem to live without. And this reason is easily the nobler of the two. 

These fragile pictures, like kidnapped orphans, are ripped from their walls, then stashed usually in sordid alcoves, attics, or other unholy places. These delicate works are later found and pulled from behind fake walls and out from under cheap box spring beds, or just left half-abandoned in sheds in the middle of snowy fields. If and when they are lucky enough to be found, they will find themselves back on the bright warmth of a museum wall, or comfy home to the delight of us all. 

I will let "Grampa" Google guide those, curious enough to look further into her life, for it was an interesting one (better than me re-hashing informational notes which I would've picked off the internet anyway, and because I knew nothing about her, with no opinions nor passions). 

For myself, when I first glimpsed this painting (above) I was captivated, and this is rare. I just love the bold colours and the general harmonies that speak to a particular kind of drawing. For me (again), it seemed quite flat at first, but I quickly saw that the 'drawing' comprises several layers of 'distance' all the way back to the horizon line where a small sun (setting or rising?) wears an oversized cape of orange waves. It's clever and sophisticated, yet looks so simple which is a 'tell', and usually means it's a good painting. 

I don't know what those creatures are in the foreground, (beavers most likely) but it doesn't matter because they serve as a way into the picture by creating this foreground which is usually the entry point into a painting. The beavers in the cool blue of the water are warm in colour, as are the rays of the sun, and all this allows for such cool bluish green foliage to sit into the middle ground with a calm, almost like statues. 

I don't know,.... it's a wonderful painting because it hides its talent and explodes with joy. It surprises, and it works. What else can be asked of a painting?

She really deserves a more in-depth text but that will be for another time. I just wanted to pass on my surprise and admiration for such an originally painter.

Below, are some screenshots I clipped from a cute short video made a visually talented staffer at the Museum of Chicago for their show of Tarsila four years ago.

Who cannot love theses colours?

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