This Wednesday, March 16, 2022,Manuel Cargaleiro, the master of Portuguese Lyrical Abstractionism celebrates his 95th birthday. the portuguese artistManuel Cargaleirocreated a remarkable language in the artistic world through the combination of ceramics and painting, through games between color, light and shadow. His works are strongly characterized by the use of geometry and abstract language, tending to be non-figurative with spontaneous and dynamic brushstrokes full of vibrant colors, which overlap the form, reducing the formality that characterizes the geometric elements. The exploration of color is one of the main features of his work, as it reveals feelings and creates different spaces in a single composition. The influence of the traditional Portuguese tile is noted, through the repetition of the quadrilaterals and the use of colors such as blue and white. In addition to painting and ceramics,Manuel Cargaleirohe also explored drawing, sculpture, tapestry and engraving. Find out more aboutManuel Cargaleiroin this article.
1. It started with ceramics
He started playing with ceramics when he was still in elementary school, at the house of a potter, José Trindade. He later discovered painting, when he went to the School of Fine Arts.«I always felt this need to do painting.» —Manuel Cargaleiro
2.Before Fine Arts, he studied Science.
Manuel Cargaleirosaid: “My father was a farmer, and his dream was for me to be a veterinarian, or an agronomist. My brother was a veterinarian, but I was not an agronomist.”
3. As a student of Fine Arts, he was a teacher at the António Arroio School.
Manuel Cargaleiroaccount: In the second year, he held an exhibition only of ceramics at Galeria de Março, with José-Augusto França. As a professor of painting and ceramics at António Arroio had retired at the time, they took the Minister of Education there, who was Francisco Leite Pinto, and he said “call this one”. I told them I hadn't finished the course yet. “It doesn't hurt; will be appointed by ministerial order” (laughs). I was at António Arroio for a number of years. Several things happened, and at a certain point I made the decision: “It's not my life to be a teacher, and I'm going to risk it, I'm going to leave teaching”.
4. Lived on Rue des Grands Augustins, where Picasso lived.
They were practically neighbors.Pablo Picassolived at No. 7, andManuel Cargaleiro#19. They were by each other's side but never formed a friendship.Manuel Cargaleirotold: «I was very friendly with Max Ernst, Jan Earp, Camille Bryen, Natalie Gontcharova, those surrealist painters and great artists, who were in the same Edouard Loeb gallery as me. Now, with Picasso, no. I was with him several times, I went to openings of his exhibitions. But I never wanted to… I think Picasso surpasses everything. He was always working, and I was incapable of bothering him.”
5. Was a friend ofVieira da SilvaandÁrpád Szenesand joined the Paris School of the 1950s
He went to Italy on a grant from the Italian state, and later to France on a Gulbenkian grant, to work at the Faiencerie ceramics factory in Gien. This place and the French capital itself gave him a unique opportunity, at a time when Portugal was closed by the Salazar dictatorship. Paris was the center of culture and art during the 19th and 20th century, so many artists of different nationalities came together and shared ideas, being remembered by the name of Paris school. The Portuguese,Manuel CargaleiroandVieira da Silva, were one of the last artists to integrate this well-known school in Paris and also the last generation of the lyrical abstractionism movement.
6. He defined himself as a “lyrical abstractionist”
According to the Portuguese artist, lyrical abstractionism is a simplistic definition of a graphic that conveys the person's state of mind at a given moment. It's not an abstract thing, it's a real situation. When he paints and draws, he represents a sensation, and he tries to convey it.
«People, when they look at it, cannot see it simply as a decorative element: “Oh, it is very beautiful, very decorative!”. That's little. A worker who is in the factory and repeats the same drawing thousands of times, that is abstractionism. Incidentally, thePaul Kleethere is a sentence in one of his books that I find very interesting: “There are lines of sadness, lines of joy, lines of happiness…”. That is to say, sensations can be transmitted by lines.” —Manuel Cargaleiro
7. A reference in Portuguese art since the mid-20th century
Painter and Ceramist,Manuel Cargaleiro(Vila Velha de Ródão, 1927) is a reference in Portuguese art from the mid-20th century to the present.He is one of the last painters to be part of the well-known Paris school and the lyrical abstractionism movement. His works can be found in various places around the world, having in Portugal a public work at the military college station but also in Paris. In Italy, it nurtured a special connection to the Italian city of Vietri Sul Mare, currently home to the Fondazione Museo Artistico IndustrialeManuel Cargaleiro.