Júlio Pomar (1926-2018), one of the most renowned artists of the Portuguese 20th century, distinguished with numerous awards, with work duly appreciated in countless exhibitions, always had the need to “use words” and be close to them. Not only did he accompany literature with illustrations, he also wrote poetic works and fado lyrics, many of which had already been set to music. Find out more about this fabulous artist.
1.During the school period, he met some of the most important Portuguese artists of the first half of the 20th century.
At the Lisbon arts school, which he met Marcelino Vespeira, Mário Cesariny, Fernando de Azevedo, Pedro Oom, José Gomes Pereira and Arthur Cruzeiro Seixas, among others, who were to assert themselves as some of the most important Portuguese artists of the first half of the 20th century. He continued his studies for António Arroio, naturally followed by the Escola Superior de Belas-Artes de Lisboa, where he entered in 1942. Two years after joining the Belas-Artes de Lisboa, he decided to move to Porto, due to the discrimination that António Arroio's former students were targeted. He began to attend the Porto School of Fine Arts, becoming acquainted with the group of Fernando Lanhas, Júlio Resende and Amândio Silva, responsible for the so-called “Independent Exhibitions”.
2.The first painting sold was the Mummers Almada de Negreiros.
The opportunity came after an exhibition he had with colleagues in the studio they shared on Rua das Flores, right next door. The buyer? Jose de Almada de Negreiros, who insisted on exhibiting the painting to the public at the VII Salão de Arte Moderna do Secretariado de Propaganda Nacional.
3. Has been arrested.
After joining the Juventudes Comunistas, still in 1945, and being part, the following year, of the MUD Juvenil, Júlio Pomar was arrested by the PIDE in 1947. Despite his imprisonment, some of his most emblematic neorealist works, such as Trolha lunch or Resistance, they were even exhibited at the General Exhibition of Plastic Arts that year. But the frescoes he painted for Cinema Batalha, in Porto, would not have the same luck: O work, carried out between 1946 and 1947, were eliminated after the inauguration by the political police, in 1948. Today, however, “the importance of its neorealist phase is recognized, in which art takes the form of social protest”.
4. He was a fellow of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, between 1964 and 1966
He settled permanently in the French capital in 1963 and received a scholarship from the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation between 1964 and 1966. The French capital became his second city: he would divide his time between Paris and Lisbon, the land where he was born in 1926 and which only returns after the 25th of April. The themes he paints range from his relationship with literature, popular tradition (from the sargassum harvest to bullfighting) and the events of the time, such as May 68, as well as a dialogue with masters of the past (Uccello, Ingres, Courbet, van Eyck, Matisse), crossed with the eroticism that would dominate his work in the 70s.
5. The First Exhibition retrospective
The first retrospective of the work of Júlio Pomar was organized in 1978 by the Gulbenkian Foundation and exhibited at its headquarters in Lisbon, at the Soares dos Reis Museum in Porto and, partially, in Brussels. In 1986, a new anthological exhibition was also presented by the Gulbenkian Foundation in museums in São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Brasília, and finally at the Centro de Arte Moderna, in Lisbon.
6. Made illustration for several books
Among the numerous works he illustrated are Tolstoy's “War and Peace” (1956-58); “Camilo's Romance, by Aquilino Ribeiro (1957); “D. Quixote”, by Cervantes (in 1960 and again in 2005); “The Divine Comedy”, by Dante (1961, drawings re-edited in 2006 with new portraits of the author); “Emigrants” and “A Selva”, by Ferreira de Castro (1966 and 1973); “Pantagruel”, by Rabelais (1967); “Kidama Vivila”, by Gilbert Lely (1977); “Rose et Bleu”, by Jorge Luís Borges (1978); “Message”, by Fernando Pessoa” (1985); “La Chasse au Snark” by Lewis Carroll (1999).
7. Creation of the Atelier-Museum Júlio Pomar
The year that Sampaio was honored marked a new phase in the artist's career, with the opening of the Atelier-Museum Júlio Pomar, installed in a building close to his residence in Lisbon. The collection of about 400 works of painting, sculpture, drawing, engraving, serigraphy and decorative arts, was deposited in the monographic museum dedicated to his work: the Atelier-Museum. Júlio Pomar, founded by the Lisbon City Council and opened to the public in 2013, in a 17th century building that has been refurbished by the architect Siza Vieira, friend of the painter.