Cruzeiro Seixas, the last Portuguese Surrealist
Artur Manuel Rodrigues of Cruzeiro Seixas (1920-2020), better known as Cruzeiro Seixas, was a Portuguese artist and poet of the surrealist movement.
Despite being an excellent visual artist Cruzeiro Seixas hated being classified as such, he preferred to be seen simply as “a man who paints”. It also rejected the terms “artistic” and “intellectual” as relevant categories.
Cruzeiro Seixas was much more than just a “man who paints”. Discover the life of the most important man in Portuguese surrealism.
Origins and Formation
Cruzeiro Seixas was born in Lisbon and began his artistic career at the António Arroio Art School, in Lisbon.
This school continues to focus on various activities such as visual arts, drawing, communication and artistic production in general.
It was at the António Arroio Art School, in Lisbon, where Cruzeiro Seixas took his first steps as an art student, where he ended up feeling a great, albeit brief, attraction to the neo-realist movement. This current is characterized by its marked Marxist character, developing its characteristic aesthetic around the 40s. finally to surrealism, Cruzeiro Seixas joined to its principles of artistic revolution where freedom in the creative process played a fundamental role.
The Lisbon Surrealist group
Inspired by certain ideals that go beyond the artistic sphere and which culminated in an anti-bourgeois and anti-war social revolution ideology, Cruzeiro Seixas formed the Lisbon Surrealist Group together with notable companions such as Mário Cesariny, Pedro Oom and Carlos Calvet, among others. It should be noted that the first, Mário Cesariny, is another artist considered the “Father” of Portuguese surrealism, along with Cruzeiro Seixas.
This group participated for the first time in the surrealist exhibition in Lisbon, in 1949, in the same year that Cruzeiro Seixas, attracted by other foreign cultures, joined the merchant marine and traveled to the East and India. Unfortunately, the group split up in 1950, but that doesn't stop the Portuguese from continuing on an individual journey.
Travel and exhibitions outside Portugal
Cruzeiro Seixas' curriculum is visibly marked by many exoduses and exhibitions in several cities around the world.
However, before starting his stage as an exhibiting artist, Cruzeiro Seixas immersed himself in the inspiration raised by the cultures he came to know on his travels. And that was how, in 1952, he decided to settle in Angola, in the middle of Central Africa, creating a very graphic collection and a collection of first poems.
In 1953, a year later, Cruzeiro Seixas begins a new stage that will last six years where he exhibits, in Luanda, a series of drawings inspired by the figure of the poet Aimé Césaire. He also included in the Luanda exhibitions the characteristic “found objects” of surrealist taste and a series of collages.
In 1960 Cruzeiro Seixas went to the Angola museum on work, becoming interested in the museographic profession. He wanted a painting studio that he abandoned years later to return to Europe, worried by the growing climate of the colonial war.
Return to Europe and home
Now back in Portugal, Cruzeiro Seixas continues to build on its success story:
In 1968, he received a scholarship from the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation and, a year later, he began a retrospective at the Buchholz gallery in Lisbon. He does this accompanied by a text written by his fellow surrealist Pedro Oom, and a preface by the historian and art critic Rui Mário Gonçalves. A year later, Cruzeiro Seixas exhibited with Cesariny at the Divulgação gallery in Porto.
From the 70s onwards, Cruzeiro Seixas' works and positions multiplied: he exhibited individually in 1970 at the São Mamede gallery with prefaces by Cesariny, Laurens Vancrevel and Herberto Hélder, and in 1975 he exhibited at the Emenda gouches de África gallery.
As soon as the 80's arrive, Cruzeiro Seixas is invited by Artur Shwuarz to the Venice Biennale, but for reasons beyond his control, that doesn't happen. In 1986, he published his first book of poems called “Eu fala em chamas” and in 1989 he received the SOCTIP award for “Artist of the Year” after which the illustrated album by Cruzeiro Seixas about his life and work was published.
Towards the new millennium
Moving towards the new millennium, the exhibition of “Homenagem a Mário Henrique Leiria” in 1995 for the São Mamede gallery (which Cruzeiro Seixas directed from 1968 to 1974) or the huge retrospective exhibition at the Galeria Municipal Artur Bual in Amadora, Lisbon is notable. . In 1999 he donates his collection to the Cupertino de Miranda Foundation in Vila Nova de Famalicão, with a view to building the Surrealism Study Center and the Surrealism Museum, where there is also a permanent exhibition of Cruzeiro Seixas.
In 2009 he was awarded the degree of Grand-Officer of the Military Order of Santiago de Espada, for his literary, artistic and scientific merit.
Cruzeiro Seixas lived the last years of his life at the Casa do Artista in Lisbon.
Dies on November 8, 2020.
A series of initiatives are currently underway in connection with the centenary of his birth, including those of the National Library of Portugal and the Galeria Perve, in Lisbon, both active until the month of December. On the other hand, his work remains latent in the permanent collection of the National Museum of Contemporary Art, in the collection of the Chiado Museum, at the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, and also, as mentioned above, at the Cupertino de Miranda Foundation.
Seixas Cruise on P55
On P55 you can find several Cruzeiro works through the following links.
Seixas Cruise | Artists | P55 - The platform of Art