Jose Escada

José Escada

In 1958, he finished the painting course at the Lisbon School of Fine Arts, where he met René Bertholo , Gonçalo Duarte , Costa Pinheiro and Lourdes Castro . In a studio shared with João Vieira , René Bertholo and Gonçalo Duarte on the top floor of “Café Gelo”, he becomes part of the group of visual artists that became known as “ Grupo do Café Gelo ”.

Before that, however, he had already joined the MAR (Movement for the Renewal of Religious Art) started in 1952 and which, quoting, “ corresponds to the realization of the will of a group of Catholic artists committed to elevating religious architecture and sacred art in Portugal to a greater dignity and plastic quality, in a formal opposition to the maintenance of architectural models of a traditionalist nature in new religious constructions in the urban centers of Lisbon and Porto”. At MAR, the highlights were, among others, Nuno Teotónio Pereira, João de Almeida, Nuno Portas, Erich Corsépius, Diogo Pimentel, Luíz Cunha, António Freitas Leal, Manuel Cargaleiro, José Escada, Flórido de Vasconcelos, Madalena Cabral and Maria José de Mendonça .

In Paris, from 1959 to 1969, with Lourdes Castro, René Bertholo, António Costa Pinheiro, João Vieira, Gonçalo Duarte, Christo and Jan Voss, he was one of the founders of the KWY group (“Cá Vamos Indo”) defined as a space " in which artists stopped grouping themselves by trends – as had happened even in previous decades with neorealists or surrealists , among others –, to, at most, associate themselves in intervention groups […] that allowed them to act more effectively in contexts, but without the respective works assuming a common scholastic or aesthetic sense ".

He exhibited, collectively and individually, from 1953 to 1979, not because he was concerned, or occupied, with promoting his works, but because his personality, his culture and the value of his work did not allow for any kind of indifference.

“Escada um Príncipe Out of Time” (Lisbon, 2014) was the first large and comprehensive exhibition of José Escada's work ever performed. It was due to the initiative of the São Roque gallery and its mentor Mário Roque, which brought together 95 works, many of them unpublished, completed after nearly 10 years of work.

Escada was a virtually forgotten artist. Today it is impossible to ignore him.

From the magnificent exhibition catalogue, in a text written by Sílvia Chicó and which gave the name to the exhibition «Don't forget José Escada, a “Prince Out of Time”», we allow ourselves to remove the following paragraph:

“Escada lived only forty-six years, and despite being highly esteemed by artists like Vieira da Silva, he was never a “acclaimed painter” in his life, but he was still a painter of any regime, but according to the experts' consensus he was, unequivocally, one of the great Portuguese painters of his time. Escada was a man of culture, of rare spiritual quality, discreet, with a rich and multifaceted personality, who never marketed his works and never went knocking on the doors of the press to promote himself.”

Also from the same catalogue, we register Rui Mário Gonçalves' reference to Escada's work: “ Abstracts or figuratives, Escada's paintings are mystical-intimate constructions of the world, serving a meditation that sought perhaps to see man and nature in a great existential unity ”.


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