Manuel Cargaleiro: Master of Lyrical Abstractionism

Manuel Cargaleiro: Mestre do Abstracionismo Lírico

Who is itManuel Cargaleiro?
Manuel Cargaleiro(1927), is one of the last painters to integrate 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. He continues to work hard, still in Paris. Meet the master of lyrical abstractionism in this article.

Manuel Cargaleiro| P55 Magazine | P55.ART 
The history ofManuel Cargaleiro
The Art of Ceramics invaded his life, right from his childhood, thanks to a neighbor who had a pottery and aroused his curiosity. 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.

Manuel Cargaleiro| P55 Magazine | P55.ART

the work ofManuel Cargaleiro
At the beginning of the 50s, he began to participate in shows and exhibitions in Portugal, and throughout his life he participated in numerous collective and individual exhibitions, all over the world, from cities such as Geneva, Milan, Lausanne, Paris, Brasília, Lisbon. , Portalegre to Reims. His pictorial language was strongly marked by the use of geometry and abstract language, tending to be non-figurative, with spontaneous and dynamic brushstrokes. 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. His works are filled with blue, according to the artist himself: “the blue of the sea, the blue of the sky, is the color of introspection. Blue for me is the basis of everything.“ 
His abstract paintings demonstrate his feelings and observations naturally and effortlessly. In the series of imaginary cities, he conveys his ideas by representing what he imagined was happening in a city, after a long observation of it.
“Mainly, they are forms of joy and hope for life, islands of happiness that Cargaleiro cultivates in a dimension and persistence that is rarely found in Portuguese artistic production; which, in any case, in no other artist, is constituted as the center of creative action and as the axis of meaning of the work as a whole.” — Siza VieirainManuel Cargaleiro, Life and Work, Cargaleiro Museum

Manuel Cargaleiro| P55 Magazine | P55.ART

In his tiles, the spontaneity of the brushstroke prevails, and in his paintings, an ornamental and decorative sense is distinguished, the option for two-dimensionality and the denial of depth. Proudly Portuguese, the influence of Portuguese traditions is evident through the use of the language of tiles — repetition of quadrilaterals and the use of colors such as blue and white — but also Mediterranean, representing the luminosity, optimism and sensuality characteristic of this area. Thus, the dialogues he establishes with the tradition of artisanal knowledge and the art history of his time are strongly implicit in the genesis of his work. Through his continuous efforts, he managed tocreate a striking language in the artistic world, for its abstract language with the use of geometry and the combination of ceramics and painting, through games between color, light and shadow. In addition to painting and ceramics,Manuel Cargaleirohe also explored drawing, sculpture, tapestry and engraving.

“We perceive in his work a constant attention to the world around him. It is an attitude that characterizes their way of being andManuel Cargaleiroexpresses it as curiosity for nature, its forms and materials, its models and technical possibilities of representation — this reading gives us the essence of his procedure and attitude, opening the way for his creations.”— Joao Pinharanda


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