Public Prosecutor's Office closed investigation into disappearance of State works of art

Ministério Público arquivou inquérito sobre desaparecimento de obras de arte do Estado

The Public Prosecutor's Office has closed the inquiry into the disappearance of 94 works from the State's contemporary art collection, the Attorney General's Office (PGR) revealed this Tuesday to the Lusa agency. The DGPC report warned that “the existence of works to be located constituted a weakness in the collection” of contemporary art. Among the works of art whose whereabouts are unknown are engravings, drawings, paintings, sculptures by, among others, José de Guimarães, Malangatana, Xana, Helena Almeida, Jorge Pinheiro, Abel Manta, Júlio Pomar and Graça Morais🇧🇷 Initiated in 1976, the so-called SEC collection – currently the State’s Contemporary Art Collection – gathers around a thousand works, mainly by Portuguese artists, such as Helena Almeida, Julião Sarmento, José de Guimarães, Abel Manta, Júlio Pomar, Ilda David, Noronha da Costa🇧🇷 It also includes foreign artists such as Andy Warhol, Robert Mapplethorpe and Sebastião Salgado, and is spread across various public, cultural and non-cultural organisations, in Portugal and abroad.

Helena de Almeida | Magazine | P55.ART

Helena de Almeida

The investigation had been opened in July 2020 by the Department of Investigation and Penal Action (DIAP) of Lisbon, after the Ministry of Culture sent a report from the Directorate-General for Cultural Heritage (DGPC) to the Public Ministry to determine the whereabouts of the missing works. Contacted by Lusa, a source from the PGR press office indicated that the inquiry in question “met a filing order“. The DGPC report reported 94 works of art from the former SEC Collection (Secretary of State for Culture) with unknown whereabouts, and another 18 works of art “whose location is not known, or it is necessary to rectify with the Portuguese Center of Photography“ , in Port. At the time, the Minister of Culture, Graça Fonseca, had announced that the report would be sent to the Public Prosecutor's Office, justifying that the tutelage did not have investigative powers and, therefore, the document would be "forwarded to the appropriate authorities". For its part, the PGR sent the document to the DIAP in Lisbon, where it gave rise to an inquiry, indicated in July an official source contacted by Lusa: “This process is under investigation and is subject to external secrecy”, indicated that source.

José de Guimarães 🇧🇷 Magazine | P55.ART

José de Guimarães

“The constant circulation of works over the more than four decades of the collection’s existence, not always [was] accompanied by the indispensable documentary record and inventory”, reads the report, validated by the then general director of the Cultural Heritage, Paula Silva. The previous official inventory document for the collection, dated 2011, recorded 170 works whose location was unknown. In this new inventory, records were updated and purged, information on the whereabouts of works of art clarified, with the DGPC reaching the sum of 94 works in an uncertain part. Another 18 works of photography also have an unknown whereabouts, but were not taken into account in this inventory, because they are not under the DGPC's purview, although they are of a public nature, as they are part of the collection of the Centro Português de Fotografia, under the management of the Directorate- General Book, Archives and Libraries.

Andy Warhol 🇧🇷 Magazine | P55.ART

Andy Warhol

The Ministry of Culture's collection of contemporary art is spread across organizations such as embassies, regional departments of Culture, but most can be found at the Serralves Foundation (553 works), in Porto, at the Aveiro City Council (159) and at the Belém Cultural Center (37), in Lisbon.

Wassily Kandinsky and abstractionism

One of the pioneers of abstract art, Wassily Kandinsky paved the way for succeeding artists in this artistic field. His paintings have been described as "visual music", as through color and line he expressed how music made him feel. Fascinated by the association between color and music, he even composed music for his works. The artist sought to provoke an emotional response in the viewer without the constraining influence of defined objects and physical boundaries. Discover in this article how Wassily Kandinsky, based on his works and theories, played a fundamental and surprising role in the narrative of abstractionism.

Wassily Kandinsky | P55 Magazine | P55.ART

On the Spiritual in Art

The creator of the first modern abstract paintings, Wassily Kandinsky was an influential Russian painter and art theorist. He studied law and economics at the University of Moscow and later was employed as a professor of Roman law at the University of Dorpat in Estonia. At the age of 30, he began his studies in painting, focusing on drawings, sketches and anatomy, at the University of Munich. He was influenced by the compositions of Monet and Richard Wagner, in addition to anthroposophy. Devotion to inner beauty and their own personal experiences remained a central theme in their artwork. At this time Kandinsky wrote his famous theoretical work "On the Spiritual in Art", a classic text from the beginning of modernism, extremely precise on the considerations of the practical material of his artistic production, and especially on color, attributing particular emotional and "spiritual" qualities to each hue and proposing complex shapes in which contrasting colors can be balanced with each other. In 1914, after the outbreak of World War I, Kandinsky returned to Moscow. However, he did not find much artistic inspiration, so he returned to Munich, where he was a professor at the Bauhaus architecture school, until it was closed by the Nazis in 1933. As an art theorist, he published several books on art theory and developed a complex and profound study of the ability of colors and shapes to represent sound and show human emotions.

Wassily Kandinsky | P55 Magazine | P55.ART

The color is the keyboard, the eyes are the harmonies, the soul is the piano with many strings. The artist is the hand that plays, touching one key or another, to cause vibrations in the soul.– Wassily Kandisnsky

Music - and the idea of music - appears in all of Kandinsky's work, as is immediately apparent from the titles of his works: Compositions, Improvisations and Impressions. The Russian artist described in his books that color is not just a visual component but has a soul and can interact with each other and with the viewer. Kandinsky claimed to be able to "hear colors" and "see sounds". After the Bauhaus closed, Kandinsky moved to Paris, where he was virtually isolated from other Impressionist and Cubist painters. He ended up getting French citizenship and lived the rest of his life in this country. Kandinsky's works and theories had a great impact and influence on later movements like Abstract Expressionism.

Wassily Kandinsky | P55 Magazine | P55.ART

Kandinsky's theory seen by new technologies

Now with the Play a Kandinsky platform, created by Google Arts & Culture in partnership with the French museum Centro Pompidou, it is possible to imagine Kandinsky's neurological condition, of associating colors with sounds. The painter had synesthesia, a condition that merged two or more senses of the human body. In his case, the mixture was visual-auditory: colors had sounds and, therefore, his paintings were like music. On this page you can also see the associations between colors and music that Kandinsky created.

Wassily Kandinsky | P55 Magazine | P55.ART

Older post Newer post