Amadeo de Souza Cardoso was an artist who created a very unique pictorial language by refusing labels and constantly seeking change and freedom. The Portuguese artist was present at the center of modern art and avant-garde ideas, having thus had the opportunity for his works to be influenced by all artistic movements of the 20th century, from impressionism, fauvism, cubism to futurism. His colorful and dynamic works have been exhibited in salons in Paris, Hamburg, Cologne, Berlin, New York, Chicago, London and other cities.
Who was Amadeo de Souza Cardoso?
Amadeo Ferreira de Souza Cardoso was born on November 14, 1887. He attended in Amarante, his preparatory studies until 1901 and in the following year, he began his studies in Coimbra. It was in this city that he met and became friends with Manuel Laranjeira, who introduced him to the small literary and artistic circle with romantic and Portuguese Renaissance lines, which had the presence of Teixeira de Pascoaes, José de Barros, António Carneiro, Ramiro Mourão, Eurico Pousada, Pedro Blanco, Miguel de Unamuno and Augusto Santo. His artistic vocation led him, in 1905, with the intention of becoming an architect, to the Drawing course at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Lisbon. However, at the end of the first school year, he returned to Amarante and never returned to the Portuguese Academy. The very conservative artistic environment in Portugal sparked interest in Paris. In the first decade of the 20th, movements such as Cubism and Fauvism flourished, which inspired Amadeu Souza-Cardoso to dedicate himself to drawing and painting and ended up abandoning the idea of being an architect. At the end of 1908, he began to publicize his cartoon work in Portuguese newspapers such as “O Primeiro de Janeiro”, “Popular Illustration”, “Portuguese Illustration”, “Ilustrada Fashion” and “Mundo Elegante” and also at this time, in Crèmerie Chaude, met the young Lucie Pecetto, his life partner.
Les levriers by Amadeo de Souza-CardosoThe artistic influences of Amadeo de Souza Cardoso
From 1912 onwards, there was a change in the Portuguese painter's graphics, becoming more daring and iconographic due to the influences of the publication of the Futurist Manifesto, by Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, in the newspaper Le Figaro and the presentation of the Ballets Russes de Sergei Diaghilev, at the Théâtre du Châtelet in 1909. Between 1911 and 1912, he presented the first works of a new style at the XXVIII Salon des Indépendants, entitled “Les poissons d'or”, “La panthère” and “Cavaliers”, and he produced a joint exhibition with Modigliani, thus becoming known among the modern Parisian community. The following year, he participated in the I October Salon in Berlin and in the Armory Show, in New York, with eight works, an exhibition that was repeated in Chicago and Boston.
His internationalization, while still alive, ended with the London Salon of the Allied Artists' Association in 1914, where he exhibited paintings with a colorful palette like Kandinsky and a figurativism close to Cubism that seduced critics. It is easy to identify in his works the strong influences of the different artistic currents in the Parisian context, such as Cubism, Orphism, Futurism and abstractionism, synthesizing and transforming them into their own distinctive language.
Avant-Garde Strawberry by Amadeo Souza-Cardoso, 1916
The Modern Artist
Caught by surprise by World War I, the painter and his wife returned to Portugal. War times were particularly difficult for the arts, however the artist continued to promote his works and created a new publication. During this period, Amadeo de Souza-Cardoso was anxious to return to Paris, however in early 1918, he returned to the eczema disease that had affected his face and hands since childhood. This disease prevented him from painting in oil and later on, pneumonia, which ended up killing the painter. Despite the few years of life, his artistic production was extensive, and his works are on display in several national and international museums.
Stronghold of Amadeo de Souza-Cardoso, 1912