Janelas do pescador [Windows of a Fisherman]
Far from the city of Paris, and against the background of the unfolding of World War I, Amadeo de Souza-Cardoso found conditions for a total immersion in his art in the North of Portugal. So did other friends who also settled there after fleeing from the French capital, like Sonia and Robert Delaunay, Sam Halpert or Eduardo Viana, coming together in a community of artistic projects and ideas. Amadeo, however, was the one who less enjoyed this company, taking advantage of his isolation in the small village of Manhufe to embark on a frenzied rhythm of work, stimulated by poetical readings. Amadeo spoke to his friends of books by Cendrars, Apollinaire, Laforgue, and declared, in a letter to Sonia Delaunay from 19 May 1916, that “Rimbaud est dans ma chambre” [Rimbaud is in my room] – the same poet he chose as ex-libris for his major exhibition in Porto (1916), and whose reading he considered to be fundamental to his work.
Transposing one of Robert Delaunay's lessons onto canvas, Amadeo tried here to capture a visual sense induced by a poetic state. Contrary to the idea of a description of reality, this picture recreates the popular motif of the “fisherman's windows”, emphasising above all the deliberate and immediate materiality of the painted surface. Without hesitations, the dense brushstrokes flood the space with vitality in little strokes, while the tarnish applied over the texture of paint makes it shimmer. This work clearly shows how Amadeo's painting velocity increased drastically in those years, acompanhied by the introduction of a certain disorder into the pictorial composition, with its colour gradients, loose signs, the intended assymetry and opaqueness of the windows, and an unbridled polychromy. In a letter to Robert and Sonia Delaunay, dated from 23 June 1916, Eduardo Viana declared, after visiting Amadeo’s studio in Manhufe, “On a là Rimbaud dans la montagne” [We have Rimbaud over there on the mountain].
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