José Escada (1934-1980) Portrait of Teresa de Sousa, 1955. Stylographic ink on paper. 30.4 x 43.1 cm. Inv. 82DP1063

Teresa de Sousa Portrait


Teresa de Sousa (1928-1962) was a colleague of José Escada at the Lisbon School of Fine Arts, having excelled in the areas of drawing and printmaking. Up until her premature death in 1962, she was a devoted member of Gravura – Cooperativa de Gravadores Portugueses [Cooperative Society of Portuguese Printmakers]. After receiving a grant from the Instituto de Alta Cultura (IAC), she studied at Stanley W. Hayter´s Atelier 17 in Paris. A little older than José Escada, Teresa de Sousa made her debut in 1953 as part of the Prémio da Jovem Pintura [Young Painter’s Prize exhibition], organised by José-Augusto França´s Galeria de Março, a year before completing her painting studies. An assiduous participant in art exhibitions in the second half of the 1950s, she was awarded a printmaking prize at the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation I Exposição de Artes Plásticas [1st of Exhibition Visual Arts], in October 1957, the year she married designer José Maria Cruz de Carvalho, the founder of Altamira and Interforma. She participated in the National Information Secretariat´s (SNI) I Salão dos Novíssimos [1st Novíssimos Salon] in 1959, having received a Domingos Sequeira award.

This portrait by José Escada depicts the serene beauty of understated, almost austere femininity, mouth closed and gaze fixed on an object in the distance. This sobriety is reflected in the buttoned, high-necked blouse and the tied-up hair, suggested by the undulating lines that converge in a small knot. This is a classic 2/3 representation of a face, showcasing the artist´s visual art qualities, which are seen in other works from the same and subsequent periods: maximum expression in the economy and conciseness of the lines and the elimination of the modelling, with a deliberate accentuation of the line contours, in a practice with modern, post-cubist roots that José Escada assimilates with breathtaking ease.

This drawing dates to the inauguration of António Araújo´s Galeria Pórtico, in Lisbon, a gallery that began its life with a group exhibition — José Escada, Lourdes Castro, Teresa de Sousa, Cruz de Carvalho — in April 1955, a testament to the camaraderie and academic proximity that is also demonstrated in the Portrait of Lourdes Castro, another work in the Modern Collection.

Ana Filipa Candeias


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Updated on 26 july 2016

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