4 December 2018

What’s New in the Modern Collection

New themes, unseen works and recent acquisitions on display in the Modern Collection.

Modern CollectionView of the exhibition

From November, there will be two new sections on the first floor. In the room dedicated to the 1940s and 1950s, a significant group of neorealist paintings by Portuguese artists are being displayed for the first time. These works, by painters such as Júlio Resende, Júlio Pomar, Abel Salazar and José Viana, are predominantly representative and their main themes include work, society, political repression and the everyday. The room dedicated to the 1960s contains works that featured in the international art exhibition promoted by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation in Baghdad, in 1966. These works, by Portuguese and English artists, like Allen Jones, Peter Phillips and João Vieira, demonstrate, specifically, the different forms adopted by abstract art after the Second World War.

The entrance hall displays a series of paintings by Ana Jotta, from 2008, done on reclaimed projection screens, which incorporate, alternately, painted images on the front and, on the back, the works’ titles. These images and words belong to a collection of memories of the artist which evoke the history of painting, films, books and newspaper illustrations.   

The main nave now incorporates black and white photographs by Craigie Horsfield, John Coplans and Victor Pomar. At the same time, two works by Helena Almeida return to the nave and lower floor, namely Corte Secreto [Secret Cut] and Pintura Habitada[Inhabited Painting]. The new display on the lower floor is made up of a new set of work on paper, including prints by Luísa Correia Pereira, donated by the artist as a grant holder of the Foundation, and drawings by Fernando Calhau, Alexandre Conefrey and João Queiroz.

On the lower floor there is also a set of catalogues that document the representations of Portugal in the São Paulo Biennial, between 1959 and 1975. With this presence, in what would become one of the most important biennials of the second half of the 20th century, contemporary Portuguese art had its first opportunities for promotion and internationalisation.

One of the most recent acquisitions now on display on the main nave is the piece by Carla Felipe, Mãos vazias: a mão não é só um órgão de trabalho, mas também produto deste [Empty hands: the hand is not only an organ for work but it is also a product of it],from 2011-13, which brings together a group of 41 obsolete iron and wooden tools related to rural work, objects which are now just a memory of a manual labour which has all but disappeared. On the first floor, the large-scale painting by Luísa Jacinto, Threshold V, acquired in the middle of 2018 and dated 2017, is now on display to the public, and reveals an architectural space divided into two areas: a more diffuse and abstract section, difficult to distinguish, and a more visible area, floor and ceiling clearly defined by strong lines in the composition.