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  Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo - Pesp [State Art Gallery of São Paulo]        


The Pinacoteca is the oldest museum of the visual arts in the state of São Paulo, inaugurated in 1905 and transformed into a state museum in 1911, at a time when there were no public salons for exhibiting art within the city. Operating in the Avenida Tiradentes, in the Jardim da Luz, in the centre of São Paulo, the imposing building, designed by the practice of the engineer Ramos de Azevedo (1851-1928) between 1896 and 1900 has undergone several reforms. The last of these was undertaken during the 1990s, under the administration of Emanoel Araújo (1940- ) as director of the institution, on the basis of a restoration project for the building by the architect Paulo Mendes da Rocha. The reform integrates the museum in the most evident fashion into the Parque da Luz park, which was also restored to become an open-air museum of sculpture. With a collection defined as a "collection of Brazilian art", one of its distinctive characteristics, the Pinacoteca's collection today includes some 5,000 works, mainly by 19th century Brazilian artists.

The history of the Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo is intertwined with that of the Liceu de Artes e Ofícios [School of Arts and Crafts], created in 1873 by Leôncio de Carvalho as a Society for the Promotion of Popular Instruction, a private educational association founded with the support of freemasons and aimed at rural and urban working classes. After a reform in the curriculum, and subsequent rounds of public sector support, the Society changed its name to Liceu de Artes e Ofícios  in 1882, "in order to administer free of charge to the public the knowledge necessary for arts and crafts, commerce, agriculture and industry". It was nevertheless in 1895, under the direction of the engineer Francisco de Paula Ramos de Azevedo, that the school underwent a broader reform, with the inclusion of "arts and crafts", in accordance with a plan by the engineer to create the basis of a "future School of Fine Arts of São Paulo". The construction of the building also began during this phase, and was partially completed in 1900, when a number of primary and artistic teaching course began. The building, designed by Ramos de Azevedo and Domiciano Rossi, his principal collaborator, was in a monumental style, closely following the principles of the Italian neo-Renaissance movement.

The creation of a museum within the Liceu changed its initial appearance. Conceived in principle as a gallery, the Pinacoteca was founded by the poet and collector Freitas Valle, the politician Sampaio Vianna, the engineer Adolpho Pinto and by Ramos de Azevedo, who directed the Liceu and the Pinacoteca from 1905 to 1921. In its early years, it organised the 1st and 2nd Brazilian Exhibitions of Fine Arts (1911 and 1912), the Exhibition of Spanish Art (1911) and the Exhibition of French Art (1913), as well as a number of individual exhibitions (e.g. those of Aurélio de Figueiredo (1854-1916) and Pedro Alexandrino (1856-1942), in 1912). The initial collection of the museum included 59 works by established artists from Rio and São Paulo, including Antônio Parreiras (1860-1937), Benedito Calixto (1853-1927), Baptista da Costa (1865-1926), Oscar Pereira da Silva (1867-1939) and Almeida Júnior (1850-1899), part of which belonging to the collection of the Museu Paulista and transferred to the Pinacoteca. Until the 1930s, this collection was expanded through private donations and acquisitions by the state government. Works by artists on foreign study scholarships such as Victor Brecheret (1894-1955), Anita Malfatti (1889-1964), Washt Rodrigues (1891-1957), and others, were included in the museum collection, in accordance with the rules of the Pensionato Artístico de São Paulo [São Paulo Scholarship Fund]. With the creation of the São Paulo Salon of Fine Arts in 1934, the works awarded the "acquisition prize" in turn passed to the Pinacoteca. With the exhibitions of Spanish and French art, the first international works were also added to the collection.

The fire of 1930 and the political revolts of 1930, plus the Revolution of 1930 and the Constitutionalist Revolution of 1932, often obliged the museum to serve as an improvised barracks, causing the Pinacoteca to close for two years. It reopened in the former headquarters of the Official State Press, where it remained until 1947, when it returned to the Liceu building. From 1932 to 1935, the Pinacoteca functioned under the control of the School of Fine Arts, which assumed responsibility for the museum. This link with the School of Fine Arts and the successive administrations of Paulo Vergueiro Leão (from 1932 to 1944) and Túlio Mugnaini (from 1944 to 1965) kept the Pinacoteca relatively removed from the movements of artistic renewal of the start of the 20th century and the other museums of art created during the 1940s (São Paulo Assis Chateaubriand Museum of Art (Masp) and the São Paulo Museum of Modern Art (MAM/SP)). During this entire period, it followed its initial vocation of forming a collection of academic works. It was during the 1970s under the administrations of Delmiro Gonçalves, Clóvis Graciano (1907-1988) and Walter Wey, that a number of restorations of the building were undertaken and when the criteria for choosing works were also changed, defined from 1970 onwards by the Artistic Orientation Committee of the Pinacoteca. The space of the Praça da Luz building was shared by the Pinacoteca and the School of Fine Arts until the 1980s. During the 1960s, the building also housed the School of Dramatic Art. It was only in 1982, when the building was given listed status by the Conselho de Defesa do Patrimônio Histórico, Artístico, Arqueológico e Turístico do Estado de São Paulo (Condephaat) [São Paulo state heritage committee], that the museum gained its own exclusive space.

The Pinacoteca has a wide-ranging collection of Brazilian art from all periods, but is recognised for its significant collection of 19th century Brazilian artists. In the rooms on the second floor, it is possible to view the output of Almeida Jr., his landscapes, portraits, and above all the famous Caipira Picando Fumo [Countryman cutting tobacco](1893), Saudade [Longing] (1899) and Leitura [Reading] (1892). The still-lifes of Pedro Alexandrino (1856-1942) occupy one room: Cozinha na Roça [Field Kitchen] (1894), Peru Depenado [Plucked Turkey] (c.1903), Aspargos [Asparagus] (undated). There are also landscapes by Parreira and Benedito Calixto, such as Baía de São Vicente [Bay of São Vicente]; historical paintings and genre scenes by Oscar Pereira da Silva: Hora de Música [Music Hour] (1901) and Infância de Giotto [Giotto's Childhood] (1895), portraits by Bertha Worms (1868-1937) and Henrique Bernardelli (1858-1936), among many others. Despite its emphasis on academic art, the collection includes various works by Modernist artists, such as Victor Brecheret, Lasar Segall, Anita Mafaltti and Di Cavalcanti (1897-1976). Over time, it has also incorporated abstract works of different tendencies: Waldemar Cordeiro (1925-1973), Flexor (1907-1971), Ianelli (1922- ), as well as contemporary works, such as those of Nuno Ramos (1960- ), Paulo Monteiro (1961- ) and Paulo Pasta (1959- ).

Updated on 17/07/2006
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