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 Candido Portinari  (1903 - 1962)

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Lived/Active: Brazil      Known for: neo-realist painting

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Candido Portinari (1903-1962)

Born on a a coffee plantation near Brodowski, in São Paulo of Italian parents, Portinari studied at the Escola Nacional de Belas Artes (ENBA) in Rio de Janeiro.  In 1928 he won a gold medal at the ENBA and a trip to Paris where he stayed until 1930, when he returned to Brazil.

Painting in the Neo-Realist style, Portinari's works include images of childhood, paintings depicting rural and urban labor, refugees fleeing the hardships of Brazil's rural north-east, treatments of the key events in the history of Brazil since the arrival of the Portuguese in 1500, portraits of members of his family and leading Brazilian intellectuals and others.  

He joined the Brazilian Communist Party and stood for senator in 1947 but had to flee Brazil for Uruguay for political reasons.  He returned to Brazil in 1951 and died in 1962 due to lead poisoning from his paints.

Portinari's works can be found in Brazil and abroad, ranging from the family chapel in his childhood home in Brodowski to his panels Guerra e Paz (War and Peace) in the United Nations building in New York.

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