Maria Helena Vieira Da Silva in three cities

Unitled, 1955,  © Prudence Cuming Associates, Courtesy Waddington Custot, London

Often when I visit Salon du Dessin in Paris or more recently FIAC, my eye is stopped by a curious painting and it is by Maria Helena Vieira da Silva, a Portuguese artist who became French in 1956. Her unique semi abstract style has always fascinated me whether it is an oil on canvas or a gouache on paper. Galerie Jeanne Bucher Jaeger, who was the first one to show her work in France, in 1930, has organized a retrospective of her works until November 16. Waddington Custot will follow in London until February 2 and Di Donna Galleries in New York from 27/3 to 29/5. So you have three chances to see this amazing collection of paintings, which are all for sale.

Memory 1966-1967, photo Jean Louis Losi, courtesy Jeanne Bucher Jaeger

Galerie Jeanne Bucher has promoted artists since the early 1920’s on the left bank where it still has a space on rue de Seine. But the galerie in the Marais, rue de Saintonge, is quite spectacular and offers so much light that one feels very privileged to watch quietly this series of Vieira da Silva chefs d’oeuvre. The very long notices on the side of the paintings indicate each exhibition they were part of and the list of former owners. It is a real work of art history. Space and perspective are at the center of all her works where architecture also has an important role. Influenced by the colors of Azulejos, the Portuguese tiles, she admired Torres Garcia, Cézanne and Bonnard.

La garde des anges 1950, Private collection, Lisbon, ©Jean Louis Losi, Courtesy Jeanne Bucher Jaeger

As a student of Antoine Bourdelle, at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière, she started out making sculptures and soon switched to painting. This is where she met Hungarian painter Arpad Szenes, who will become her husband in 1930. They lived in Paris until the war, when they departed for Portugal and Brazil.  But it is in Paris that she makes her career after 1947.

Paths of Peace, 1985, © Jean Louis Losi, Courtesy Jeanne Bucher Jaeger

Towards the end of her life, her work became more abstract as the “Paths of Peace” shows.

Galerie Jeanne Bucher Jaeger until November 16 at 5 rue de Saintonge.

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