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Modernismo and Patronage in Brazil, 1917-1949: the National versus the International

Costa Söderlund, Kalinca (2018) Modernismo and Patronage in Brazil, 1917-1949: the National versus the International. PhD thesis, University of Essex.

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This study analyses art in Brazil from earlier 20th century modernismo to the official arrival of abstractionism at the MAM-SP in 1949. It is divided in two parts, and considers the political and socio-cultural realities and the nationalist and internationalist currents that underpinned the two art historical periods. Part 1 covers the first phase of modernismo (1917-1929) and argues that, whilst acting towards the renovation of Brazil’s aesthetic-literary realm, the movement challenged the political discourse on racial difference and white supremacy implied in the academicist view, thus it undermined the ‘coloniality of power’ inherent in the traditional academic rhetoric. It also argues that on the international front, Brazilian modernismo was original because it extracted from the primitive reference a counter-narrative to Western epistemology. Part 2 analyses modernismo from 1930 to the MAM-SP’s first international abstract art exhibition of 1949. One of its main arguments is that State patronage, during the Vargas populist dictatorship, appropriated the emancipatory programme of 1920s modernismo and turned it into an ideological representation of the nation. The State not only turned this programme into propaganda, but also facilitated its canonisation. The other main argument is that international abstractionism arrived in Brazil thanks to the intersection between the growing need for an international art institution in the country, and the agendas of national and international free-enterprise capitalism. The thesis establishes a dialogue between the art historical period chosen, and the evolution of patronage and art institutions in the country, thus it explores aspects of the complex relationship between art/culture and patronage/power. It identifies and discusses the two major roles played by patronage in the Brazilian field of cultural production during the first half of the 20th century, that is, its legitimising agency, and its participation in the culture war between aesthetic-literary reformers and traditionalists.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Modernismo, Brazilian Modernismo, Antropofagia, Public and Private Patronage, Vargas Cultural Administration, Tarsila do Amaral, Oswald de Andrade, Francisco Matarazzo Sobrinho, MAM-SP
Subjects: N Fine Arts > ND Painting
N Fine Arts > NX Arts in general
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities > Philosophy and Art History, School of
Depositing User: Kalinca Costa Soderlund
Date Deposited: 28 Aug 2018 10:44
Last Modified: 28 Aug 2018 10:44

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