Cícero Dias (1907-2003)
- Cícero Dias
- Duas Figuras (Two Figures)
- signed lower right
- 25 5/8 by 21 1/4 in.
- (65 by 54 cm)
- Painted in Lisbon in 1944.
Collection of the artist, Brazil
Simões de Assis Galería de Arte, Curitiba
Rio de Janeiro, Museu de Arte Moderna de Rio de Janeiro, Cícero Dias, November 20-December 12, 1952, n.n.
Curitiba, Brazil, Museu Oscar Niemeyer, Cícero Dias - Oito Décadas de Pintura, May-September, 2006, p. 129, illustrated in color
In 1928 Dias had his first exhibition in Rio de Janeiro. It was hailed by Di Cavalcanti as a revelation of Brazilian art and Dias joined the Anthropophagic movement shortly thereafter. Encouraged by Di Cavalcanti, he traveled to Paris in 1937 and soon became acquainted with writers and painters such as Cendrars, Supervieille, Fargue, Péret, Lhote and Picasso, with whom he became a close friend. He visited Picasso's studio on a regular basis where he met the writer Paul Éluard who observed the manner in which both Picasso and Dias had retained the light of their respective countries. The following year he presented his work at the Jeanne Castel Gallery and the critic André Salmon identified a kinship with the surrealists.
Shortly after World War II began, Brazil joined the allies and in 1942 Dias was imprisoned by the Germans. Exchanged for German prisoners held in Brazil, he returned to France and later settled in Lisbon where he resumed his career. The painting Duas Figuras was executed during this period and retains the colors of his native land along with elements of surrealism. The geographical border he had crossed would become a metaphor for his artistic breakthrough, progressively abandoning figuration and increasingly embracing abstraction. At 37, Cícero Dias became a pioneer of Brazilian abstract art.
In 1945 Dias' stay in Portugal came to an end when Picasso sent him a copy of his play, "Le Plaisir Attrapé para la Queue" inscribed: "To Dias, whose presence in Paris is needed." Summoned by the master, Dias returned to Paris which was once more the epicenter of art. By the end of the 1940s his work had become completely abstract, nevertheless his exuberant palette would counterbalance the rigor of his geometric style.
In the early 1960s Dias returned to what is known as lyrical figuration. But Cícero's creations followed an elliptical progress and the geometry of his abstract compositions would eventually merge into a new figuration. Ultimately Dias' biography reveals how closely he was associated to the key exponents of 20th-century Brazilian and international vanguards. In addition to his many solo exhibits he participated in group shows along with such luminaries as Albers, Max, Bill, Calder, Kandinsky, Léger, Matta, Miró, Tamayo and Picasso. As Picasso had declared many years before, "Dias is a great poet and a great painter" and today he remains one of the leading figures of Brazilian modernism.