Lot 11T
  • 11T


1,000,000 - 1,500,000 USD
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  • Beatriz Milhazes
  • Avenida Brasil
  • signed, titled, dated 2003/2004 and variously inscribed on the reverse
  • acrylic paint on canvas
  • 117 3/4 by 156 in. 299.1 by 396.2 cm.


Galeria Fortes Vilaça, São Paulo
Acquired from the above by David Teiger in May 2004


São Paolo, Pavilhão Ciccillo Matarazzo, Parque do Ibirapuera, 26 Bienal de São Paolo, September - December 2004, p. 298, illustrated in color
Paris, Fondation Cartier pour l'Art Contemporain, Beatriz Milhazes, April - June 2009
Miami, Perez Art Museum, Beatriz Milhazes:  Jardim Botânico, September 2014 - January 2015, p. 9, illustrated in color (in installation) and pp. 108-109, no. 29, illustrated in color

Catalogue Note

Reverberating with chromatic brilliance and hypnotic compositional complexity, Avenida Brasil, executed in 2003-04, encapsulates the unique style which has garnered Brazilian artist Beatriz Milhazes international acclaim. Through an elaborate interplay of fractioned shapes, images, and patterns ornamentally overlaid atop one another, Milhazes constructs a vibrant and expressive civic tapestry whose multilayered narrative pays homage to both Latin American and Western European art historical traditions, reflecting the diverse multicultural milieu of Milhazes’ own identity and experience. Executed in the very same year that Milhazes was chosen to represent Brazil at the 2003 Venice Biennale, Avenida Brasil captures the explosive energy and artistic ingenuity of an artist at the peak of her career. An early champion and extensive collector of Milhazes’ celebrated oeuvre, David Teiger acquired Avenida Brasil in the very same year as its production.Marrying geometric abstraction and organic and natural forms, Milhazes’ compositions such as the present Avenida Brasil furiously overwrite, erase and reveal a dense landscape of symbols, patterns and geometric shapes through successive gestural layering. Grounded by a simple underlying structure of squares, circles, and repeated vertical lines, Avenida Brasil expressively unravels across the horizontal picture plane into a cacophony of vibrantly colored, variably fractured images. Juxtaposing abstraction and ornate patterned motifs, Milhazes culls her imagery and motifs from a wide and diverse array of sources that include Brazilian and American culture, tropical fauna and flora, lace latticework, arabesque patterns, carnival décor, musical compositions, and Colonial baroque architecture. Greatly influenced by her art historical fore-bears, both Western European and Latin American, Milhazes here pays tribute to such 20th century masters as Henri Matisse, Wassily Kandinksy, Piet Mondrian, Tarsila do Amaral, Oswald de Andrade, and Robert Delaunay. In particular, the vibrant eruptions of flowers against an insistently flat background call to mind such masterpieces as Matisse’s Harmony in Red, in which similarly starkly black vines stretch languorously across a colorful backdrop.

With its overlapping planes of vegetal and humanly-wrought forms, Avenida Brasil draws the urban and the natural into a fruitful union. To create the present work, Milhazes begins by painting her vibrantly colored abstract composition on a transparent plastic sheet, which she then applies directly to canvas. Once dried, Milhazes removes the plastic sheet from the canvas, leaving a residual layer of dried paint on the canvas, which becomes the first layer of the composition. Milhazes then repeats this process numerous times to create a multilayered picture whose medium and process of production dutifully captures in the final composition a meticulous record of its own creation. In compositions such as Avenida Brasil, Milhazes champions herself as an urban explorer who is exceptionally attentive to the local yet infinitely global rhythms of contemporary life across time and space. Through its innumerable mesmeric collaged layers and vibrant hues, Avenida Brasil strikes a tenuous balance between harmony and dissonance, cohesion and chaos, diversity and uniformity.