Born in Lisbon in 1908, Vieira da Silva was only nineteen years old when she decided to go to Paris to pursue her passion; painting. In Paris she found the excitement she was after; art seemed to be in constant evolution and development, with new movements and –isms being created almost simultaneously. She discovered Picasso’s and Cezanne’s Cubism, where reality was augmented and rendered more palpable by introducing different views into the same picture plane. A study trip to Italy, where she saw the frescoes by the masters of the Trecento and Quattrocento allowed her to fully understand the principles she was about to shatter herself. From then onwards the artist developed her own visual language, where architectural landscapes teeming with energy perfectly encapsulated the Zeitgeist of the new century in what then was the world’s artistic capital.
In Le Chamin Perdu Vieira da Silva has delicately constructed a grid like pattern that unfolds across the canvas, echoing an aerial view of a city street plan. Over the laborious composition the artist has then re-worked the surface, slowly obliterating fragments by subtraction and by overpainting, meticulously creating a landscape of the mind. The artist dexterously allows the viewer to glimpse into her own creative process, when observing the present work it is inevitable to imagine how it was created. As the artist would explain: "In adding little stain after little stain, laboriously, like a bee, the picture makes itself. A picture should have its heart, its nervous system, its bones and its circulation. It should resemble a person in its movements" (Maria Helena Vieira da Silva cited in: Guy Weelen and Jean-François Jaeger, Vieira da Silva, Geneva 1993, p. 91).
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