(Brazilian, 1909-1996)
    Primitive Ranch, 1965
    Acrylic on canvas
    25-1/2 x 39 inches (64.8 x 99.1 cm)
    Signed and dated lower right: José Antonio da Silva 65

    Acquired by the present owner in December 1997.

    Galeria Astreia, São Paulo, Fall 1967.

    The Brazilian primitive painter José Antônio da Silva is best described as a jack of all trades, having "worked as a farm helper, donkey, tamer, tomb painter, waiter, and night watchman." 1 His boldly colored and patterned compositions are rooted in his childhood memories and the rural pastimes of the local Bahians and Pernambucans. Contemptuous of art critics, da Silva once wrote, "It was only when I saw they really despised the primitives and were patronizing us for their amusement that I began to learn again what I'd forgotten: that primitive art is pure, like our flag, the color of Brazilian woods; that the primitive artist's art comes from his heart." 2 The author of an autobiographical novel, da Silva founded and directed the Museu de Arte Contemporânea de São José do Rio Preto. He was awarded the Purchase Prize by the Museum of Modern Art, New York, at the First São Paulo Biennial in 1951, and the Grand Silver Medal at the 1956 Salon of Modern Art, São Paulo.

    1 Museum of Modern Art of Latin America: Selections from the Permanent Collection, Washington, D.C., 1985, p. 206.
    2 Selden Rodman, Artists in Tune with Their World: Masters of Popular Art in the Americas and Their Relation to the Folk Tradition, New York, 1982, p. 158.

    Condition Report*:

    Overall very good condition:  slight craquelure in upper left corner; minor abrasions in upper right quadrant.

    *Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

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    Auction Dates
    June, 2009
    3rd Wednesday
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