Maria Elena Vieira da Silva


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Portuguese-born painter, graphic artist, and designer who settled in Paris in 1928 and became a French citizen in 1956. She studied sculpture with Bourdelle and Despiau, then painting with Bissière, Friesz, and Léger, and engraving with Hayter. In 1930 she married the Hungarian painter Arpad Szènes (1900–84), who became her principal artistic mentor. In the mid-1930s she began to attract attention with pictures consisting of flecks of colour against a greyish or neutral background. These works, which evoke a sense of landscape, giving the impression of space without recourse to traditional devices of perspective, have something in common with Bissière's paintings, but Vieira da Silva's spiky linear organization is her own. From 1940 to 1947 she lived with her husband in Brazil, where her reputation grew. After her return to France she rapidly gained recognition as one of the most gifted painters in the style of Lyrical Abstraction that dominated the *École de Paris at this time. From 1948 she exhibited frequently in London and New York and her work is represented in many of the world's major collections of modern art. She won numerous awards, among them the Grand Prix at the 1961 São Paulo Bienal. Apart from paintings her work included prints and designs for stained glass and tapestries.

Subjects: Art.

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