Considered Portugal's most proeminent nineteenth century painter and the artist who most succefully expressed modern values, Columbano Bordalo Pinheiro (1857-1929) conveyed the Portuguese society through over three generations, including some of its most notable members such as Antero de Quental, Eça de Queirós, Bulhão Pato, Batalha Reis, Fialho de Almeida, Raúl Brandão, Teixeira Gomes, e Teixeira de Pascoais.
Columbano Bordalo Pinheiro was a keen and critical observer and his interpretive portraits reveal him as being a radical annalist of modern life.
His consecration as a portrait painter results from the support of a socio-political elite and from the press, gaining him a privileged artistic status confirmed by his appointment as a professor at Lisbon’s Escola de Belas-Artes and as Director of the Museu Nacional de Arte Contemporânea from 1914 to 1927.
His political involvement as a republican led him to produce three official portraits of the first Presidents of the Portuguese Republic and to be part of the comittee responsible for deciding on the design and colours of the Portuguese national flag.
The different sections of the "Columbano" exhibition bring together seventy-three pieces, with most of them belonging to the collection of the two hundred works held by the museum. Other works were also lent from private collections, national institutions and international museums such as the Musée d’Orsay, the Palazzo Pitti and the MNBA in Rio de Janeiro, some of them never previously exhibited in Portugal.
Curated by Maria de Aires Silveira, the exhibition can be visited in the Museu do Chiado - Museu Nacional de Art Contemporânea, in Lisbon, from December 2, 2010 to March 27, 2011.
Portrait of Eduardo Brazão - oil on canvas (1909)