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Between modernisms: the Santa Helena group within first nucleus of the former Museum of Modern Art of Sao Paulo

Grant number: 22/01148-0
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): June 01, 2022
Effective date (End): April 08, 2024
Field of knowledge:Linguistics, Literature and Arts - Arts - Art Fundamentals and Criticism
Principal Investigator:Ana Gonçalves Magalhães
Grantee:Andrea Augusto Ronqui
Host Institution: Museu de Arte Contemporânea (MAC). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:17/07366-1 - Collect, identify, describe, exhibit: the curatorial cycle and the production of knowledge, AP.TEM


This research aims to investigate the works of the Santa Helena Group artists in the Francisco Matarazzo Sobrinho Collection, present in the first nucleus of the former São Paulo Museum of Modern Art (MAM SP), currently at MAC USP. The Italian acquisitions of this same first nucleus show a relationship between the values that led to art production, criticism and circulation in the 1930s and 1940s in São Paulo and the aesthetic program promoted by the Italian artistic environment. In the same years, the artists of the so-called Grupo Santa Helena gained the spotlight for Paulo Rossi Osir's promotion, an enthusiast of those same values, consequence of his technical training and his close contact with Italy. Osir's library, a visual reference for the Santa Helena Group and now at MAC USP, materializes these values with monographs on the same Italian artists who make up the European acquisitions. The research intends to collect acquisition data and to study these artists' presence in exhibitions in São Paulo and the role of criticism in the understanding and circulation of their works, also from the point of view of Sérgio Milliet, a fundamental figure for the foundation of MAM. Finally, a visual analysis will be made of the Brazilian works in comparison with the Italian ones, acquired in the same years. This work intends to propose a new interpretation of both the former and the latter, elucidating still obscure points about the genesis of the collection of the former MAM and contributing to broaden the understanding of the relations between the Novecento Italiano and the artists of the Santa Helena Group, between the Paulista and Italian artistic milieu.

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