MARIA HELENA VIEIRA DA SILVA (1908-1992)

Lot 115
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Estimation :
200000 - 250000 EUR
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Result : 265 000EUR
MARIA HELENA VIEIRA DA SILVA (1908-1992)
Bleu et jaune ou Les villages, 1960
Oil on canvas, signed lower right.
72,5 x 116 cm
Provenance:
Paris, Galerie Pierre.
Bibliography:
- Jean Raoul-Duval, Recent works by Vieira da Silva, in: L'oeil, n°63, March 1960, reproduced p. 34
- Guy Weelen, Jean-François Jaeger, Virginie Duval, Diane Daval Béran, Vieira da
Silva, Catalogue raisonné, Genève, Skira, 1994, reproduced p. 344, n° 1708.
It would be arbitrary to establish clear-cut periods in Vieira da Silva's work.
She herself defends herself. There is evolution, not revolution. Soulages once said to her, looking at an old canvas, an academic nude: "You see, this line of the arm, along the body, well, we find it in your current paintings"
Indeed, the constants remain: a simple rhythm, following a vertical and horizontal counterpoint, the importance of the line, the learned and rigorous construction by all small elements - checks, checkerboards, crosses, dots - the light touch - (there are painters who seek a thick material; I don't feel that), greys, whites, delicate and very decorative harmonies. These characteristics are all present in each painting. It's just that the emphasis is on one or the other. One can distinguish an era in which checkerboards dominated: "L'Atelier", "Le joueur d'Echecs" -
- another era, that of "Villes" (see L'Oeil n°14) where the lines are interwoven in high constructions - but all these paintings are indeed daughters of the same spirit.
Vieira da Silva walks with a light hand over the painting in front of her, going from one point to another with pauses, slides. To construct these vast pictorial spaces, an infallible balance is required. The painter is in front of his canvas like a dancer on her rope: the slightest misstep and the whole construction is on the ground.
- And then, it also happens that the painting is well constructed, with a good layout, but that I don't like it. Rigour is not enough for me. I need to be able to play hooky. I need freedom, fantasy, impromptu. That's very important. I think that's the best part of me.
This remark strikes me as very accurate. It emphasizes the double aspect of Vieira da Silva's work. It is a measured, haughty, intelligent painting. It breathes a free and light air, that of clear ideas and humanist traditions. It has order and poise, in contrast to the great debauchery and dripping painting that one sometimes finds in lyrical abstraction. It awakens pure resonances in the soul - the water of the spring, the sharpness of the blade, the silver thread, the clear note of the harpsichord... And, on this dominated, nervous and slender, almost classical architecture, a poetic imagination brings to life a whole little world full of verve.
J. Raoul-Duval, Oeuvres récentes de Vieira da Silva, in : L'Oeil, n° 63, mars 1960, p. 32.
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