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Saturday, June 20, 2015

Ismael Nery


Valentine (Namorados)
c. 1927
oil on canvas
58.5 x 58.5 cm
other detail unknown

Ismael Nery (1900-1934), born in Belem, was a Native-Brazilian and African ancestry modernist painter, influenced by expressionism, cubism and surrealism. He created numerous paintings, wrote many poems and also helped design Brazil's National Patrimony of the Treasury department.

In 1909 he moved to Rio de Janeiro. In 1915, he entered the the Escola Nacional de Belas Artes (National School of Fine Arts) in Rio de Janeiro. He traveled to Europe in 1920 and studied at the Academie Julian in Paris. Back to Brazil, he worked in the architecture section at the National Heritage of the Ministry of Finance.

In 1922 he married the poetess Adalgisa Ferreira. In 1926 he began his philosophical system and neo-Thomist Catholic foundation, called essentialism. In 1927 he made a trip to Europe, where he became acquainted with Marc Chagall and other Surrealists. His work suffered, too, metaphysics influence of Giorgio de Chirico and Cubism of Pablo Picasso. His subjects are always referred to the human figure: portraits, self-portraits and nudes.

In 1929, after a trip to Argentina and Uruguay, a diagnosis revealed that he was carrying tuberculosis, leading him to enter a hospital for a period of two years. He came out of it apparently cured. However, in 1933, the disease returned permanently. He died in 1934, at thirty-three years old, in Rio de Janeiro.

His work remained ignored by the public and critics until 1965, when his name was inscribed on the 8th Bienal de Sao Paulo, in the Special Chamber of Surrealism and Fantastic Art. His works were also exhibited at the 10th Biennial. In 1966 in Rio de Janeiro, and in 1984, at the Museum of Contemporary Art at the University of Sao Paulo (Ismael Nery Retrospective - 50 Years Later), two retrospectives of his works were made.