Silva, Vieira Da

Silva, Vieira Da Biography

Portuguese-born French painter of intricate, semi-abstract architectural compositions. Born in Lisbon, Portugal, Vieira da Silva was based in France for most of her working life, except for a brief period spent in Brazil during World War II (1939-1945). She became a French citizen in 1956.

Vieira da Silva began her art training by studying sculpture in Paris and then decided to pursue painting, a discipline in which she was tutored by French artist Fernand Leger. In the late 1930s, Vieira da Silva achieved critical recognition with semi-abstract paintings that often suggest landscapes reduced to linear and geometric forms. In these works, flecks of color on neutral backgrounds convey the illusion of space without the use of traditional perspective techniques. Subsequent paintings by Vieira da Silva, such as Golden City (1956), join vertical and horizontal elements to produce luminous, highly organized imaginary city landscapes.

Vieira da Silva studied sculpture first with Antoine Bourdelle at Paris in 1928 and later withCharles Despiau. Her interest in oil painting flowered under the tutelage of Fernand Leger and Stanley William Hayter. Although the abstract patterning of her early oil paintings tended toward the decorative, her mastery of spatial manipulation became apparent. The luminous spots and intersecting lines in her oil paintings assumed an explicit architectural organization, culminating in the dreamlike cityscapes of such mature works as "Golden City" (1956). She and her husband (the Hungarian artist Arpad Szenes) lived in Brazil during World War II. She returned to Paris in 1947 and became a French citizen in 1956.

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