Fire Destroys Nearly 2,000 Hélio Oiticica Works

O Globo’s Eduardo Fradkin reports that nearly two thousand works by Brazilian artist Hélio Oiticica (1937–1980) were destroyed Friday in a fire at the house of his brother, César Oiticica, in Rio de Janeiro. Hélio Oiticica’s brothers were responsible for the artist’s estate, the Projecto Helio Oiticica; César Oiticica estimates that 90 percent of the collection was lost. The works were being temporarily housed at César Oiticica’s home because of a dispute between the Oiticica family and the Centro Municipal de Arte Hélio Oiticica over unpaid fees for the lending of the works to a retrospective that opened in April 2009.

In 2007, Tate Modern and the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston staged major exhibitions of Oiticica’s work. The fire also destroyed all the pictures and film negatives in the house made by José Oiticica, Helio and César’s father and an important Brazilian photographer.