Emiliano Di Cavalcanti, Bordel (Brothel), ca. 1930, oil on canvas, 31 3/4 x 39 3/8".

Emiliano Di Cavalcanti

Pinacoteca do Estado / Estação Pinacoteca

Emiliano Di Cavalcanti, Bordel (Brothel), ca. 1930, oil on canvas, 31 3/4 x 39 3/8".

This show of Emiliano Di Cavalcanti’s work made for an eye-opening complement to the current Tarsila do Amaral exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Both artists helped forge what would become known as Brazilian modernism. But if Amaral painted the tropical landscape and its exuberant vegetation, Di Cavalcanti (1897–1976) was interested in portraying samba and carnival, the female figure (often in groups) in the urban periphery, and the coastline with its fishermen. A member of the Brazilian Communist party, the artist was imprisoned twice for his political convictions, once during the Constitutionalist Revolution in 1932, and then again between 1935 and 1936, during the dictatorship of Getúlio Dornelles Vargas. It is from a political perspective that some of his work can be best understood almost a century later. A case in point is the China-ink drawings collected

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