Ballerina, 1942
Oil on canvas
80 x 65 cm
The Hepworth Wakefield

About the artist


CLÓVIS GRACIANO (1907 in Araras, São Paulo – 1988 in São Paulo) was a Brazilian painter, designer, scenographer, engraver and illustrator. From a challenging childhood, he worked as a blacksmith’s assistant and a peripatetic painter until he met Candido Portinari (1903-1962) and started his career under his influence, portraying social themes in his paintings at the age of 27. He moved to the capital of the state, São Paulo in 1934, where, from 1935 to 1937, he studied under the artist Waldemar da Costa (1904-1982). In 1937, he joined the Santa Helena Group along with Francisco Rebolo (1902-1980), Mario Zanini (1907-1971) and Bonadei (1906-1974), among others. He attended the drawing course at the Escola Paulista de Belas Artes (the São Paulo School of Fine Arts) until 1938. He also became a member of the Família Artística Paulista (FAP), one of the artists groups there, and was elected as its chair in 1939. Graciano participated in various visual arts salons and had his first solo exhibition in 1941. He was one of the founding members of Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo (MAM-SP, The São Paulo Modern Art Museum) in 1948. Having been awarded the 1949 Salão Nacional de Belas Artes Travel Abroad Prize, he travelled to Europe. He spent two years in Paris studying mural painting and engraving. In the 1950s, he did mural paintings mostly depicting the history of his state and also illustrated literary works such as Cancioneiro da Bahia by Dorival Caymmi (1914-2008) in 1947 and the novel Terras do Sem Fim by Jorge Amado (1912 - 2001) in 1987. In 1971, he became the director of the Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo. From 1976 to 1978, he served as the cultural attaché at the Embassy of Brazil in Paris. His career in scenography was equally outstanding, having worked for various theatres on important plays by Gil Vicente, Molière and Shakespeare. He also lectured in performing arts at the Escola de Arte Dramática (EAD, School of Performing Arts) in São Paulo and illustrated magazines and periodicals. Clóvis Graciano sent four pictures to the Exhibition: the oil paintings Figure and Bailarina, the gouache Landscape and the drawing Figure. Bailarina was taken to the UNESCO exhibition of 1946 and is now in the Hepworth Wakefields, Yorkshire, gifted by the British government jointly with the Brazilian government.

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