Head of a Girl

Head of a Girl
Oil on canvas
45.5 x 37 cm
Plymouth Museum and Art Gallery

About the artist


MILTON RODRIGUES DA COSTA (1915 in Niterói, Rio de Janeiro – 1988 in Rio de Janeiro) was a painter, designer, engraver and illustrator. He started his artistic education under the German private tutor August Hantv in1929 and then pursued an extra-mural course with Marques Júnior (1887-1960) at the ENBA in Rio de Janeiro, discontinued by the 1930 Revolution. In the following year, jointly with Edson Motta (1910-1981), Bustamante Sá (1907-1988), Ado Malagoli (1906-1994), José Pancetti (1902-1958) along with other artists, founded the Núcleo Bernardelli in 1931. In 1936, he held his first solo exhibition and gained recognition including a Brazilian Salon Prize which enabled him to pursue courses at the Art's Students League of New York before travelling to Lisbon and Paris, where he attended the Académie de La Grande Chaumière and the ateliers of Georges Braque (1882-1963) and Georges Rouault (1871-1958) and exhibited works at the Salon d'Automne. He returned to Brazil in 1947 and, two years later, marry the painter Maria Leontina (1917-1984). Dacosta, inspired by the School of Paris, developed the principles of modern painting in the 1930s, which would be followed by metaphysical experiments in the 1940s, and eventually buttress his Constructivism in 1950s. He subsequently returned to figure painting focussing on the theme of Venus. Milton Dacosta sent two oil paintings to the Exhibition of Modern Brazilian Paintings. Cyclists was bought for £15.0d.0s. by Sir Charles Reily and was praised by a Glasgow paper for its ‘spirit of comedy’ and ‘a clever burlesque’ and by The Times (‘enlongated formalism that is decorative and entertaining’). Head of a girl was gifted by the British Council to the Plymouth City Council in 1949, to which collection it belongs.

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