Painting by Vieira da Silva auctioned for 1.9 million Euros

in News · 12-02-2020 17:28:00 · 0 Comments

One of the most relevant works by the Portuguese painter Maria Helena Vieira da Silva, created during exile in Brazil due to the Second World War, was auctioned in London on 11 February for 1.9 million Euros.

Titled "L'Incendie II, or le Feu" ("The Fire II, or the Fire"), from 1944, the painting had a base estimate of between 1.2 million and 1.5 million pounds (1.4 million and 2.1 million Euros), and was bought for £1,635 million as part of a set of works of Contemporary Art, in the auction promoted by auctioneer Sotheby's.

The canvas was composed during the Second World War and is considered one of the most important paintings by the Portuguese painter, having remained in her personal collection until the early 90s, when it was offered to one of the painter's closest friends.

"L'Incendie II, or le Feu" was performed during the exile of the Portuguese artist in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where she fled in 1940 with her Jewish husband, painter Árpád Szenes, to escape Nazi persecution, and from where she returned to Paris only in 1947.

During this period, Vieira da Silva produced twenty-one paintings, three of which were executed in 1944.

"Dark and introspective, these paintings became visual diaries through which the artist could reflect on the war that was raging in Europe, as well as her own turbulent state of mind", says the catalogue.

In "L'Incendie II ou le Feu", the Portuguese artist painted an iridescent composition, in which countless human figures and houses turn into flames, referring to the horrors of war, in a style that varies between figuration and abstraction, and it suggests comparisons with the painting of the 16th and 17th centuries by Hieronymus Bosch and El Greco and the contemporary nature of Jackson Pollock.

A different version of the same series, "L'Incendie 1", was auctioned on 6 March, 2018, by Christie's, for a record value of £2.05 million (2.3 million Euros at the time).

Born in Lisbon in 1908, Vieira da Silva moved to the French capital when she was nineteen to be able to study during a time of great artistic activity, having ended up settling in the city, where she died in 1992.

In all, 42 lots were auctioned on 11 February, including works by Banksy, Grayson Perry, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Gerhard Richter, Yves Klein or Francis Bacon.

The highlight was David Hockney's "The Splash", which sold for a record £24.1 million (€28.1 million), almost eight times the price it reached at an auction in 2006, when it was sold for £2,9 million.


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