Tereza de Arriaga

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Tereza de Arriaga, (Belém, Lisbon, 5 February 1915 – 12 August 2013) was a Portuguese painter.[1] Having a very discrete and unusual career, she started with plastic arts motivated by the Neorealism in the 1940s, developing to more abstract works of geometric character. However it was only at the end of the 1960s that her work became more consistent. Maintaining her social sensibility as an aspect of her plastic expression, she developed into a deep exploration of colour and lines.[2] Her works are simply signed "Tereza Arriaga" or "Tarriaga".

Biography

Tereza Arriaga, whose full name was Maria Thereza d' Almeida Pinheiro d' Arriaga, was the granddaughter of Manuel de Arriaga, the first President of the Portuguese Republic. She was born in the Belém Palace, because her father, Roque Manuel de Arriaga, was the personal assistant of the President and lived with his family in a rented part of the Palace. Due to the revolution which ended the presidential mandate on 14 May 1915, Tereza Arriaga had to leave the Palace under fire. When she was three, her mother died of the Spanish flu, aged 27.

Tereza Arriaga was educated in a culturally privileged and political environment where republican ideas prevailed which helped her to understand social problems at an early age. Her childhood was spent in Monte Estoril, where she was educated by her father and also by an English tutoress and at the religious boarding school Colégio da Pena, in Sintra. As these forms of education did not achieve results, the family returned to Lisbon where Tereza finished her primary education at the private Colégio Inglês, or English College.

Despite of her father being a republican her education tended towards the bourgeois ideal of the time: knowing how to write and read, how to play the piano and speak French. This education delayed her artistic and academic career. She tried to continue her piano studies but by the end of her adolescence and she decided to prepare herself for the School of Arts. Meanwhile, she attended the atelier of Raquel Roque Gameiro, who is the daughter of the watercolorist Alfredo Roque Gameiro, and who advised her to leave as what was taught and painted there did not satisfy Tereza at all.

She attended the night school in the Sociedade Nacional de Belas-Artes (SNBA), where she was the only woman. In this school she was taught by Frederico Aires, who lent her plaster busts from his own atelier for Tereza to practice drawing. One year later she entered the School of Arts to take a painting course. There she met Jorge de Oliveira, whom she later married.

By the end of the third year she decides to start working and suspends the course. Afterwards she teaches drawing at the Industrial School of Marinha Grande, a city known for its glass manufacture located in a region called Pinhal de Leiria in the centre of the country and where she lived from 1944 to 1945. This School was located within the area of the ancient Fábrica Nacional dos Vidros (National Glass Factory), the largest glass factory of the country and later on named Fábrica-Escola Irmãos Stephens (Stephens Brothers Factory School), founded in 1769 by William Stephens (glassmaker), and where today is the Museu do Vidro (Glass Museum). Besides of her activity as a teacher trying to implement some pedagogical methods by the art, she has direct contacts with the working reality and draws a series of drafts, “Meninos operários” (Child workers), a lot of them on packing paper. In this series she pictures the gestures and tired faces of the children wrinkled by dehydration working in the glass factories.

In 1952 she finishes her Painting course with a thesis (an oil painting of large dimensions) called “Vidreiros” (glass makers), based on the experience of Marinha Grande and which can be found at the Faculdade de Belas-Artes da Universidade de Lisboa (University of Lisbon).

From 1944 to 1985 she taught drawing at different schools, including the Escola de Artes Decorativas António Arroio (School of Decorative Arts Antonio Arroyo).

Dedicated to both motherhood (she becomes a mother one single time in 1948) and work and due to her discretion her career as a painter will stay on a secondary level for several years. In a different way her husband, Jorge de Oliveira, whose work is a reference in Portuguese Art History, participates in the emerging movements of Neorealism and Surrealism, and he was one of the pioneers of Abstract Geometrism in Portugal.

However her creative impulse was always present and although she did not have a systematic work she makes different drafts and projects, a lot of them on train tickets or on telephone tickets and which later on will turn into developed sketches. In this long period she also dedicates to aquarelles, exploring her technical potential by making projects for oil canvas and which will be used for the majority of her works. As Tereza Arriaga says: "oil is like digging the earth". The aquarelle offers more liberty and speed in the moment of creation. Being also a skilful drawer, in the 1950s and 1960s she dedicates principally to Portrait. The paintings of geometric atmosphere are made in these years, 1951 and 1952. In 1966 and 1967 she also cooperates with the Sociedade Cooperativa de Gravadores Portugueses (Portuguese Engravers Cooperative Society), known as Cooperativa Gravura, participating in the exhibitions of the courses‘ end.

But it is only in the end of the 1960s that Tereza Arriaga starts to dedicate more to painting, adopting the style which she maintains until today.[3]

Political resistance

Still in Marinha Grande, moved by the awful reality she witnessed and motivated by the conjuncture (end of Second World War and the development of political activities against Salazar regime), she develops different cultural and political initiatives, namely, through working class clubs and associations, conferences on women's rights, music or history bringing to the industrial town intellectuals and artists from Lisbon such as Fernando Lopes Graça, Maria Isabel Aboim Inglês or the historian Flausino Torres.

At the same time (40s and 1950s) she gets involved in an antifascist participation so that she is arrested by the PIDE and brought to prison in Caxias for 110 days. This imprisonment will bring her several professional problems.[4]

Phases of plastic creation

Despite of several drafts (such as a charcoal series on child workers with a neorealistic tendency) and more developed punctual creations it is only in 1967 that Tereza Arriaga will become a more consistent and professional painter.[4]

It is very difficult to speak of plastic phases, but the author herself divides her studies into three series, which correspond to three periods: Bioburgos, Helioburgos and Biohélios. All of them are based on the search of an ideal of perfection and the expression of internal agitation.[2] The dominant semiological element varies: the „bioburgos“ are, according to the author, ourselves, town animals but biologic, that means they are inserted in a wider system as all the animal have towns. On the other hand, the element “helium” refers to the confrontation between the being and the light. The semiology of the vital elements is inserted in an emotional and intellectual search for cosmic connections between beings that are indefinite to conscience[4] and thus can only be expressed by the threshold, i.e. by the ambiguity between dream and emotion, inside and outside, near and far, finding and losing.[5] She expresses in this poetry a reverential relationship to living elements – which are all elements of the Universe- without any sacrality. She prefers to call this type of relationship “comradeship”.[4] Her paintings are, according to her own definition, “places to go”.[5] In this search she often shows either an ironical and critical or a traumatic and philosophical tone.

Thus, her plastic project explores, above all, the power of colour in relation to geometrical shapes, which melt in a conceptual and suggestive threshold.

Her work is represented in the collection of the Museu do Chiado, and in institutional and private, national and foreign collections.[2]

Works

Here is a non-exhaustive list of the most significant works of Tereza Arriaga:

BIOBURGOS

  • Em Novelo, oil on plywood, 65x46 cm, 1967.
  • Domínio, oil on plywood, 62x43 cm, 1967.
  • Sua Excelência, oil on plywood, 62x40 cm, 1967.
  • Dona, oil on plywood, 56x39 cm, 1968.
  • Bioburgo, oil on canvas, 73x54 cm, 1968.
  • Quietude, oil on plywood, 62x40 cm, 1970.
  • Refúgio, oil on canvas, 92x65 cm, 1971.
  • Ser-não ter, oil on canvas, 92x60 cm, 1971.
  • Noite pessoa, oil on canvas, 92x60 cm, 1971.
  • Pastilha elástica, oil on canvas, 65x46 cm, 1972.
  • Fulgor, oil on canvas, 100x65 cm, 1972.
  • Cativeiro,oil on canvas, 100x65 cm, 1972.
  • Seiva I, oil on canvas, 116,81 cm, 1972.
  • Querida flor, oil on canvas, 81x60 cm, 1973.
  • Seiva II, oil on canvas, 116x81 cm, 1973.
  • Entardecer, oil on canvas, 81x60 cm, 1973.
  • Renascer, oil on canvas, 116x81 cm, 1973.
  • Indo, oil on canvas, 81x60 cm, 1974 (this painting was initially called No Amarelo).
  • Existência-Inexistência, oil on canvas, 116x81 cm, 1974.
  • Aterraestámorrendo, oil on canvas, 81x60 cm, 1979.
  • ...e quero rios de água potável..., oil on canvas, 81x60 cm, 1979.

HELIOBURGOS

  • ...Na penumbra, oil on canvas, 92x65 cm, 1985.
  • Meditação, oil on canvas, 73x54 cm, 1987.
  • No vermelho, oil on canvas, 81x60, 1989.
  • Sonhar montanhas, oil on canvas, 80x60 cm, 1990.
  • Noites acordadas, oil on canvas, 81x60 cm, 1990.
  • Mistério, oil on canvas, 81x60 cm, 1990.
  • Algo ao longe, oil on canvas, 81x60 cm, 1990.
  • A noz, oil on canvas, 81x60 cm, 1990.
  • Invernal, oil on canvas, 73x54, 1990.
  • Mistério nocturno, oil on canvas, 65x50 cm, 1990.
  • Cachos de luas, oil on canvas, 81x60 cm, 1990.
  • Eu noite, oil on canvas, 81x54 cm, 1990.
  • Um olhar, oil on canvas, 65x50 cm, 1991.
  • No azul, oil on canvas, 92x65 cm, 1991.
  • ...Ao Sol I, oil on canvas, 92x65 cm, 1992.
  • ...Ao Sol II, oil on canvas, 100x73 cm, 1992.
  • ...Ao Sol III, oil on canvas, 100x73 cm, 1992.
  • Manhãs, oil on canvas, 100x73 cm, 1992.
  • Sideral, oil on canvas, 100x73 cm, 1992.
  • Janela da noite, oil on canvas, 92x65 cm, 1992.
  • Noite, oil on canvas, 100x73 cm, 1993.
  • Flor do Sol, oil on canvas, 100x73 cm, 1993.

(more...)

BIOHÉLIOS

  • Ecos da memória, oil on canvas, 100x73 cm, 1994.
  • La fajro (Fire, in Esperanto), oil on canvas, 100x73 cm, 1995.
  • Vibrações, oil on canvas, 116x89 cm, 1995.
  • Abandono, oil on canvas, 100x73 cm, 1995.
  • Âmago, oil on canvas, 81x60 cm, 1995.
  • Evocando, oil on canvas, 100x81 cm, 1996.
  • Xantos, oil on canvas, 100x73 cm, 1998.
  • Du, oil on canvas, 92x73 cm, 1998.
  • Personagem, oil on canvas, 100x73 cm, 1999.
  • Infindo II, oil on canvas, 81x60 cm, 1999.
  • Sinal, oil on canvas, 100x73 cm, 2002.

(more...)

Exhibitions

  • 1946 (collective), Ateneu Comercial do Porto.
  • 1946 (collective), I Exposição Geral de Artes Plásticas, Sociedade Nacional de Belas Artes, Lisbon.
  • 1966 (collective), Exhibition of the engraving course, Cooperativa Gravura, Lisbon.
  • 1967 (collective), Exhibition of the engraving course, Cooperativa Gravura, Lisbon.
  • 1974 (individual), Bioburgos, Galeria Diprove, Lisbon (was delayed to May because of the 25 de Abril; the one planned for Oporto did not take place; catalogue text by Salette Tavares, former director of the Portuguese section of the AICA, (Associação Internacional de Críticos de Arte) International Association of Art Critics. On this first individual exhibition, architect Mário de Oliveira was the only arts critic who wrote an article about Tereza in the Diário de Notícias).
  • 1989 (collective), Forum de Arte (private school O Formigueiro).
  • 1990 (collective), 75 artistas em Mesão Frio.
  • 1991 (collective), I Bienal de Artes do Concelho do Sabugal.
  • 1991 (collective), Salão Convívio da Sociedade Nacional de Belas Artes, Lisbon.
  • 1992 (collective), Galeria Míron.
  • 1992 (collective), Caixa da Arte, Oporto.
  • 1992 (collective), Salão Convívio da Sociedade Nacional de Belas Artes, Lisbon.
  • 1992 (collective), Aspectos das Artes Plásticas em Portugal, launching of the book, Lisbon and Oporto.
  • 1993 (collective), Caixa da Arte, small size, Oporto.
  • 1993,(individual), Helioburgos, Galeria Espiral, Oeiras.
  • 1993 (collective), Poemarte, Oficina de Cultura de Almada.
  • 1993 (collective), Salão Convívio da Sociedade Nacional de Belas Artes, Lisbon.
  • 1994 (collective), Poemarte, Oficina de Cultura de Almada.
  • 1994 (collective), Galeria Espiral, Oeiras, Painting-sculpture-ceramics.
  • 1995 (collective), Salão Convívio da Sociedade Nacional de Belas Artes, Lisbon.
  • 1995 (collective), Centro Comunitário Paroquial, Caxias.
  • 1998 (collective), Salão Convívio da Sociedade Nacional de Belas Artes, Lisbon.
  • 2001 (collective), Salão Anual dos Sócios da SNBA.
  • 2002 (collective), Salão Convívio da Sociedade Nacional de Belas Artes, Lisbon.
  • 2007,(individual), Pintura, Galeria da Biblioteca Municipal de Vila Franca de Xira.
  • 2007,(collective), Inauguration of the Museu do Neo-Realismo in Vila Franca de Xira.

Bibliography

  • Carmo, Fernando Infante (editor and preface): Aspectos das Artes Plásticas em Portugal, 1992 (it does not refer to the painter; reproduction of a painting and painter‘s photo)
  • Dacosta, António: Dacosta em Paris – textos, Ed. Assírio e Alvim, s/d, p. 97.
  • De Carvalho, Orlando M. P. N.: "Entrevistas a Tereza Arriaga e Jorge de Oliveira, 2005-2007", Documentation Centre of the Museu do Neo-Realismo, Vila Franca de Xira, 2007.
  • Exposição Geral de Artes Plásticas, Catalogue, SNBA, July 1946.
  • Gonçalves, Rui Mário: Colóquio Artes, nº 19, October 1994, pp. 31–37 (quotes the painter).
  • Santos, Luiza: Tereza Arriaga – Pintura, in Exhibition catalogue 22/06 - 21/07, Câmara Municipal de Vila Franca de Xira, 2007.
  • Tavares, Salette: Tereza Arriaga, in Exhibition catalogue in Galeria Diprove, Lisbon, April–May 1974.
  • Tereza Arriaga, Helioburgos, Exhibition catalogue in Galeria Espiral, Oeiras.

References

  1. ^ http://sol.sapo.pt/inicio/Cultura/Interior.aspx?content_id=82556
  2. ^ a b c Santos, Luiza: Tereza Arriaga – Pintura, in Exhibition catalogue 22/06 - 21/07, Câmara Municipal de Vila Franca de Xira, 2007.
  3. ^ de Carvalho, Orlando M. P. N.: "Entrevistas a Tereza Arriaga e Jorge de Oliveira, 2005-2007", Documentation Centre of the Museu do Neo-Realismo, Vila Franca de Xira, 2007.
  4. ^ a b c d De Carvalho, Orlando M. P. N.: "Entrevistas a Tereza Arriaga e Jorge de Oliveira, 2005-2007", Documentation Centre of the Museu do Neo-Realismo, Vila Franca de Xira, 2007.
  5. ^ a b Tereza Arriaga, Helioburgos, Exhibition catalogue in Galeria Espiral, Oeiras.
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