Modernisms News IV: Museu de Arte de São Paulo – Lina Bo Bardi’s glass easels
On July 21st, the sixth day of the program, the participants and the steering group members of the Transregional Academy on “Modernisms: Concepts, Contexts, and Circulation” visited the Art Museum of São Paulo (Museu de Arte de São Paulo – MASP). The museum owns the biggest Western art collection of the Southern Hemisphere and is located in one of the greatest landmarks of São Paulo and Brazil.
Ana Magalhães (University of São Paulo) introduced the group to the collection. She focused on the recent return of Lina Bo Bardi’s display of glass easels to MASP’s permanent collection – a display which the public hadn’t been able to see for almost thirty years. Professor Ana Magalhães pointed out that Bo Bardi designed the glass easels in 1968 specifically for this building, created by the artist on Paulista Avenue. She made clear that, unfortunately, the audience today cannot see the original displays on MASP’s second floor, but thanks to in-depth research and the development of appropriate techniques the elements in the exhibition are true to the original structures and material.
Moreover, Ana Magalhães talked about some people and places which have been important for the enormous MASP collection. Pietro Maria Bardi, Lina’s husband, was a prominent art gallerist before World War II in Italy and an expert in collecting and gathering pieces of art mainly between 1937 and 1944. In Brazil, one of leading names behind MASP’s collection was Assis Chateaubriand, a veritable mass media tycoon in South America at that time. Personalities like Bardi and Chateaubriand were important figures and significantly influenced the art system in Brazil in the twentieth century.