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Maria Elena Vieira Da Silva

(1908 - 1992) | 965.7

Date : 1963 | Medium : Oil on canvas

It is claimed that memories of Viera da Silva’s home town of Lisbon, its backstreets piled as if one on top of the other, the facades of the buildings crackling with light, were the source of the thematic development of her cityscapes (from Blue Lisbon in 1942 to Rotterdam in 1971).  This vision is said to have come to her in Marseille in1930 as she studied the spider’s web of ropes of the transporter bridge before her.  It was not until later, however, that Vieira da Silva set about systematically exploring the tonal potential of multiple, liquid whites, applied with broken brushstrokes, either square or rectangular, to create the peculiar magic of a dreamworld  resonating with truth.  It invites the viewer to stroll in a suspended space where the eye finds itself roaming through alleyways, flying high over bridges, boats and minute people.

Such urban poetry finds its origins in the cubist methods of Simultanism and the fragmentary folding over of planes. It can be defined in terms of Lyrical Abstraction, a movement represented also by Bissière, at whose studio Vieira spent time in 1932 and whose realm of predilection was likewise the fringes of the visible and abstract worlds.