Lisbon through Almada´s eyes
In the Valmor Prize-winning building where the newspaper Diário de Notícias was housed for decades, there are important works by Almada. A 54-metre map of the world engraved in stone dominated a hall on the ground floor where the paper operated until 2016. There was also a map of Portugal depicting the four seasons of the year. In the lobby, Alegoria à Imprensa [Allegory to the Press] was the artist’s homage to an activity he saw as spreading culture and a testimony for the future.
Inspired by the illustrations in international magazines of the time, in 1913 Almada Negreiros created an oil painting depicting a lady and a knight for the now vanished Cunha Tailor’s in Lisbon’s Baixa district. Full of glamour, but in a relaxed pose, they correspond closely to the early-20th-century stereotype of elegance and the look cultivated by the painter.
At Lisbon Museum – Pimenta Palace, there is a ceramic panel that was commissioned for the Ática Bookshop, since closed down. Its theme is reading and the expression of the reader depicted is one of the purest delight, unsurprising given that Almada Negreiros himself was also a lover of books and author of manifestos, articles, essays, poems and even a novel. Around this reader, the artist drew everything that can be learnt from books: from the mystery of life to the magic of the stars. This piece is in storage and cannot currently be observed.
Source: Catalogue of the exhibition José de Almada Negreiros – A Way of Being Modern
Almada Negreiros’s sole novel, written in 1925 and published in 1938, is essentially about the struggle between an individual’s personality and social norms. The main character is a young man from the provinces who arrives in the city and falls in love with a prostitute.
Although unsuccessful when it came out, it was acclaimed by some critics as an innovative work “of extremely sophisticated simplicity”. It was republished in 2017.
On sale at bookshops
Orphaned at a tender age, Almada Negreiros devoted many of his works to the theme of motherhood. Besides the famous oil painting exhibited at the Gulbenkian Museum, he made a series of drawings of extraordinary dramatic intensity. Of these, 26 were reproduced in a book published in 1982 by the Imprensa Nacional Casa da Moeda. In 2017, it was republished years after the original print run.
On sale at bookshops