Anita Malfatti -100 years of Brazilian Art


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Anita Malfatti 1889 – 1964

As designers we should follow some references from artists worldwide, today we will discuss Anita Catarina Malfatti, a genial painter from the last century.

Born in São Paulo she was Bety Malfatti and Samuele Malfatti’s daughter (a German-Italian couple) unfortunately Anita suffered a disability in her right hand and arm even though a prolonged treatment the artist had to live with this condition through her entire life.

When her beloved father died the pleasant life of her family was over, therefore to adequately support the household her mother started to teach foreign languages and painting as well as it was the beginning of Anita’s successful career.

Anita went to Germany to study in Fritz Burger studio (He was a distinguished German portraitist.) The course was financed by her uncle.

Paisagem de Santo Amaro

In 1915 she moved to the USA to study in the Art Students League, one of the most notable schools in the world.

Anita Malfatti is heralded as the first Brazilian artist to properly introduce European and American forms of Modernism to Brazil.

In 1917 Anita properly managed a brilliant exposition, however, like all the new things received massive criticism from the “specialized media” mostly from the acclaimed Brazilian writer Monteiro Lobato. He published an article saying that  modernism was just a “trending wave” and she was destroying her vigorous talent, furthermore over the years the people thought this article had outraged her in addition she was giving up her unique style such a silly misunderstood Ms Malfati never had left her own techniques.

Anita Together with some longtime friends Tarsila do Amaral, Menotti del Picchia, Mário de Andrade and Oswald de Andrade, idealized the 1922 Modern Arts week, a historical and revolutionary event to Brazil, she exposed there 22 paintings.

Anita Malfatti – A Boba

She went to Paris with a scholarship paid by the Brazilian Government for 5 academic years.

However Anita went back to São Paulo in 1932 to teach as well as start her own studio.

Lamentably she died in 1964 in the Mater Misericordiae Hospital in São Paulo, delivering a cultural legacy to contemporary Brazilian artists and also Anita definitely wrote her history on the Latin American arts.

Wrote by Rafael de Rezende Basso


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