Item description for Vieira Da Silva, 1908-1992: The Quest for Unknown Space (Taschen Basic Art) by Gisela Rosenthal...
Maria Elena Vieira da Silva, French, b. 1908 "When I paint a landscape or a seascape, I'm not very sure it's a landscape or a seascape. It's a thought form rather than a realistic form." Thus did Maria Elena Vieira da Silva explain her approach to her art, which is almost always completely abstract. Although she was generally regarded as Portugal's greatest contemporary artist, Vieira da Silva spent six decades of her life in France, where she became a naturalized citizen in 1956. Born in Lisbon, Vieira da Silva began seriously studying drawing and painting at that city's Academia de Belas- Artes when she was only 11. At 16, she expanded her artistic interests to include the study of sculpture. Three years later she moved to Paris.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 0.25" Width: 7.25" Height: 8.75" Weight: 0.75 lbs.
Release Date Mar 1, 2005
ISBN 3822839531 ISBN13 9783822839539
Reviews - What do customers think about Vieira Da Silva, 1908-1992: The Quest for Unknown Space (Taschen Basic Art)?
WHY DID IT TAKE SO LONG? Nov 19, 2007
How could I have lived for over 50 years before ever hearing of Maria Helena Vieira da Silva? Such events provide much evidence to support the theory that malign spirits guide our destinies. This Portugese-French expressionist (actually closer to Tachisme and Surrealism) has created some wonderful paintings that would, to my mind, qualify her to be the official painter of libraries everywhere. Take a look at this, entitled "Bibliotheque" 1949, one of many paintings depicting the infinite universes contained in libraries.
Vieira da Silva has said: "When I paint a landscape or a seascape, I'm not very sure it's a landscape or a seascape. It's a thought form rather than a realistic form." I give this volume only 4 stars simply because, although Taschen has done an admirable job in its production, and Gisela Rosenthal certainly does no worse than many in providing commentary, I can imagine a much more splendid book that would truly do justice to this creator of masterpieces. I will make it my quest to seek out and find.
Half superb, half dismal Aug 24, 2007
This book gets off to a brilliant start, with Gisela Rosenthal covering Da Silva's childhood in ample detail and accounting to the reader some of her important childhood experiences (her father's death, her many tours of European art galleries) whose impact eventually infiltrated her artwork. Although few of the earliest works depicted in this collection hint at her later virtuosity, it is astonishing to learn at what an early age Da Silva was already a master of concept - able to discern the vital characteristics of each separate art movement, past and present, while using those ideas to vault her into a style uniquely her own. It is simply breathtaking to see her development of both style and ability throughout her early career, as each successive print in the first half of this book reveals a work of improved technique, greater cultural relevance, and heightened emotional impact.
Throughout the first half, the author communicates the major events of da Silva's life - her marriage to the artist Arpad, as well as their exile from France during the war - and in every case, does a fantastic job of interpreting the works created during these years, relating each work to both her life and the world around her. Given the incredible evolution of da Silva's work, the reader cannot help but wonder what form of expression her many talents will take next.
Then the final chapter happens. Entitled simply, "The Labyrinth," this rambling, uninformative portion of the text leaves the reader questioning who has become lazier, Rosenthal, who restates her one or two theses ad nauseum (by the end of this chapter, you had BETTER realize that the "labyrinthine" spacial conceit in da Silva's work is a metaphor for uncertainty in the postmodern world!!!!); or da Silva, whose plethora of works represented from this period - though revealing an unbelievable attention to detail and outrageously advanced conception of line and space - are, in all honesty, only slight variations on the same basic idea. In addition, Rosenthal pulls up the authorial slack by using a quote from da Silva seemingly every other line, several of which rehash the same material covered in the previous paragraph. While it is valuable that Rosenthal attempts to place da Silva's unique work into a cultural context, she spends so much time covering the "labyrinth" idea and pontificating on the grand purpose of da Silva's art that she fails to provide the reader with pertinent biographical information about da Silva during this time period, only infrequently addressing the specific meaning or importance of particular works. Toward the very end, we are treated to such "penetrating" insights as "the question of meaning could no longer be raised under the conditions of the modern age," and, "[following the death of Arpad], da Silva's paintings served as a means of grieving." Forgive me if I think these comments fall short of qualifying as illuminating.
As usual with Taschen, the prints are amazing, providing a good introduction to an important artist at a reasonable price; and although the first half of the book is intensely enjoyable, one wishes Gisela Rosenthal had planned more material for the last 30 or 40 pages.