Armando Alvares Penteado (1884-1947) was a scion of one of the most traditional families of 19th-century São Paulo. Back in Brazil after studying in London and Paris, he attended the faculty of architecture at Escola Politécnica [polytechnic school]. This background led to his cultivating an appreciation of the arts and sciences and honing his taste in these fields of knowledge by studying in Europe for some years and later living amid artistic and cultural fervor in Paris, the worlds most progressive city at the time, thus shaping the spirit and avant-garde initiatives of FAAP's founding father.
Penteado and his French wife Annie went on to share the same love of art and their dream of founding an art school in São Paulo (...) where painting, sculpture, decoration and architecture would be taught.
Some years before his death, his will drawn up on April 23, 1938 mentioned his dream of founding a museum. Having no direct descendants to inherit his assets, he instructed his wife Dona Annie Penteado to use the proceeds from selling part of his estate to erect a building for an art school and picture galleryshowing original paintings. Hence the 1947 origin of the foundation named for Armando Alvares Penteado.
Some years later Dona Annie fulfilled his wishes by opening the Brazilian Art Museum (MAB) in 1961. Lucia and Roberto Pinto de Souza were designated to direct and coordinate its activities. MAB was conceived as a visual art museum specializing in Brazilian art produced by local artists or foreigners living in Brazil. Today’s standing collection also has foreign art due to FAAP's program of activities internationally.
MAB opened to the public on August 10, 1961 for its Baroque in Brazil exhibition showing some 300 pieces including painting, sculpture, jewelry, furniture, numismatics and documents. The exhibition and its parallel events were recognized as a national commemoration of Brazilian culture. Even today, Aleijadinho's plaster sculptures and elements from the architecture of Minas Gerais and Bahia remain in the main building, specially made for the occasion by the National Historical and Artistic Heritage Institute.
The initial group of the MAB collection goes back to Dona Annie Penteado's donation of works from the Alvares Penteados’ private collection, which now holds some 3,500 works from the history of Brazilian art in the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries. Note the collection of engravings, paintings and drawings in the academic style, the significant group of works by Brazilian modernists and their successors, various abstract art trends of the 1950s, images from life in the backlands made by primitive artists, the various aspects of the new figuration of the late 20th century and a diverse range of the genres, forms and contents germane to contemporary art.
In terms of its exhibitions, MAB has held a memorable and systematic succession of visual art exhibits on Brazilian and international cultural themes. Examples include retrospectives for outstanding Brazilian artists such as Emiliano Di Cavalcanti, Ismael Nery and Flávio de Carvalho, and international exhibits of works from famous museums such as the Louvre (Paris ) and the Pergamon (Berlin).
Curiosities in MAB's Collection:
- MAB's modernist collection features works produced by avant-garde artists from the Brazilian modernist movement and their successors. A highlight is Man of seven colors (oil on canvas 1915/16) by Anita Malfatti, who showed work at the historic Modern Art Week exhibition held in São Paulo 's Municipal Theater from February 11 to 18, 1922.
- MAB's standing collection holds paintings, drawings and photographs by Flávio de Carvalho, including 27 original works and more than 80 reproductions of photographs showing his life and work, architectural designs, maquettes, set design, masks and costumes.
- The 43 Arcangelo Ianelli pieces in the standing collection show his initial course of figurative art and deconstruction of form until he finally reached geometric abstractionism of form and color.
- The 370 images in the photography collection were made by leading figures who shaped the history of Brazilian photography, including Thomaz Farkas, Pierre Verger, Mario Cravo Neto, Otto Stupakoff, Juan Esteves, J.R. Duran, Bob Wolfenson, Regina Stella, Tripolli and Valdir Cruz.
- Since 2016, our latest collection of Fashion at MAB has been adding dresses, accessories and images from contemporary Brazilian designers. There are now more than 120 pieces by designers Jum Nakao, Lino Villaventura, Fause Haten, André Lima, Reinaldo Lourenço and others.
- The Jacques Douchez collection consists of 41 pieces, highlighting 20 large-format handloom tapestries with multicolored geometric designs. In addition to the tapestries, the collection features paintings, drawings, sketches for tapestries and offset posters on paper.
- Marina Caram, one of Brazil's most outstanding Expressionist artists has 27 works in MAB's collection including ink and/or gouache drawings on paper, lithographs and woodcuts.
- A substantial number of works from oriental artists is found in the MAB collection. Among them Tomie Ohtake, Jorge Mori, Roberto Kenji Fukuda, Takashi Fukushima, Toyota Yutaka, Flavio-Shiró, Herman Tacasey, João Suzuki and Tadashi Kaminagai.
- Acquisitions of works from young artists have added to our Contemporary Art Collection. In particular, works by our grant awardees at Cité des Arts in Paris and others by Brazilian and foreign residents at FAAP’s Artistic Residence in São Paulo's Lutetia Building