Artist biography

Maria Helena Vieira da Silva born 1908 [- 1992]

School of Paris painter in oils and gouache, lithographer, engraver and designer. Born in Lisbon, daughter of a diplomat. Began studying drawing, painting and sculpture in Lisbon. Moved to Paris in 1928 and attended a succession of art schools, including the Grande Chaumière and the Académie Scandinave; studied sculpture under Bourdelle and Despiau, painting under Dufresne, Friesz, Léger and Bissière, and engraving under Hayter. Married the Hungarian painter Arpad Szenes in 1930. Visited Hungary, Spain and Lisbon. First one-woman exhibition at the Galerie Jeanne Bucher, Paris, 1933. The sight of the criss-cross of streets in Lisbon in 1935 contributed to her growing interest in perspective, the inversion of space, discontinuity, etc. Lived in Rio de Janeiro 1940-7, then returned to Paris. Took French nationality in 1956. Awarded the Grand Prix at the 1961 São Paulo Bienal and the Grand Prix National des Arts 1963. Has designed stained glass and tapestries, and illustrated with engravings René Char's L'Inclémence lointaine 1961. Lives in Paris and in a village in the Loiret.

Published in:
Ronald Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, pp.746-7, reproduced p.746