Catalogue entry

Vieira da Silva born 1908 [- 1992]

N06189 La Chambre grise (The Grey Room) 1950

Inscribed 'Vieira da Silva | 1950' b.l.
Oil on canvas, 25 1/2 x 35 7/8 (65 x 91)
Purchased from Gimpel Fils (Knapping Fund) 1953
Prov: With Galerie Pierre, Paris (purchased from the artist); with Redfern Gallery, London; R.D.S. May, London, 1952; with Gimpel Fils, London, 1953
Exh: Young Painters - US vs. France, Sidney Janis Gallery, New York, October-November 1950 (13); Vieira da Silva, Redfern Gallery, London, January-February 1952 (13); British and French Contemporaries: a Selection from Mr. R.D.S. May's Collection, Gimpel Fils, London, February-March 1953 (31); Vieira da Silva, Musée National d'Art Moderne, Paris, September-November 1969 (19, repr.); Museum Boymans-Van Beuningen, Rotterdam, December 1969-February 1970 (15, repr.); Kunstnernes Hus, Oslo, February-March 1970 (15); Kunsthalle, Basle, April-May 1970 (15, repr.); Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, Lisbon, June-July 1970 (61, repr.)
Lit: Léon Kochnitzky, 'Marie-Hélène Vieira da Silva' in Quadrum, XII, 1961, pp.53-4, repr. p.54 as 'La Chambre grise'
Repr: Cimaise, 3rd series, No.2, 1955, p.14 as 'Le Corridor'; Dora Vallier, Vieira da Silva (Paris 1971), p.108

Léon Kochnitzky, loc. cit., has written as follows of Vieira da Silva's works of this type, with particular reference to this picture: 'Under low vaults with irregular surfaces, tile-pavements and mosaics proliferate, get swept away in the direction of an imitation vanishing-point which is illogical and, one could say, theatrical. The painter is gripped by a strange anguish, which leads her to a more and more intense contemplation of the infinitesimal: subterranean chambers diffuse their own light, grottoes of rock-salt, Geodes with muted scintillations, as though stifled under the weight of impenetrable walls. The visitor to Nero's Casa Aurea, in Rome, experiences a similar anguish.'

This picture was first exhibited in 1950 as 'The Corridor', but has usually been referred to since then, by the artist and others, as 'The Grey Room'.

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, p.747, reproduced p.747