Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Great, great, great, great, great, great grandfather…

I had heard for some time that my wife’s family counted one of the Brazil’s great artists among its number. B’s grandmother’s apartment is decorated with several of his works. I had not, however, gone to the museum dedicated in his honor in Niterói. On Tuesday, the family and I had the honor of a special tour of the museum of Antônio Parreiras, sometimes referred to as Brazil’s Monet. The occasion was made all the more special by the presence of B’s grandmother Gizah, who was actually born on what today are the museum grounds.Copy of IMG_9003 (1024x667)  IMG_9005 (1024x683) Senhor Parreiras lived an amazing life, having studied with the great impressionists of Europe and, perhaps more impressively, having earned a very comfortable, almost opulent, living from his art alone. He was B’s great grandmother’s great grandfather, which makes our kids the 7th generation to visit his house and atelier.IMG_9018 (683x1024)IMG_9015 (683x1024)I find his painting simply amazing, a breathtaking mix of the impressionism of which I have always been fond with the natural beauty of Brazil. The museum comprises several formerly residential buildings surrounded by lush gardens and natural greenery. It is difficult to imagine how beautiful it must have been when it was constructed.Since we are family, the staff opened a small house to the side of his atelier called “Villa Olga”, where Gisah was born. By the way, Gisah gave birth to all of her children, including B’s mom, at their house on Icaraí beach (the exact site of which now accommodates the apartment building where Gisah lives to this day). Villa Olga contains hundreds of works that aren’t on exhibit, including a self portrait of Parreiras as a young man.IMG_9027 (1024x605)My camera was hopelessly inadequate to capture the beauty and scale of his work, although it doesn’t hurt to try. Although his art itself is quite inspiring, the most gratifying aspect of the visit was exposing my kids to this important chapter in their family history.Copy of IMG_9042 (781x1024)The painting below was exhibited in Paris. The detail shows the view of Rio from Niterói in the 19th century.IMG_9062 (1024x683)IMG_9048 (1024x683)  IMG_9065 (1024x680) IMG_9068 (1024x683) The painting below and the following detail are of his second wife, whom he scandalously brought back from France months after his first wife’s death back in Brazil. Beyond artistic talent, it’s clear the man had impeccable taste.IMG_9051 (1024x504) IMG_9059 (683x1024)IMG_9036 (1024x410)

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