CIHA 2016 in Beijing

34th World Congress of Art History

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Museum of Contemporary Art of the University of São Paulo   


This paper discusses a series of exhibitions on modern Italian Art that took place in South America in the aftermath of World War II, in relation to the making of the first nucleus of the collection of the São Paulo Museum of Modern Art (MAM), while comparing them to the comprehensive panorama of modern Italian art exhibited at the MoMA, parallel to the fostering of a market for modern Italian art in the United States, in those same years. The initial research into the 71 Italian paintings from the Ventennio is the starting point to tackle the notion of Novecento Italiano that the South American artistic milieu used to describe the painters and works here involved, and its connections with notions of national identity, latinity, and classicism. The idea of Novecento Italiano and latinity stemmed from the familiarity South American critics and artists had with the Italian artistic milieu, be it by the massive presence of Italian immigrants in the region, or by the fact that the National Fascist Party promoted Italian art and culture among the community of immigrants in the Americas. What seems of special interest is to see the use of the same strategies, the same organizations (sometimes renamed or reinvented), the same artists and works, and the notion of Novecento Italiano in the remaking of diplomatic alliances between South American countries and Italy in the aftermath of the fall of the Regime – contrarily to what was the discourse to be built on modern Italian art in the United States.

MAGALHAES, Ana Goncalves

Ana Magalhães is Associate Professor at the Museum of Contemporary Art of the University of São Paulo (MAC USP), in Brazil, since 2008, where she is involved both in curatorial research and teaching and supervising undergraduate and graduate students. Her current research focuses on a collection of modern Italian paintings belonging to MAC USP, which was acquired for the creation of the former São Paulo Museum of Modern Art (MAM). The first part of this research was presented in the exhibition "Classicism, Realism and Avant-Garde: Italian Painting in Between the Wars" that she curated at MAC USP, in 2013, accompanied by the international seminar "Latin Modernity. The Italians and the Centers of Latin American Modernism". The second part of the research was presented as her habilitation thesis in 2015, entitled "Modern Classicism: Margherita Sarfatti and Italian Painting at the Collection of MAC USP", now under preparation for publication in Portuguese.