José de Almada Negreiros: Pioneer of Portuguese Modernism and Multifaceted Artist

OV Digital Desk

Image Courtesy: Google Doodle

José de Almada Negreiros (7 April 1893 – 15 June 1970) was a multi-faceted artist, writer and choreographer of Futurism, and widely considered one of the most influential Portuguese and European artists of the 20th century.

Life and Career

He was born on the island of São Tomé and Príncipe on 7 April 1893 and began his creative journey as a caricaturist. What started off with satirical sketches turned into a self-taught love for all things art. At just 20 years old, Almada Negreiros hosted his first exhibition in Lisbon. A year later, in 1914, he published his first poem and, in 1915, started a progressive literary magazine called Orpheu, which promoted Portuguese Modernism.

In the 1920’s, Almada Negreiros lived in Paris and Madrid, honing his craft and skills through collaboration and sometimes even isolation. When he returned to Portugal in 1932, he expanded his artistic repertoire to include stained-glass pieces, mosaic panels, theater plays, ballets, graphic designs and more.

José de Almada Negreiros passed away on June 15, 1970, in Lisbon, Portugal, at the age of 77. His death marked the end of a prolific artistic career that spanned several decades and left a lasting impact on the Portuguese cultural landscape.

Award and Legacy

Almada Negreiros was awarded the Columbano Prize by the National Secretariat of Propaganda in 1942 and the Domingos Sequeira Award in 1946, as well as numerous other honors and decorations throughout his lifetime. His works are displayed far and wide around Europe, most notably in the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum in Lisbon, the port terminals of Alcântara and Rocha do Conde de Óbidos, and in the lounge bar of the Four Seasons Hotel Ritz Lisbon.

Negreiros’ legacy is far-reaching and multi-faceted. His work continues to be celebrated and studied both in Portugal and internationally. His paintings, drawings, and murals can be found in numerous museums and art collections. Negreiros’ literary works are also highly regarded and continue to inspire contemporary Portuguese writers.

As a multidisciplinary artist, Negreiros left a profound mark on Portuguese modernism and contributed to the broader European avant-garde movement of the early 20th century. His innovative approach to art and his commitment to pushing artistic boundaries continue to inspire and influence generations of artists in Portugal and beyond.

On 1 June 2022, Google celebrated José de Almada Negreiros with a doodle.  On this day in 1911, Almada Negreiros made his artistic debut at the age of 18 by publishing a cartoon titled “A Weighty Reason” in the 4th issue of A Sátira, a Lisbon magazine.