Maria Helena Vieira da Silva
Maria Helena Vieira da Silva b. 1908, Lisbon, Portugal; d. 1992, Paris
Oil on canvas
63 7/8 x 57 5/8 inches (162.2 x 146.3 cm)
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York
2015 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris
Maria Helena Vieira da Silva, who spent the majority of her artistic career in France, was recognized for her dynamic and intricately woven compositions. Having studied painting with Fernand Léger at a young age, she adopted the restricted palette and fragmented forms of the Cubists and later became a key abstract practitioner in postwar Paris. Rather than planning out her richly textured compositions in advance, she often began by laying down lines and allowing the work to evolve as she progressed, much like the Surrealists. The vertical lines and colored squares that cover the canvas in Aix-en-Provence (1958) suggest at once architecture and a purely abstract surface that seems to shimmer.