Vieira da Silva

Maria Helena Vieira da Silva was born in Lisbon on June 13, 1908, and died in Paris on 6 March, 1992. Having shown interest since childhood for several arts, began to study Painting in 1919, with Emilia Braga Santos and Armando Lucena. In 1928 she visit Italy, and moved to Paris, where she attend Bourdelle`s sculpture classes, at the Academy La Grande Chaumiere. Finally abandons the sculpture, after attending Despiau`s classes, and returns to study Painting with Dufresne, Waroquier and Friez, participating in an exhibition at the Paris Salon. Know the Hungarian painter Arpad Szennes, with whom she marries in 1930. In 1939 return to Portugal but stay here for a short time, because portuguese government will not refund the Portuguese citizenship to Arpad Szennes, even though married by the church. The Second World War had begun and the couple of painters decide to go to Brazil, fearing a possible invasion of Portugal by the German army. In Brazil they were welcomed with open arms, receiving diplomatic passports, which replace the stateless persons issued by the League of Nations. They resided in Rio de Janeiro until 1947, painting, exhibiting and teaching. After that, Vieira da Silva return to Portugal, first that her husband retained by their academic commitments. By this time, she beginning to be recognized and the French State buys her “La Partie d'échecs”, one of her most famous paintings. Sells her works to several museums, holds several tapestries and stained glass, works in print, made illustrations for books and sets. Exhibits all around the world and wins the Grand Prix of São Paulo Biennial in 1962, and in the following year the Grand Prix National des Arts in Paris. In 1956, she became French citizen.