The centenary of the Week of Modern Art

Tarsila do Amaral, One Only, 1930
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By WALNICE NOGUEIRA GALVÃO*

Comments on the celebrations of the 100th anniversary of the Week of 22

1.

It took a hundred years, an entire century, but now we have an achievement to toast: the rescue, performance and recording of the music from the Week of Modern Art in 1922. Another very high-level initiative that we owe to Sesc, the four CD box set if Toda Semana: Music and Literature at Modern Art Week. The box booklet brings poems and conferences of the Week, as well as new studies.

Three experts are in charge of the project: musicologist from the Institute of Brazilian Studies at USP (IEB) Flávia Camargo Toni, Claudia Toni and Camila Fresca. Surveying, summoning and rehearsing the musicians, proceeding with the recording: the task is no small one...

Villa-Lobos was even the composer most played during the Week, with around 20 works. He also functioned as a conductor, gallantly facing the boos and boos that greeted so much modernity. Among the instrumentalists, the performances of pianists Lucília Villa-Lobos, Frutuoso Vianna, Ernani Braga and the great Guiomar Novaes stand out.

The suits that now perform the music were composed by renowned professionals. Conductor and violinist Claudio Cruz has a long apprenticeship as shoulder from Osesp. Alongside him is the young pianist Christian Budu, who has been accumulating awards: both are in charge of the fulcrum of the project. A highlight for Antonio Meneses, one of the greatest cellists of our time, and Mônica Salmaso, a voice with impeccable tuning. The booklet lists the instrumentalists and singers.

The realization is on a par with sophisticated undertakings such as those carried out in Paris for Marcel Proust, where it is possible to buy CDs or go to a concert with only songs from the eight volumes of in search of lost time. Without forgetting to include the classic songs of his friend Reinaldo Hahn, which were very popular at the time: his famous Si mes ver avaient des ailes, on a poem by Victor Hugo.

The Proustians open the discussion on a certain melodic phrase, the petite phrase of the Vinteuil sonata, attributed to a fictional composer: would it be by César Franck, Saint-Saëns or Gabriel Fauré? The author himself revealed that it was by Saint-Saëns, but scholars doubt his revelation... Or it could be a painting exhibition bringing together portraits of Proust and his friends, such as Robert de Montesquiou (whose masterly effigy, due to Whistler's brushes). , stay in Frick Collection of New York), Anna de Noailles, the various Greffühle (model of the Guermantes), Boni de Castellane etc., and the evoked landscapes (Illiers-Combray, Trouville etc.). Or even the clothes of the Countess of Greffühle, the most elegant of her time, the object of an exhibition a few years ago at the Galliera Palace.

 

2.

Fashion has been studied here too. A recently published book has an equally strong relationship with Paris, an inevitable destination at the time: The modernist wardrobe – The couple Tarsila and Oswald and fashion, by Carolina Casarin. Oswald's reference to Tarsila has already been quoted a lot: “… caipirinha dressed by Poiret…”. Researching in the archives of couturiers in Paris, the author found documentation relating to more than twenty of Tarsila's toilets, signed by Jean Patou and Paul Poiret. The very cape she wears in the most famous of her self-portraits (rouge manteau, 1923), in which the canvas is overwhelmed by a huge scarlet stain, is by Jean Patou.

Among many other revelations, the book raises a curiosity: Poiret's dresses had names. We learn the names of those bought by Tarsila: Mandalieu, Lampion, Mosqué, Riga, Esmeralda, Street… We learned that Poiret was not among the most advanced couturiers, such as Chanel, whose clothes were more flexible and untangled the female silhouette. On the contrary, hers were more pompous and ornate, with an oriental influence, therefore being less avant-garde and more ostentatious.

Polls, spurred on by the Centenary of the Week, continue to emerge. Practically a novelty every week, which is great.

 

3.

Among other benefits, the Centenary celebrations are leading to the publication of papers addressing hitherto unpublished aspects. While we wait for others to appear, we can read The Art of Devouring the World – Gastronomic Adventures of Oswald de Andrade, by Rudá K. Andrade, grandson of Patrícia Galvão (Pagu) and Oswald de Andrade. His name is Rudá like his father, except that his father's complete name is Rudá Poronominare Galvão de Andrade. As is known, it was Oswald who chose the two indigenous first names.

It is easy to confuse son and grandson, given that both are namesakes, bearing the same and rare first name of Rudá. Contemporary detractors of Oswald spread the villainy that he was so crazy that he had given his son the name “Lança-Perfume Rodo Metálico” – the most popular brand at carnivals at the time, when ether was sniffed at will, as one reads in the poems by Manuel Bandeira. The advantage of the Rodo Metálico was the metal tube, as the name implies, while the others were made of glass and shattered during the carousing of the party. But the slander is repeated to this day.

This book analyzes and comments, providing the appropriate recipes, the culinary preferences of the modernists, with an emphasis on Oswald, who appreciated a rich table and the refinement of the palate, but did not reject more common dishes, such as feijoada. As is known, Oswald was very rich in the first phase of his life, and rich as an heir, since he received as a legacy from his father, exempting him from working, an enormous amount of land between Cerqueira César and the Gardens, that is, the residential neighborhoods most central in the city.

His palate was honed in Paris, a regular destination since he was 22 years old, when he made his first trip in 1912. In Paris he learned gastronomic refinement and vanguardism. It was the ace of 1929, with the subsequent economic depression, that ruined him, as much as it ruined other artists, like Tarsila do Amaral, who had to earn a living as an illustrator and journalist. And it almost ruined the patrons of modernists like Paulo Prado and Olívia Guedes Penteado, who came out of the crisis with their fortunes shrinking.

 

4.

Oswald tells this in his books, and even more in the play the sailing king, extraordinary success when pioneered by Teatro Oficina, under the direction of José Celso Martinez Correia, contradicting the current opinion that Oswald's theater was not staged. So much so that decades had passed since he had written the king of the candle e The man and the horse, no one daring to take them to the stage. As for the dramatic poem The Sanctuary of the Mangrove, scatological and blasphemous, it goes without saying. But the production of Oficina, very creative, reinvented Oswald's theater: it was enough to find the way to stage it, it was enough to have the talent of José Celso.

Neither Oswald nor Flávio de Carvalho thought that his dramaturgy would not work on stage. Oswald cursed The Man and the Horse with Flávio de Carvalho for the Clube dos Artistas Modernos (CAM), which he had commanded since 1932, together with the painters Antonio Gomide, Di Cavalcanti and Carlos Prado, based under the Santa Efigênia Viaduct, then a prestigious address. The Club was a focus of modernist sociability and offered exhibitions, recitals, conferences and shows.

Flávio had founded Teatro da Experiência and was directing his own play, The Dead God's Ballet on CAM. It is known, and some have said so, that this is probably the foundational milestone of expressionist theater in Brazil. But, for that very reason, it caused a scandal and ended up being banned by the police, in response to the complaints of well-thinking people. The ban brought the end of CAM itself and Oswald's play was never staged – which is a shame. It is good to remember that Paulo Mendes de Almeida, in From Anita to the Museum , calls Flávio “the other enfant terrible of Modernism”, after Oswald, of course. CAM barely lasted two years. And that's how Oswald's theater remained unheard of.

But, back to gastronomy: with this book in hand, it would be possible to prepare a “modernist dinner” – and bon appetit!

*Walnice Nogueira Galvão is Professor Emeritus at FFLCH at USP. She is the author, among other books, of Reading and rereading (Senac / Ouro sobre azul).

 

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