Tag Archives: Francisca da Silva de Oliveira

Guignard, Brazilian artist

9 Nov

In an eighteenth century house on the busy thoroughfare of Rua Direita (officially known as Rua Conde de Bobadela), at number 110 in Ouro Preto MG, there’s a little gem of an art museum. An elegant building, like much of the centre of Ouro Preto it’s baroque in style.


It’s the Casa Museu Guignard, dedicated to the work of Alberto da Veiga Guignard, twentieth century Brazilian painter.

18th century domestic architecture

Many of Guignard’s works are in private collections; the museum’s modest collection is mostly portraits. The collection offers an insight into the workings of Brazilian society.

A a series of portrait sketches from the 1950s are decorative and well drafted.

Indian ink on paper – reminiscent of Aubrey Beardsley

But there’s more than decoration here. A sketch of a freed slave, Francisca da Silva de Oliveira, who rose to the highest levels of society in the wealthy state of Minas Gerais, rubs shoulders with portraits of writers and patrons of the arts.


Chica da Silva (1732 – 1796), freed slave and Minas Gerais society figure

More of her story at http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=pt&u=http://pt.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chica_da_Silva&prev=search

Equally, Guignard’s unerring eye is turned on himself – thick glasses, hare lip – and stares back at us from the self-portrait.




An accomplished draftsman, Guignard also handled paint with skill.

Brazilian Italian Anita Uxa, founder of an arts appreciation society in Belo Horizonte

Brazilian Italian Anita Uxa, founder of an arts appreciation society in Belo Horizonte MG

Video portrait of Anita Uxa in Italian at 

His style calls to mind Warhol portraits, his backgrounds can remind you of the topography of European portraiture.

Lúcia Machado de Almeida, Ouro Preto writer

Lúcia Machado de Almeida, Ouro Preto children’s author

In the portrait of Lúcia Machado de Almeida, her subject – the city and its surroundings – seem to revolve around her. More at http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=pt&u=http://pt.wikipedia.org/wiki/L%25C3%25BAcia_Machado_de_Almeida&prev=search

A landscape of Minas Gerais is apocalyptic – the baroque landmarks look like ships on a storm-tossed sea, roped together by the roads.

Minas landscape

Minas landscape

At his best, Guignard transcends the naif style of the souvenir painting to offer penetrating vision and insight. The museum rightly offers this portrait as his best work in their holdings.

Portrait of a man, oil on wood, 1949

Portrait of a man, oil on wood, 1949

There are more sketches and portraits in the collection, as well as hand-drawn cards, decorated objects and photographs. A short documentary video is also helpful.


Known as a landscape painter, Guignard’s portraits are the stronger work. With a European-trained eye and a deep connection to society life, he offers a new perspective on the rich diversity of Brazilian culture.

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