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Saturday, June 2 • 2:00pm - 2:30pm
(Paintings) The use of modern paints by the concrete artist Ivan Serpa in artworks of the early 1950’s

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This work debates the use of modern paints by the Brazilian concrete artist Ivan Ferreira Serpa (1923-1973) during the early 1950’s as an alternative to explore the constructivism principles in paintings. Two works will be discussed: "Forma em evolução" (1952) and "Quadrados em rítmos resultantes" (1953). Ivan Serpa was born in Rio de Janeiro and explored different painting techniques and materials during his short career. With Mário Pedrosa (1900-1981), the artist was responsible for introducing abstract art in Rio in 1949. He founded an art school for kids and adults in the "Museu de Arte Moderna" (MAM-RJ), created the vanguard movement "Grupo Frente" (1954-1957) and won in the "I Bienal of São Paulo" the “Young Painter Prize”. With "Grupo Frente" he taught precision in geometrical forms but was a prominent defender of the use of colors, in opposition to rigid principles created by the "Grupo Ruptura" (1952-1959) in São Paulo. Serpa's experience as a teacher, a graphic designer and a student in the advertisement course performed at "Fundação Getúlio Vargas" (1946-1948), probably enable him the precision and skills to build his constructive forms.

In "Forma em evolução" (1952) Serpa is possibly interested in bright, pure and translucent colors, as well as precise and flat surfaces, without brushstroke signs. This earlier composition is made of three basic layers: blue (ground layer), black and red. On the blue and red areas, it is visible how the artist applied several layers and possibly used masks to build precise lines and shapes. According to Pedrosa, during this period Serpa experimented industrial paints and brands like “Ripolin”. Serpa confirmed the use of this material because it was stable, self-leveling, and free from stains. On "Quadrados em rítmos resultantes" (1953), instead, the artwork is made by the contrast of vivid and dark colors, glossy and opaque surfaces. The geometrical areas are possibly painted with masking tape. The chemical analysis realized on "Forma em evolução" (1952) and "Quadrados em rítmos resultantes" (1953) revealed the presence of alkyd resin.

This result is consistent with household paints composition in the 1950’s in Brazil. Alkyd paint also had desirable properties for modern artists like Serpa: fast drying, glossy and self-leveling surfaces. Historical research on paint materials and chemical industry in Brazil showed that the importation of Ripolin paints occurred since the beginning of the XX century. Alkyd resins, instead, were imported in the mid-1940 and started to be manufactured in the early 1950’s. However, the availability of alkyd paint is noticed only in the Brazilian market in the mid-1950, suggesting that when the artist produced this group of paintings alkyds weren't available in Brazil. Serpa probably had to mix the resin, pigments, and solvents by himself; the effect of this process could be observed on the bubbles and pores formed on the surface of both paintings. This study aims to contribute to a better understanding of Ivan Serpa’s production as well as his artistic intention.

avatar for João Henrique Ribeiro Barbosa

João Henrique Ribeiro Barbosa

Substitute Professor, Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG)
João Henrique Ribeiro Barbosa has a BA in Cultural Heritage Artifact Conservation and Restoration from the School of Fine Arts at the Federal University of Minas Gerais (EBA-UFMG). He is in the second year of the master's program in Cultural Heritage Preservation offered by School... Read More →

avatar for Yacy A. Froner

Yacy A. Froner

Associate Professor, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais
Yacy-Ara Froner has a BA in history from the Federal University of Ouro Preto in Brazil (1988). She has a MA in Social History from the University of São Paulo (1994). She has a Ph.D. in Economic History with an emphasis in Cultural Heritage from the University of São Paulo (2001... Read More →
avatar for Giulia Giovani

Giulia Giovani

Associate Professor, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais
Associate professor in the Undergraduate Program of Conservation in School of Fine Arts in Federal University of Minas Gerais.
avatar for Alessra Rosado

Alessra Rosado

Adjunct Professor, UFMG School of Fine Arts
Dr. Alessra Rosado is a professor at the UFMG School of Fine Arts. She has a PhD in Art from the Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG), a MA in Visual Arts from UFMG (2005), a certificate in the Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Properties (CECOR) from the School of Fine... Read More →
avatar for Luiz A  C Souza

Luiz A C Souza

Associate Professor - Coordinator of LACICOR - Conservation Science Laboratory, Federal University of Minas Gerais
Dr. Luiz Souza holds a M.Sc. in Chemistry, with experimental work developed at the IRPA – Institut Royal du Patrimoine Artistique (Brussels, Belgium, 1986-87), where his work has focused on stone degradation and conservation techniques. The experimental work for his Ph.D. in Chemistry... Read More →

Saturday June 2, 2018 2:00pm - 2:30pm MDT
Texas Ballroom A Marriott Marquis Houston
  6. Specialty Session, Paintings
  • Specialty Tracks Paintings
  • Cost Type Included with registration
  • Abstract ID 13555
  • Authors (in order) João H. R. Barbosa, Luiz A. C. Souza, Giulia V. Giovani, Alessandra Rosado, Yacy A. Froner