Anita Malfatti

“I only do what comes out of my heart, nothing to invent what is out of my reach.”

  • Name: Anita Malfatti
  • Born: December 2, 1889
  • Died: November 2, 1964
  • From: Brazil
  • Contribution/Impact:  The painter’s expressionist exhibition held in São Paulo at the Modern Painting Exhibition was a milestone for the renovation of plastic arts in Brazil.
  • Interesting Fact:  In 1917, Anita brought together 53 of her works with a strong expressionist tendency to exhibit individually in São Paulo at the “Anita Malfatti Modern Painting Exhibition”. This event became a landmark of the modernist movement in Brazil.
  • Famous Works: Anita Art Gallery
  • Awards:
      • Treseburg Forest, Private Collection, Treseburg (Germany), 1913
      • Study for the Silly One, Museu de Arte Brasileira, São Paulo 1915–1916
      • O Barco, Museum of Modern Art, Rio de Janeiro, 1915
      • The Silly One, Museu de Arte Contemporânea da USP, 1916
      • Picture of Man, Museu de Arte Brasileira, São Paulo
      • Man of the Seven Colors, São Paulo, 1916
      • The Russian Student, São Paulo Museum of Art, São Paulo, 1916
      • Mildred, Private Collection, New York, 1915 or 1916
      • Ritmo, Collection of Museu de Arte Contemporânea da USP, São Paulo, 1915–1916
      • Tropical, Collection of Pinacoteca do Estado, São Paulo, 1916
      • The Yellow Man, Collection Mario de Andrade, Instituto de Estudos Brasileiros da USP, São Paulo, 1915–1916
      • Dora Rainha do Frevo Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo 1934
      • Maria Antonia, Private Collection, 1937
      • O Canal e a Ponte, Galeria 22, Arte Brasileira 1940s
      • Vaso de Flores, Galeria 22, Arte Brasileira, 1922
      • Nu, Galeria 22, Arte Brasileira, 1925

Anita Catarina Malfatti was born on December 2, 1889 in the city of São Paulo. She was a painter, draftsman, engraver, illustrator, and teacher, and Anita learned to paint from her mother. Anita then went on to teach painting and language classes to help support her family. In 1910, with the help of an uncle and her godfather, she went to study in Germany, where she attended the Fritz Burger studio and later enrolled at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Berlin. She studied expressionist painting. In 1914, Anita Malfatti returned to Brazil and made an exhibition at Casa Mappim, where she presented the studies of expressionist painting carried out in Lovis Corinth’s studio, in Berlin. In 1915, she went to New York, when she had the freedom to paint freely, without aesthetic limitations. At that time, Anita painted her most brilliant pictures, among them: ‘A Boba’ (1915-16), ‘O Japonês’ (1915), and ‘O Farol’ (1915). Some of Anita’s works have become classics of modern painting, including: ‘A Estudante Russa’ (1915), ‘A Mulher de Cabelos Verdes’ (1917), and ‘O Homem Amarelo’ (1917).


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