Ivan Serpa - Latin America New York Tuesday, November 15, 2011 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Ivan Serpa Family

  • Exhibited

    Rio de Janeiro, Imperial Palace, Ivan Serpa, 2004

  • Literature

    S. Roesler, Ivan Serpa, Rio de Janeiro: Instituto Cultural The Axis, 2003, p. 10

  • Catalogue Essay

    In spite of his untimely death in 1973 at the age of 50, Ivan Serpa is considered one of the most influential and visionary artists in the Brazilian constructivist avant-garde. As an artist and educator, his legacy can be seen through the work of Hélio Oiticica, Antonio Manuel, Lygia Clark and countless other creative intellectuals who turned the Concrete and Neo-Concrete movements into two of the most prominent currents in Latin American post-modernism.

    Throughout his life, Serpa worked as an art educator at the Museum of Modern Art in Rio and as an art therapy tutor in the Engenho de Dentro Psychiatric Hopsital in Rio de Janeiro. The honesty of patients’ works bordered on the brutal, and their expressive power left a firm imprint on Serpa’s artistic conscience. This quality of authentic, unrestrained expression subtly made its way into even his most geometric works, adding an understated softness that oscillated against the strict lines and restrained borders traditionally associated with the style. Seeing as Serpa was at the heart of the artistic community of his time, it is no surprise that a similar, ever so slight undulation of line and shape can also be seen in Oiticica’s Metaesquemas.

    The repetitive, uniform pattern evident in Série Amazonica reflects the visual language associated with the Concrete and Neo-Concrete movements. However, the gentle use of curves and undulation throughout, as well as the vibrant palette of turquoise, pink and green, bring to mind a profoundly expressive figuration, reminiscent of Pop Art and Tropicália. In Serpa’s vision, as in the work of those he influenced, geometry is articulate, relatable, and engaging— a master class offered by a true educator.



Série Amazonica, N˚27

Oil on canvas.
48 x 48 in. (121.9 x 121.9 cm).
Signed, titled, dated and numbered "SÉRIE AMAZONICA, N˚27, Serpa 70, IVAN SERPA" on the reverse.

$220,000 - 280,000 

Sold for $230,500

Latin America

14 & 15 November 2011
New York