Mira Schendel - Latin America New York Monday, November 24, 2014 | Phillips
  • Provenance

    Collection of Elsa Braun, Brazil
    Ricardo Camargo Galeria, São Paulo
    Acquired from the above by the present owner

  • Exhibited

    São Paulo, Ricardo Camargo Galeria, 6+46+17, 6-31 October, 2012

  • Literature

    6+46+17, exh. cat., Ricardo Camargo Galeria, São Paulo, 2012, p. 16 (illustrated)

  • Catalogue Essay

    Mira Schendel is considered one of the most original and important artists of the second half of the 20th century, “reinventing the language of European modernism in Brazil.” She produced an incredibly prolific body of work over a span of 40 years, and since many of her works were not exhibited or published during her lifetime, there are still several undiscovered areas of her oeuvre.

    Schendel repeatedly uses a series of leitmotifs — letters, geometric figures, phrases and images — in different mediums throughout her work, which together reflect an innovative visual lexicon. Entertaining a preference for unusual materials such as rice paper, fabrics and aqueous inks, she produced works of art with breathtaking delicacy. These artistic tools and careful methodology create an aesthetic unity in her oeuvre that reflects a freedom whereby the artist explored many different paths in order to achieve her creative goals.

    During the 1970s Schendel deepened her study of spirituality and philosophy, and she incorporated more vibrant colors into her previously largely monochromatic palette. This shift is reflected in the present lot, where Schendel utilized the technique of embroidery with brightly colored thread and pigments to create geometrical forms that together form the shape of a cross or a cathedral navel. Schendel left behind an exquisite legacy that goes beyond the materiality of making art, allowing us to understand the relationship between language, time and human thought processes.

  • Artist Biography

    Mira Schendel

    Brazilian • 1919 - 1988

    Born in Zurich and of Jewish heritage, Mira Schendel escaped Switzerland during World War II to settle in Sarajevo and Rome, finally immigrating to Brazil in 1953. In the 1960s, she began to produce her iconic monotipas, delicate drawings on luminescent rice paper. She rejected the notion of painting as a primary medium, abandoning the genre in the 1970s for almost a decade. Schendel worked mostly with paper and objects made of unusual materials such as Plexiglas, fabrics and aqueous inks.

    Recurring themes in her work include letters, geometric figures and phrases reflecting a radical lexicon, often juxtaposing elements from two languages (visual and numerical). Many of her works hover in the space between drawing and writing, creating a certain visual poetry that is completely her own. Schendel's works go beyond the materiality of making art and allow viewers to understand the relationship between language, time and human thought processes.

    View More Works



embroidery and acrylic on fabric
71 5/8 x 36 1/4 in. (181.9 x 92.1 cm.)
Signed "Mira" center.

$70,000 - 90,000 

Contact Specialist
Laura González
Director of Latin American Art
New York
+1 212 940 1216

Latin America

New York Auction 24 November 2014 2pm