Kunstgalerij Mens en Natuur

In Search of Beauty. 16 december 2006 - 17 maart 2007

(Rio de Janeiro 7 april 1924 – 26 september 2004)

Isolda Hermes da Fonseca behoort tot de meer bekende Braziliaanse kunstenaars uit de tweede helft van de 20ste eeuw. Niet in het minst omdat ze, beïnvloed door de thematiek en de kunst uit de Italiaanse Renaissance (Firenze) en de Preraffaëlieten, vooral in Italië furore maakte. Haar werk, met sterk koloriet, ademt zowel gedrevenheid en gestrengheid als een romantische en mystieke sensibiliteit. Ze combineert een sierlijke tekenkunst met een krachtige expressiviteit die vooral in haar portretkunst tot uiting komt. Het gracieuze, het zoeken naar schoonheid is de meest in het oog springende kwaliteit van haar werk.

Isolda Hermes da Fonseca
Written by Geraldine van Chapman

Isolda was like a creative fire. She can turn anything negative into positive, someone said about her. She's honoured by many as one of the best painters of Brazil and known as a friend of the powerful and the humble.

The name given to Isolda is perhaps inspired by the heart breaking music of Wagner, on the drama of 'Tristan and Isolda', a passionate, prohibited love and a romantic death, similar to Shakespeare's 'Romeo and Juliet', a symbol of love's victory over all obstacles and all world's conventions and finally over death itself.

Indeed a mystical, poetic, romantic and a heroic music is made visible in the works of Isolda, Particularly in the decisive force and delicacy of her drawings, some of which were first presented in the exhibition in her honour 'Isolda. Mestra da Madrep?rola' ('The master of the Mother Pearl') in Rio in 2005, after her death, and which are now presented in Belgium, in the Gallery Man & Nature, in Sint-Martens-Latem as 'In search of Beauty'.

Isolda's work combines the longing, the vigour, the lust for life and sense for mysticism of her Brazilian native humble origins (from the region of the Amazon river Par?) and the passion and adventure of Spanish conquistadores from her mother's side, with the military discipline and power of the family of her father, and of her great uncle, the first president of Brazil, the historical figure Deodoro Hermes da Fonseca, who helped to create the Republic in Brazil, and her grand father, a later president of the Republic. Isolda Hermes da Fonseca was born in 7 April of 1924 in the presidential palace of the Catete, in Rio de Janeiro, and spent her early years as a child in a tropical and picturesque island called Paquet? in the Bay of Guanabara. There she grew up in an elegant aristocratic family, in an atmosphere that became source of much of her reminiscences and inspiration.

Youngest sister of three brothers in the home of strong military commanders, though accepting to be protected and pampered by them, Isolda never allowed herself to be left behind.

Isolda made her studies in Washington in the Corcoran school of Art, where she met the American painter Grover Chapman, who she married and with whom she continued her studies in Florence. The couple have lived from their Art and bringing up their two children, Geraldine and Paula, in their ateliers and Art milieu.

Grover Chapman, with whom she married, has become famous for his illustrations of the book about the 'Guerra dos Canudos' (CHAPMAN, Grover.O epis?dio de Canudos de Euclides da Cunha.Rio de Janeiro, Salamandra. 1978), his many paintings inspired in the Brazilian folklore and the several murals he painted in Brazil.

Paula, the youngest daughter of Grover and Isolda, born in Florence, is a psychologist, founder of the therapy centres Namast? in Brazil.
Geraldine van Chapman, nature painter and spiritual philosopher, born in New York, is one of the collaborators and guest artists of the Gallery Man & Nature.

As an enthusiastic lover of Music, Art, Poetry, Science and even Science fiction, Isolda united in her work her own heroes of history and mythology, honouring of the achievements of the human spirit, from the Greek ideal to the Renaissance and Humanism up to the 21th century. Her international career was brilliant, with innumerable exhibitions, prizes worldwide and important publications in her name as the illustrations of a book of the sonnets of Shakespeare, the illustrations of the life of Francis of Assisi, the Stations of the Cross for a church in the salt lake city of Araruama in the State of Rio de Janeiro. Though occasionally her passion was devastating as well as charming and assertive: she combined these masculine and feminine qualities in a powerful creative force in herself and in her art, mostly gladdening all around her. Her sense of humour was unbeatable. Not even her own suffering at the end of her life could beat it. Isolda left her body in her atelier in Rio on the 26th September 2004. Known by all for her intelligent and surprising spontaneity, her generosity and joy of living, the great Brazilian Isolda was brave to her last moments on the Earth. The spirit of Isolda, as her powerful art goes on living forever, in search of the real face of the angels, the face of love, the source of all beauty. 'The face is the great landscape', Isolda used to say.


1947/48 Corcoran School of Art,Washington D.C.
1948/49 New York.
1949/51 Firenze.

Collectieve tentoonstellingen
1947/48 Corcoran Gallery, Washington and Artists Cooperative, Washington.
1948 Washington Outdoor Show.
1951/63 Sal?o de Arte Moderna Rio.
1964 University of Delaware; Bertuche Gallery New York en Paintings and Drawings, Madison Avenue, New York.
1964/68 Herbert Star Gallery, New York.
1965 Brazilian Cultural center, New york; Braxan Gallery New York en Adelphi University, New York.
1976 Coletiva de Ver?o, Ranulfo Galeria Recife.
1990 'Poetische Kunst' Galerie Studio, Gent, Belgi?.
2005 Galeria Embaixada da Argentina Rio ( com BIKOKAI).
En tal van andere.

Individuele tentoonstellingen
1956 Petite Gallerie, Rio en Galleria IBEU, Rio.
1959 Livraria Thomas Jefferson, Rio.
1962 Galeria Gead, Rio.
1963 Brazilian Cultural Center, New York.
1964 West Nyack Clarksville, New York.
1967 Centerville, Delaware.
1969 Inter-American Development Bank, Washington.
1969 Varanda, Rio.
1971 Irlandini, Rio.
1973 IBEU, Rio.
1976 Mini Gallery, Rio.
1977 Ranulfo Galleria de Arte, Recife.
1978 Galleria Academia Internazionale, Roma. Per la unit? de la Cultura, Roma.
Ranulfo Galeria de arte, S?o Paulo. Ranulfo Galeria de Arte, Recife.
1981 Galeria Ranulpho, S?o Paulo.
1982 Galeria da Ana Maria Niemeyer, Rio.
1983 In het Museu do Vaticano: schilderij van de heilige Cec?lia. Galeria Ranulpho, Recife.
1984 Galeria Ranulpho, S?o Paulo.
1986 'Romantic Art' in De Mattenburg, Bergen-op-Zoom, Nederland. Galeria da Accademia Internazionale Burckhardt, Roma.
1987 Hotel Ast?ria, Hamar, Nooorwegen. Galeria Ranulpho, Recife.
1995 Retrospectiva no Museu Nacional de Belas Artes, Rio.
1997 D`Hoogpoorte, Gent, Belgi?.
2005 'Isolda. Mestra da Madrep?rola' ('Isolda. The Master of the Mother pearl'). Retrospectiva Galeria de Arte Sala Djanira - FESP RJ, Botafogo, Rio.
2006 'In Search of Beauty' Kunstgalerij Mens & Natuur, Sint-Martens-Latem, Belgi?.

1948 Honourable prize Washington Outdoor Show.
1960 Medalha de Prata Museu de Belas Artes, Rio.
1962 Segundo pr?mio Concurso Formiplac, Rio.
1964 Aquisition Prize, University of Delaware; First prize, Awiza Pond, Bay Shore; second prize, Cross Country, New York; Third prize, Forest Hills, New York.
1977 Nativit? 77, Medaglia per pitura, Napoli; Nativit? 77, Primo premio Internazionale con medaglia Aurea della Respone per disegno; Membro Academico dela Accademia Internazionale Burckhardt, Suissa.
1978 Membro Accademico di Merito della Accademia dei 'i 500' di Arti, ettere, Scienze, Cultura, Roma; Premio Campidoglio d'Oro, Pittura, Roma; Centro Cultura Le Don Minzoni, Capena Concorso di pittura Sacra, premio Speciale con Grande Medaglia de 'Il Quadrato'.
1979 Nativit? 79, 1 premio, Regione Campania; Ente provinciale per il Turismo, Roma; Trofeo Claudio Monteverdi, Roma; Premio Speciale disegno Il Canacollo Galleria d'Arte, Firenze; Galleria Bottega d'Arte S. Ambroeus, Milano Premio speciale per disegno con Medaglia; Premio fuori Concorso 'Santa Croce', Firenze.
1991 Medalha de ouro no VIII Rio- Bi Exposi??o Nipo-Brasileira de Artes e o t?tulo de 'A MESTRA DA MADREP?ROLA'.


- Esta??es da Cruz, Igreja de Araruama, Estado do Rio, 1962.
- Roberto Pontual, Dicionario Das Artes Plasticas no Brazil, 1969.
- Ilustra??es para os sonetos de Shakespeare. Rio, Nova Fronteira, 1973.
- Aurelio Tommaso Prete, Arte figurativa nel mondo. Roma.
- Aurelio T. Prete, Isolda Hermes da Fonseca. Roma, Accademia Internazionale per l'Unit? della Cultura, 1978 (drietalig).
- Participatie als kunstenares in de verfilmde novelle 'A Sucessora' TV Globo, Rio, 1978.
- Piero Bargellini, S?o Francisco de Assis por Isolda. (Illustraties van het leven van Sint-Franciscus van Assisi)., Rio, 1981. Naar het Portugees vertaald door Padre Godinho.
- Vermelding in catalogus Vaticaans Museum (met schilderij van de heilige Cecilia), 1983.
- Opname in verkoopscatalogus 'Latin American Art' Sotheby's, New York, 1987.
- Nisia Nobrega, Isolda Hermes da Fonseca. In: Jornal do Commercio, 17.05.1994, Rio de Janeiro.
en tal van andere recensies.

Kijk ook naar artonhigh.com.

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