Image oeuvre

Tarsila do Amaral

From October 9, 2024 to February 5, 2025
Musée du Luxembourg

A central figure of Brazilian modernism, Tarsila do Amaral (1886-1973) is one of Brazil’s best-known and best-loved artists. Starting in the 1920s, she created an original, evocative body of work, drawing on indigenous imagery and the modernising elements of a rapidly-transforming country.

Moving between São Paulo and Paris, Tarsila do Amaral ferried between the avant-gardes of these two cultural capitals. Having constructed a “Brazilian” iconographic world in Paris, put to the test by the Cubism and Primitivism so in vogue in the French capital, her painting was the root of the “anthropophagic” movement that emerged in São Paulo in 1928. Referencing the indigenous practice of “consuming the Other“ in order to take on their qualities, it metaphorically describes the Brazilians’ appropriation and constructive reformulation of foreign colonising cultures.

At the intersection of two cultures, each defining themselves in relation to the other, and without escaping the paradox of representing a popular and “authentic” Brazil – albeit through the lens of an erudite, cosmopolitan, aristocratic white woman – the work of Tarsila do Amaral also raises social, identity and racial issues and invites us to reconsider the divides between tradition and avant-garde, centres and outskirts, high culture and popular culture.

Although Tarsila do Amaral is well known and widely exhibited in her native country, very few exhibitions have so far been dedicated to her work abroad. This first retrospective in France (which gathers together more than 150 works) aims to bridge this gap, at a time when Brazil is occupying an increasingly significant place in the critical and historiographical discourse on “globalised” art and when women artists are finally beginning to reclaim their rightful place in narratives of art history.

Exploring her prolific production of the 1920s, with its links to Brazilian modernism, and the “Pau Brasil” (1924-1925) and “Antropofagia” movements (1928-1929) – where brightly coloured landscapes and clear lines alternate with dreamy, mysterious and fascinating visions –, this retrospective is also an opportunity to present lesser-known or even previously unseen aspects of the artist’s career. While there is a perceptible political and militant dimension to her 1930s output, connoted by striking social realism, the dreamlike giganticism of the 1940s, the almost abstract geometry of some of her later compositions, as well as the way in which the artist continued to update her earlier production right into the 1960s, only confirm the power of a body of work anchored firmly in the culture of her time, ever-original and ready for reinvention.

Exhibition organised by GrandPalaisRmn

Under the patronage of Mr Emmanuel MACRON, President of the French Republic

The exhibition will then be presented at the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, from February 28 to June 8 2025.


Cecilia Braschi, Doctor of Art History and independent curator

From 9 October 2024 to 5 February 2025, daily from 10.30am to 7pm, with late-night opening on Mondays until 10pm.

Early closing at 6pm on 24 and 31 December.

Single ticket: €14
Reduced ticket : 10 €
Special price for young people aged 16-25: €10 for 2 from Monday to Friday after 4pm - booking recommended
Free for under-16s and those on minimum social welfare, unlimited with the Sésame Escales pass.

From March, 13 to August, 11 2024