Tarsila do Amaral The Moon 1928

  • MoMA, Floor 5, 509 The David Geffen Wing

In the 1920s, do Amaral frequently traveled between São Paulo, her native city, and Paris. There, she became acquainted with artists such as Constantin Brâncuși and Fernand Léger, and witnessed a variety of avant-garde artistic strategies. In this painting of a moonlit scene, a lonesome cactus resembling a human figure stands in the foreground, contemplatively facing the crescent moon while rooted in an elliptical stream of water—a recurring motif in do Amaral’s compositions from this period. The painting reflects what the artist called her “clean, sharply outlined” technique, while offering an undulating spectacle of a dreamlike quality.

Gallery label from 2019
Additional text

A crescent moon hangs low on the horizon between wavy clouds and dark hills in Brazilian artist Tarsila do Amaral’s dreamlike landscape. Near the river stands a green heart-shaped form with two oval shapes growing out of it. Some people see it as a person, while others see it as a cactus or a tree. What do you see?

Kids label from 2021
Oil on canvas
43 5/16 × 43 5/16" (110 × 110 cm)
Gift of Joan H. Tisch (by exchange)
Object number
© Tarsila do Amaral
Painting and Sculpture

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