Tarsila do Amaral. The Moon. 1928

Tarsila do Amaral The Moon 1928

  • MoMA, Floor 5, 514 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 Brancusi 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

Amaral first showed *A Lua (The Moon)* in Paris, soon after she painted it in 1928. Beginning in 1920, she had traveled frequently between the French capitol and her native Brazil, working in both places. With works like this, she debuted a new style distinct from anything on the Parisian scene: sensuous, highly stylized landscapes and depictions of daily life rendered in a rich palette of saturated color. In this fantastical scene, a lone cactus in the foreground begins to take on the characteristics of a human figure. The wavy curves of a rippling stream, a quarter moon, and an undulating horizon resonate, infusing Amaral’s world with dreamlike qualities.

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

Installation views

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