María Freire. Untitled. 1954

María Freire Untitled 1954

  • Not on view

“At the start of the fifties,” Freire recalled, “I abandoned figuration for the perspective of the imagination, anxious to create a new space.” To develop her own style of abstraction, she initially experimented with sculpture, creating virtual volumes through a single, dynamic line. Complex spatial effects also characterize her abstract paintings. Though free of perspective, her painted interwoven forms seem to recede, even dance, in an ambiguous space in tension with the painting’s flat surface.

Gallery label from Sur moderno: Journeys of Abstraction—The Patricia Phelps de Cisneros Gift, October 21, 2019–March 14, 2020
Additional text

This painting consists of a trio of geometric shapes in primary colors dancing around a kinked, spiraling black linean animated constellation that seems to move forward and backward through the picture plane. One of the leading abstractionists in Montevideo, Freire created paintings with flat, slick surfaces at a time when a more expressionistic, figurative style held sway there. She made Untitled the year after she participated in the second Bienal de São Paulo, where she encountered Brazilian geometric abstraction as well as European paintings by artists such as Piet Mondrian, both of which were generative in her pursuit of an abstract vocabulary.

Gallery label from Making Space: Women Artists and Postwar Abstraction, April 19 - August 13, 2017.
Medium
Oil on canvas
Dimensions
36 1/4 × 48 1/16" (92 × 122 cm)
Credit
Gift of Patricia Phelps de Cisneros through the Latin American and Caribbean Fund in honor of Gabriel Pérez-Barreiro
Object number
812.2016
Department
Painting and Sculpture

Installation views

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Provenance

The artist.
? - 1998, Galeria César Aché, Rio de Janeiro.
1998 - 2016, Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros, New York and Caracas, purchased through Galeria César Aché.
2016, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, acquired as promised gift from Patricia Phelps de Cisneros.

Exhibition history

MoMA Exh. #2376: "Making Space: Women Artists and Postwar Abstraction", 3rd Floor, The Edward Steichen Galleries, April 15 - August 13, 2017

MoMA Exh. #2424: "Sur moderno: Journeys of Abstraction—The Patricia Phelps de Cisneros Gift", 3rd Floor, 3 East, October 21, 2019 - September 12, 2020

MoMA Exh. #2460: "Fotoclubismo: Brazilian Modernist Photography, 1946-1964", 5th Floor, gallery 516, May 8 - September 26, 2021

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