Roberto Burle Marx, Oscar Niemeyer Ibirapuera Park project, São Paulo, Brazil (Site plan) 1953

  • Not on view

“The garden is, it must be, an integral part of civilized life; a deeply felt, deeply rooted, spiritual and emotional necessity,” said landscape architect Burle Marx. His asymmetrical plans featured native vegetation, colorful pavements, and free-form bodies of water. Burle Marx designed Ibirapuera Park in collaboration with Oscar Niemeyer, a fellow Brazilian architect with whom he’d previously worked on several landmark projects. Niemeyer’s freestanding structures, characterized by their bold combination of elementary geometric forms, are in constant dialogue with Burle Marx’s sinuous landscaping.

Gallery label from Crafting Modernity: Design in Latin America, 1940–1980, March 08, 2024 – September 22, 2024
Additional text

“El jardín es, debe ser, una parte integral de la vida civilizada; una necesidad espiritual y emocional profundamente sentida, profundamente arraigada”, dijo el arquitecto paisajista Burle Marx. Sus planos asimétricos presentaban vegetación nativa, pavimentos coloridos y cuerpos de agua de forma libre. Burle Marx diseñó el parque Ibirapuera en colaboración con Oscar Niemeyer, un colega arquitecto brasileño con quien había trabajado anteriormente en varios proyectos emblemáticos. Las estructuras independientes de Niemeyer, caracterizadas por su audaz combinación de formas geométricas elementales, están en constante diálogo con el sinuoso paisajismo de Burle Marx.

Gallery label from Crafting Modernity: Design in Latin America, 1940–1980 (en español), March 08, 2024 – September 22, 2024

Burle Marx was the first Brazilian landscape architect to depart from the classical principles of formal garden design. His asymmetrical plans and his use of native vegetation, colorful pavements, and free-form bodies of water have influenced landscape artists worldwide. His meticulous research on and cultivation of plant species indigenous to Brazil’s tropical regions were cornerstones of his designs; by choosing plants that naturally thrive in the climate and soil of the site and by including evergreens and perennials, Burle Marx produced gardens that are easy to maintain and thus in keeping with modern lifestyles.

Burle Marx was a painter by training, and his designs, with their careful juxtapositions of contrasting colors, shapes, and textures, have been likened to paintings or, in light of their ever-evolving nature, living works of art. Whimsical and somewhat reminiscent of Surrealist compositional forms, his curvilinear designs evoke the work of Jean (Hans) Arp, Alexander Calder, and Joan Miró.

Burle Marx designed the landscaping for Ibirapuera Park in collaboration with Niemeyer, an architect with whom he had worked on several landmark projects. The latter’s freestanding structures, characterized by their bold combination of elementary geometric forms, are in a constant dialogue with Burle Marx’s sinuous landscaping. The organically shaped planting beds, pathways, and bodies of water all aim to integrate landscape with architecture, forming a synthetic entity that decisively shaped twentieth-century Brazilian modernism.

Publication excerpt from MoMA Highlights: 375 Works from The Museum of Modern Art, New York (New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 2019)
Medium
Gouache and graphite on board
Dimensions
39 1/2 x 59 1/2" (100.3 x 151.1 cm)
Credit
Gift of Roblee McCarthy, Jr. Fund and Lily Auchincloss Fund
Object number
157.1991
Copyright
© 2024 Burle Marx & Cia.Ltda
Department
Architecture and Design

Installation views

We have identified these works in the following photos from our exhibition history.

How we identified these works

In 2018–19, MoMA collaborated with Google Arts & Culture Lab on a project using machine learning to identify artworks in installation photos. That project has concluded, and works are now being identified by MoMA staff.

If you notice an error, please contact us at [email protected].

Licensing

If you would like to reproduce an image of a work of art in MoMA’s collection, or an image of a MoMA publication or archival material (including installation views, checklists, and press releases), please contact Art Resource (publication in North America) or Scala Archives (publication in all other geographic locations).

MoMA licenses archival audio and select out of copyright film clips from our film collection. At this time, MoMA produced video cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. All requests to license archival audio or out of copyright film clips should be addressed to Scala Archives at [email protected]. Motion picture film stills cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. For access to motion picture film stills for research purposes, please contact the Film Study Center at [email protected]. For more information about film loans and our Circulating Film and Video Library, please visit https://www.moma.org/research/circulating-film.

If you would like to reproduce text from a MoMA publication, please email [email protected]. If you would like to publish text from MoMA’s archival materials, please fill out this permission form and send to [email protected].

Feedback

This record is a work in progress. If you have additional information or spotted an error, please send feedback to [email protected].