Antonio Henrique Amaral (1935, São Paulo - 2015, São Paulo)
Original colour lithograph
63 cm x 90 cm
Very rare edition
Hand-signed and numbered (62/99) in pencil
In very good condition (a very discreet spot on the top, left side - see photo)
"But I was learning how to paint, and many people said, Oh, you learn to paint through the banana, through mouths and tongues? And I would say, Yes, we learn with everything. I used oil paint and palette knifes. I started with some sketches and, because my formation was graphic with woodcuts and drawings, I started painting in a very graphic style."
"The banana was born as a gesture, a satirical approach".
- Amaral, interviewed by Bartholomew Ryan
Antonio Henrique Amaral, Fork
Antônio Henrique Amaral was a modern Brazilian painter and printmaker. He was a copywriter and PR rep in his youth for an American advertising agency in São Paulo untill mid-60s, when he decided to concentrate solely on his art.
He is known for his photorealistic paintings of bananas with a pop palette, mutilated by forks, which carry themselves a political statement against the military juntas that turned Brazil into a 'banana republic'.
Representing the identity of Brazil in the 1920s (as depicted by the national art movement Antropofagia) through the symbolism of the 'banana republics' of the 1960s (of the modernist painters), the concept and the image of 'Banana' was a national motif for many Brazilian artists.
Amaral's paintings also reference to the idea of 'the General', seen as the archetype of military force and intervention in the history of Latin America.
His first exhibition from São Paulo came as a shock for the Brazilian establishment and aroused great tension and criticism in the press (Mouths screaming and big bananas, full of close-ups and strange angles, both pop and surreal, in contrast with the general way of painting in the art world with its landscapes and romanticized views of reality).
He worked with multiple media with influences that range from his early engagements with the visual culture of the English and American Pop art (advertising, pop art and surrealism) to the lyrical abstraction and the personal free style of the late period.
"After I closed the banana period in ’76/’77 I started to look for some interior images. I stopped working with realistic images and I gave myself freedom to just go on searching with no single direction. I became more lyrical and more free in a way." (Amaral)