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Biography

SÉRVULO ESMERALDO  (1929-2017, Brazil)

“Geometry describes everything that you see.”

Sculptor, engraver, draftsman, and kinetic artist Sérvulo Esmeraldo began his artistic career in the late 1940s in northern Brazil, where he attended the open studio of the Sociedade Cearense de Artes Plásticas in Fortaleza. In 1951, he moved to São Paulo to study architecture, his arrival coinciding fortuitously with the first Bienal de São Paulo. Interested in mathematics, geometry, and physics, Esmeraldo also studied mechanics, electricity, and optics; these studies continue to influence his artistic output.

Like many Latin American artists in the 1950s, Esmeraldo moved to Europe to continue his studies and pursue a career; he lived in France from 1957 to 1977. While there, he worked and lived in close contact with an expatriate Brazilian community of artists, including Vicente do Rego Monteiro, Lygia Clark, Sérgio de Camargo, Franz Krajcberg, Arthur Luiz Piza, Flávio-Shiró, and Rossini Peres. He took classes in printmaking at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, and learned metal engraving in the studio of Johnny Friedlaender. During his first years in France, he also made weekly visits to the National Library, where he studied prints by Albrecht Dürer. In 1959, he was invited to participate in the fifth Bienal de São Paulo, marking the growing recognition of his work. He simultaneously pursued commercial work designing book covers, magazine illustrations, and record album covers.

In the early 1960s, Esmeraldo began making paintings and art objects he called Excitables, works which were activated by the static electricity from the viewer’s touch. “Charges run through them,” he noted, “jumping from element to element, modifying the structure of the composition.” Upon his return to Brazil in 1977, Esmeraldo started making public art projects. He organized two international exhibitions of ephemeral sculptures in 1986 and 1991, in which he invited artists from around the world to send designs for sculptures, to be completed and installed by preparators in his hometown of Ceará, Brazil. The exhibitions were unprecedented events in the history of public art production. Throughout Esmeraldo’s work—whether in printmaking, sculpture, or kinetic projects—a close observation of nature underpins his constructions. He returns consistently to the idea of line as an abstract value, and he observes, “For a question of temperament I was led to the purity of forms, balance, constraint, in short, simplicity…”

Selected Solo Exhibitions

2019
Sérvulo Esmeraldo: Linguagens Múltiplas, Instituto de Arte Contemporânea (IAC), São Paulo, SP, Brazil   

2018
Sérvulo Esmeraldo, Artista Homenageado Maloca Dragão 2018, MAC CE, Centro Dragão do Mar de Arte e Cultura, Fortaleza, Brazil

2017
A Intenção e o Gesto, Projeto Arte e Indústria, Artista Homenageado 6ª. 
Edição do Prêmio CNI SESI SENAI Marcantonio Vilaça para las Artes Plásticas, MuBE, São Paulo; Espaço Cultural Marcantonio Vilaça do TCU, Brazil; Museu da Indústria e MAC CE, Centro Dragão do Mar de Arte e Cultura, Fortaleza, Brazil; Museu Histórico Nacional, Rio de Janeiro; MASC, Florianópolis, Brazil
Pusations Pulsações do Arquivo Vivo de Sérvulo Esmeraldo, Instituto de Arte Contemporânea, Instituto Ling, Galeria Instituto Ling, Porto Alegre, Brazil
Sérvulo Esmeraldo, Objetos Nômades, Galeria Raquel Arnaud, São Paulo, Brazil

2016
Sérvulo Esmeraldo, die europäischen Jahre 1957-1975, Beurret & Bailly, Basel, Switzerland
Sérvulo Esmeraldo: Alinha, a luz, o Crato, Urca Campus Pimenta, Encosta do Seminario, Crato, Ceará, Brazil
Sérvulo Esmeraldo Esculturas e Relevos, Galeria de arte Murilo Castro, Belo Horizonta, Minas Gerais, Brazil
Sérvulo Esmeraldo, Sicardi Gallery, Houston, TX, USA; Frieze Masters Spotlight section, London, Great Britain

2015
Traço, Volume, Espaço, Galeria Raquel Arnaud, São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil
É pericoloso sporgersi, Amazém da Cultura, Fortaleza, Ceará, Brazil

2014
Sérvulo Esmeraldo, Paulo Darzé Galeria de Arte, Salvador, Bahia, Brésil
O Arquivo Vivo de Sérvulo Esmeraldo, Instituto de Arte Contemporanea (IAC), São Paulo, SP, Brazil

2013
Pinturas, Desenhos, Gravuras, Esculturas, Objetos e Excitáveis, Pinakotheke Cultural, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Sérvulo Esmeraldo: Luz, Palácio da Abolição, Fortaleza, Brazil

2012
Simples como um triângulo, Galeria Raquel Arnaud, São Paulo, Brazil

2011
Sérvulo Esmeraldo, Pinacoteca do Estado, São Paulo, Brazil

2010
Ocupação de Espaço, Centro Cultural Banco do Nordeste, Fortaleza, Brazil
Sérvulo Esmeraldo, Les Excitables, Art Outsiders, Maison Europeenne de la Photographie, Paris, France
Correspondência, Centro Cultural dos Correios, with Alex Nicolaeff, Fortaleza, Brazil

2008
Sérvulo Esmeraldo por Mota Machado, Obras de 40 anos, Centro Dragão do Mar de Arte e Cultura, Fortaleza, Brazil

2007
Sérvulo Esmeraldo, Sicardi Gallery, Houston, TX, USA
Museu de Arte Contemporânea, Centro Dragão do Mar de Arte e Cultura, Fortaleza, Brazil

2002
Galeria Antônio Bandeira, Fortaleza, Brazil

2001
1st Bienal de Artes do Cairi, Galeria do Sesc, Crato, Brazil
Múltipla Galeria de Arte, São Paulo, Brazil

1999
Centro Cultural do Abolição, Salão de Abril, Fortaleza, Brazil

1989
Tríade Galeria de Arte, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Galeria Paulo Figueredo, São Paulo, Brazil

1988
Museu Nacional de Belas Artes, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Gabinete de Arte Raquel Arnaud, São Paulo, Brazil
Galeria Klee, Escritório de Arte Orlando Bessa, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Museu de Arte da Bahia, Salvador, Brazil

1986
Esmeraldo/Krajcberg, ARTE Galeria, Fortaleza, Brazil
Skultura Galeria de Arte, São Paulo, Brazil

1985
Retrospective, 1947-1985, ARTE Galeria, Fortaleza, Brazil

1982
Skultura Galeria de Arte, São Paulo, Brazil

1981
Galeria Aktuell, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

1980
Jornal “O Povo”, Centro de Convenções, Fortaleza, Brazil
Galeria Ignez Fiuza, Fortaleza, Brazil

1979
Centro Venezolano de Cultura, Bogotá, Colombia
Hotel Quatro Rodas, São Luís, Brazil

1977
Sociedade de Cultura Artística, Crato, Brazil
Galeria Memória, Belo Horizonte, Brazil
Gatsby, Arte, Recife, Brazil

1976
Palácio das Artes, Belo Horizonte, Brazil
Petite Galerie, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Gabinete de Artes Gráficas, São Paulo, Brazil

1975
White Gallery, Lutry, Lausanne, Switzerland
Galerie Paul Bruck, Luxembourg
Galeria Ignez Fiuza, Fortaleza, Brazil
Gabinete de Artes Gráficas, São Paulo, Brazil
Correio Braziliense, Hotel Nacional, Brasilia, Brazil

1974
Galerie Sanguine, Collioure, France

1973
Galeria Ignez Fiuza, Fortaleza, Brazil

1971
Galerie La Pochade, Paris, France
White Gallery, Lutry, Lausanne, Switzerland
Galerie La Pierre de Lune, Canet-Plage, France
Galerie 32, Lyon, France

1969
Galerie Cosme Velho, São Paulo, Brazil

1968
Galerie Maurice Bridel, Lausanne, Switzerland

1967
Museu de Arte da Universidade do Ceará (MAUC), Fortaleza, Brazil
Galeria Itatiaia, Belo Horizonte, Brazil
Associação dos Amigos do Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo, Brazil

1966
Galeria A Gravura, Lisbon, Portugal
Galeria Ítalo-Brasiliano, Milan, Italy
Festival de Viana do Castelo, Viana do Castelo, Portugal (Guest artist)
Galerie Nouvelle Gravure, Paris, France

1964
Galerie Il Canale, Venice, Italy

1963
Galerie Maurice Bridel, Lausanne, Switzerland

1962
Galeria Relevo, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Galeria de Arte de Recife, Recife, Brazil
Museu de Arte da Universidade do Ceará (MAUC), Fortaleza, Brazil
Museu de Arte Moderna da Bahia, Salvador, Brazil
Centro de Artes, Ciências e Letras, Campinas, Brazil

1961
Galerie Maurice Bridel, Lausanne, Switzerland

1960
Galeria Lemac, Recife, Brazil

1957
Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil
Universidade Federal do Ceará, Fortaleza, Brazil

1956
Clube dos Artistas, São Paulo, Brazil

1951
Sociedade de Cultura Artística do Crato, Crato, Brazil

Selected Public Collections

Banco do Nordeste do Brasil, Fortaleza, Brazil

Biblioteca Estadual de São Paulo, SP, Brazil

Biblioteca Nacional, Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Biblioteca Pública de São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil

Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Cabinet des Estampes, Paris, France

Bolsa de Valores Regional, Fortaleza, Brazil

Cabinet des Estampes, Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Paris, France

Cincinnati Art Museum, Cincinnatti, OH, USA

CIFO - Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation, Miami, USA

Collection Oboé Cultural, Fortaleza, Brazil

Collections Publiques du Gouvernement Français, Paris, France

Espace de L’Art Concret, Donation Albers-Honneger, Mouans-Sartoux, France

Fonds National d’Art Contemporain, Paris, France

Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, Lisbon, Portugal

Fundação Edson Queiroz, Fortaleza, Ceará, Brazil

Gemeentemuseum, Den Haag, The Netherlands

Governo do Estado do Ceará, Fortaleza, Brazil

Graphicstudio, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL, USA

Instituto Figueiredo Ferraz, Ribeirão Preto, SP, Brazil

Itaú Cultural, São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil

Kunstmuseum, Basel, Switzerland

Maison Européenne de la Photographie, Paris, France

Musée d’Art Moderne de Saint Étienne, Saint-Étienne, France

Musée Rath, Geneva, Switzerland

Museo de Arte de La Habana, Havana, Cuba

Museo de la Solidaridad Fundación Salvador Allende, Santiago, Chile

Museu da Gravura de Curitiba, Curitiba, Paraná, Brazil

Museu de Arte Contemporânea de São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil

Museu de Arte Contemporânea, Centro Dragão do Mar de Arte e Cultura, Fortaleza, Brazil

Museu de Arte da Universidade Federal do Ceará, Fortaleza, Brazil

Museu de Arte de Londrina, Londrina, Paraná, Brazil

Museu de Arte de São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil

Museu de Arte Moderna da Bahia, Salvador, Brazil

Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil

Museu de Arte Moderna do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Museu de Arte Vicente Leite, Crato, Brazil

Museu Nacional de Belas Artes do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Museu Oscar Niemeyer, (MON), Curitiba, PR, Brazil

Museum of Contemporary Art, Skopje, Macedonia

NovoMuseu, Curitiba, Paraná, Brazil

Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice, Italy

Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil

Prefeitura Municipal de Fortaleza, Brazil

Secretaria da Cultura do Estado do Ceará - Centro de artes visuais Raimundo Cela, Fortaleza, Brazil