Limited edition 2/120 silkscreen
25cm x 21cm
10″ x 8″


Click images to enlarge

Maria Elena Vieira da Silva was born in Lisbon on June 13, 1908. At age 11, she began a painting and drawing apprenticeship at the Art Academy of Lisbon. Before the age of twenty, she studied painting with Fernand Léger and Charles Dufresne, sculpture with Antoine Bourdelle, and engraving with Stanley Hayter. She also created works in textiles and ceramics.

Vieira da Silva moved to France in 1928, where she married the Hungarian painter Arpad Szenes in 1930, and was naturalized as a French citizen in 1956. In 1930, she exhibited her paintings in Paris. After a brief stay in Lisbon and a period in Brazil during the Second World War, she lived and worked in Paris for the rest of her life. At the end of the 1950s, Vieira da Silva gained international renown for her dense and complex compositions, influenced by Paul Cézanne, with their fragmented forms, their spatial ambiguities, and their restrained palette of colors with roots in Cubist and abstract art. She was considered one of the most important post-war abstract artists, even though her painting was not entirely abstract. Her works often resemble labyrinthine cities or even library shelving; allegories of an eternal quest for knowledge of the absolute.

Vieira da Silva exhibited her works in numerous places across the world and was honored with an award for her painting at the Sao Paulo biennale in 1961. She was awarded the Grand Prix National des Arts du gouvernement français in 1966 (the first woman ever so distinguished). She was named Knight of the Légion d’honneur in 1979.