1887 – 1918

Amadeo de Souza-Cardoso was born on November 14, 1887, in Manhufe, Amarante, Portugal, into a wealthy family of landowners. His early interest in drawing was fostered by his friend Manuel Laranjeira and further developed in Lisbon while studying architecture at the Academy of Fine Arts. In 1906, Amadeo moved to Paris, initially to prepare for the École des Beaux Arts, but soon immersed himself in the vibrant art scene, shifting his focus to drawing and painting.

In Paris, Amadeo’s studio became a hub for Portuguese artists like Eduardo Viana and Emmerico Nunes. By 1908, Amadeo’s artistic circle expanded, and he began studying with painter Anglada-Camarasa. Moving to rue des Fleurus, he distanced himself from the Portuguese art community, striving to break from traditionalist norms. Influenced by Flemish Primitives and modernist friends like Amedeo Modigliani, Amadeo exhibited at the Salon des Indépendents in 1911, showcasing six paintings.

Amadeo’s art during this period, marked by vibrant colors and decorative elements, often explored themes of hunting. His painting “The Greyhounds,” displayed at the 1911 Salon des Indépendents, exemplifies this phase. Collaborating with Modigliani, Amadeo created stylized, elongated figures in exotic settings, reminiscent of symbolism and art nouveau. In “The Greyhounds,” two expectant greyhounds and fleeing rabbits create a dynamic composition, employing futurist techniques to suggest motion and tension.

The outbreak of World War I stranded Amadeo in Portugal, where he continued to develop his art. His connection with Sonia and Robert Delaunay, also displaced by the war, and interactions with Portuguese modernists like Almada Negreiros, influenced his mature work. Despite organizing significant exhibitions in Portugal, Amadeo faced traditionalist resistance, though he was defended by figures like Fernando Pessoa.

Amadeo’s promising career ended abruptly when he died of pneumonia on October 25, 1918, at 30. Recent studies revealed two hidden paintings beneath “The Greyhounds,” adding layers of intrigue to his legacy. Amadeo de Souza-Cardoso remains a pivotal figure in modernist art, celebrated for his innovative techniques and vibrant compositions.