Di Cavalcanti, Emiliano (1897–1976) By Kühl, Paulo
The works of Emiliano Di Cavalcanti are at the center of modernism and national art in Brazil. Practically a self-taught artist, he attended the workshop of Gaspar Puga Garcia (18??–1914) in Rio de Janeiro, and later, in São Paulo, when he started Law School, the workshop of Georg Fisher Elpons (1865–1939), a German artist who had moved to Brazil. In the first years of his career as an artist, Di Cavalcanti engaged in several activities as an illustrator and cartoonist and his drawings are among the most interesting parts of his artistic production. During his two longer stays in Europe (1923–1925 and 1937–1940), he moved closer to avant-garde artists and their works, especially Picasso, which allowed him to become aligned with various artistic transformations of the first half of the 20th century. His interests in certain subjects, such as Brazilian women—especially the mulatas—and also carnival, some aspects of urban life in Rio de Janeiro, seascapes, and still-lives helped to form him as a national modernist painter. Mário de Andrade (1893–1945), already in 1932 saluted Di Cavalcanti as one of the greatest modernist heroes in the country: one who brought novelties from Europe, without getting lost in them, and who dedicated himself to national topics. Di Cavalcanti participated actively as one of the organizers of the Semana de Arte Moderna (Modern Art Week) in São Paulo (1922), milestone of modernism in Brazil.