Manuel Gustavo Bordalo Pinheiro # 4: humor in daily life (1910-1920)

Complete and multifaceted artist, creator of a vast body of graphic work and innovations in ceramics, melding Art Nouveau with the naturalist tradition of Caldas da Rainha.


"Balloon Skirts" Study (1914-06-22) by Manuel Gustavo Bordalo PinheiroMuseu Bordalo Pinheiro


The approximation to the Modern movement in Portugal began in 1911 and continued in 1912 with the 1st Salon of Portuguese Caricaturists, of which he was the association's president, a conciliatory figure bridging the 'old' and the 'new' in Portuguese cartooning.

The artist participated in the first two exhibitions of Grupo de Humoristas (1912 and 1913), appearing alongside artists of the new generation, including Cristiano Cruz (1892-1951), Almada  Negreiros (1893-1970) and Stuart Carvalhais (1887-1961), and those known as the 'traditionalists', such as Francisco Valença (1882-1962) and Alfredo Cândido (1879-1960). The latter, as inheritors of the Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro tradition, favoured political caricatures, in contrast to the 'youngsters', whose stylised line favoured social and impersonal commentary.

From 1913 to 1916, he collaborated notably with the widely circulated magazine Ilustração Portugueza. New themes accompanied the social and political events of the early 20th century, including the suffragette struggle, the recently established Portuguese republic, commentaries on the Great War, whose pre-eminence was evident, and the latest women's fashions and urban growth of Lisbon. In 1916, he eagerly collaborated in the establishment of the Bordalo Pinheiro Museum with Artur Ernesto Cruz Magalhães (1864-1928), a devoted admirer of Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro's work, in the last great homage paid to his father.

He donated dozens of pieces from his personal collection to the Museum, including engravings, paintings and original drawings by Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro, as well as photographs, many of them identified on the back with his personal stamp 'MGUST'.

Manuel Gustavo Bordalo Pinheiro (c. 1915)Museu Bordalo Pinheiro

"The Crane and the Fox (Estrela Garden) by Manuel G. B. Pinheiro" (1917-11-12) by M. C. RamosOriginal Source: Hemeroteca Municipal de Lisboa

At a Tourism Conference in 1911, Manuel Gustavo appeared on behalf of the Factory at an exhibition in the Lisbon Commercial Athenaeum and sold a considerable number of faience pieces to the Lisbon City Council for the decoration of the Estrela Garden.

[Ilustração Portuguesa, 01.03.1920]

"Christmas 1915" (1915-12-06)Original Source: Hemeroteca Municipal de Lisboa

Obliged by circumstances to devote an intense amount of time to ceramics, Manuel Gustavo continued to produce illustrations alongside a new generation of humourists who were establishing themselves in the country.

[Ilustração Portuguesa, 06.12.1915]

A Sátira (1911-06-01) by Francisco ValençaMuseu Bordalo Pinheiro

It was in the pages of A Satira that an idea was launched to create a society of humourists:

'This is what was thought and this is what was carried out. The rebellious and indomitable humourists, bohemians and vagabonds, unconcerned with the day to follow, ended up taking greater hold of their wilder instincts and decided to join hands. The purpose of a caricature is not only to loosen the jaws of the masses in animal-like laughter. It carries a great responsibility before history, which is the creation of customs.'

"A Part of the Exhibition (...)" (1912-05-20)Original Source: Hemeroteca Municipal de Lisboa

The president of the society was Manuel Gustavo, the heir of the so-called 'Bordalian' caricature, who bridged the 'old' and the 'new' of Portuguese humouristic drawings.

At the top, "a part of the exhibition" and below, on the left, the drawing 'Elegance and Economy or Father's trousers', which Manuel Gustavo exhibited at the salon in 1912 and whose whereabouts today are unknown.

In the centre is a photograph of the exhibitors, including Jorge Barradas, Francisco Valença, Menezes Ferreira, Manuel Gustavo, Almada Negreiros and Cristiano Cruz.

[Ilustração Portuguesa, 20.05.1912]

"An Exhibition of Humourists" (1912-05-16) by Hipólito CollombOriginal Source: Hemeroteca Municipal de Lisboa

Manuel Gustavo took part in the first two Salons of Humorists in Lisbon in 1912 and 1913, alongside Alonso, Stuart and the 'new' humourists Emmerico Nunes, Barradas and Cristiano Cruz.

[O Século Ilustrado, 16.05.1912]

Studies (1813-1916) by Manuel Gustavo Bordalo PinheiroMuseu Bordalo Pinheiro

Between 1913 and 1916, Manuel Gustavo made countless drawings in China ink that were published in the magazine Ilustração Portugueza, wich was of great acceptance especially in urban areas.

Fashion and subjects of daily life or news of the Great War accompanied chronicles by Júlio Dantas and Mário de Almeida, presenting the news of the week or the social commentary of the moment, on the front page.

In this studies, the artist left notes to the typographer, providing information about the size of the illustration, title, etc.

“O Murro demonstrativo”, published in Ilustração Portugueza, 02.08.1915.

“Eva Moderna”, published in Ilustração Portugueza, 22.06.1914.

“El rei «chauffer»” published in Ilustração Portugueza, 07.02.1916.

Manuel Gustavo Bordalo Pinheiro by CamachoMuseu Bordalo Pinheiro

From 1913 to 1917, Manuel Gustavo served as a member of the Lisbon City Council for the Portuguese Republican Party (Democratic).

Angélica Barreto Bordalo Pinheiro (c. 1914)Original Source: Fábrica Bordallo Pinheiro | Casa Museu San Raphael

On 28 February 1914, Manuel Gustavo married Angélica Barreto da Cruz, of whom very few portraits are known to exist.

"Braga, view of the exhibition of faience from Caldas da Rainha (…)" (1914-06-22)Original Source: Hemeroteca Municipal de Lisboa

During this period, he continued to illustrate for popular magazines.

From 1914 onwards, he continued his career as a Teacher at the Lisbon School of Ceramics.

In 1914 and 1915, he inaugurated exhibitions in Braga, Viana do Castelo and Guimarães.

[Ilustração Portuguesa, 22.06.1914]
Hemeroteca Municipal de Lisboa

"Exhibition in Guimarães of faience from the Bordalo Pinheiro Factory (…)" (1915-08-09)Original Source: Hemeroteca Municipal de Lisboa

"A picnic at Conventinho (...)" (1911-10-16)Original Source: Hemeroteca Municipal de Lisboa

A number of photographs capture moments of leisure at elegant picnics in Caldas da Rainha and celebration banquets, as well as tennis tournaments in which the artist participated.

[Brasil Portugal, 16.10.1911]

A moment of leisure ending in a customary group photo. In the centre is Manuel Gustavo. Many other personalities are identified in the caption on the lower margin of the page.

"At a Banquet in honour of the illustrious writer Julio Dantas (...)" (1913-12-29)Original Source: Hemeroteca Municipal de Lisboa

"Tennis tournament in Caldas da Rainha" (1917-11-12)Original Source: Hemeroteca Municipal de Lisboa

Manuel Gustavo Bordalo Pinheiro (c. 1917)Museu Bordalo Pinheiro

The Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro Museum (c. 1926)Museu Bordalo Pinheiro

Manuel Gustavo was closely involved in the creation of the Bordalo Pinheiro Museum, an initiative spearheaded by the collector Artur Cruz Magalhães.

Artur Cruz Magalhães (1916)Museu Bordalo Pinheiro

Months before his death, Manuel Gustavo confessed in a letter to Artur Cruz de Magalhães:

'All of my efforts at present are focussed on continuing here in my little corner with my people, my old employees, in St. Rafael's small corner of the world under those beautiful centuries-old trees (...) at the Bordalo Pinheiro factory, which is my work and mine alone, which I love as if it were my own daughter. You, who have an artist's soul, can understand this kind of love, can you not?'

Manuel Gustavo Bordalo Pinheiro by Arnaldo da FonsecaMuseu Bordalo Pinheiro

In 1918, the artist travelled to France, where he visited the main centres of ceramic production.

Diploma of the Order of Saint James of the Sword (1920)Museu Bordalo Pinheiro

In 1920, Manuel Gustavo was named an Officer of the Order of Saint James of the Sword by the Minister of Public Education.

Stamp MGUSTAVOMuseu Bordalo Pinheiro

Continuity and Modernity

Manuel Gustavo was a complete and multifaceted artist who made use of an important paternal legacy, one to which his entire life was devoted. He made innovations in his graphic and ceramic work, finding a balance between Rafael Bordalo's legacy and the modernity of the early 20th century, introducing a new language that responded to a new generation of readers and consumers. Like no other, he defended the artistic legacy of Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro and harboured a great ambition to internationalise the ceramic industry of Caldas da Rainha, as we can see in his writings from 1909: "I vow that I shall fight to the end to continue and sustain this industry that is so picturesque, so Portuguese, and despite so many sacrifices, I am always heartened by the idea that perhaps one day, I shall meet someone who will provide me with the means to expand to the great centres of Europe and America and to work alas with tranquillity and resolution.

This is the hope that enlivens me." (Manuel Gustavo Bordalo Pinheiro, Faianças Artísticas das Caldas da Rainha 3ª Exposição [3rd exhibition of Caldas da Rainha Artistic Faience], 1909)

Manuel Gustavo Bordalo (1867-1920) (2013)Museu Bordalo Pinheiro

Credits: Story

João Alpuim Botelho e Gisela Miravent

Mariana Caldas de Almeida

Mariana Caldas de Almeida e Pedro Bebiano Braga

Cláudia Jorge Freire

Arquivo Municipal de Lisboa/Fotográfico
Casa-Museu Dr. Anastácio Gonçalves
Fábrica Bordallo Pinheiro – Casa Museu San Raphael
Hemeroteca Municipal de Lisboa
Museu Nacional de Arte Contemporânea do Chiado

Kennis Translations

Continue your visit in:
Part 1: Manuel Gustavo Bordalo Pinheiro (1867-1920)
# 1: abrindo caminho (1867-1870)

Part 2: Manuel Gustavo Bordalo Pinheiro # II: drawing stories (1880s - 1890s)
Part 3: Manuel Gustavo Bordalo Pinheiro # III: a ceramicist beginning (1900s)

Credits: All media
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