Manuel Gustavo Bordalo Pinheiro # 1: paving the way (1867-1870s)

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.


Manuel Gustavo Bordalo Pinheiro by Arnaldo da FonsecaMuseu Bordalo Pinheiro

Manuel Gustavo Bordalo Pinheiro (1867-1920) 

Manuel Gustavo Bordalo Pinheiro was a cartoonist, illustrator and ceramicist. Creator of a vast body of graphic work, he also produced comic strips and became renowned as a pioneer of children's illustration in Portugal. He made innovations in ceramics, melding Art Nouveau with the naturalist tradition of Caldas da Rainha.

Born on 20 June 1867, he was a native of Lisbon, where he passed away on 8 September 1920. The son of the celebrated artist Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro and his most devoted follower, he published his first work in his father's newspaper O António Maria in 1884; from then on, he collaborated with various newspapers founded by his father, among many others. He lived under the aegis of a notable and acclaimed family legacy that marked his determination to continue and defend the 'Bordaliana' oeuvre.

Elvira and Rafael Bordalo PinheiroMuseu Bordalo Pinheiro

Manuel Gustavo's parents were Elvira Ferreira de Almeida Bordalo Pinheiro and Rafael Augusto Prostes Bordalo Pinheiro.

Travessa das Parreiras, Santa Marta, Lisbon (1908) by Machado & SousaOriginal Source: Arquivo Municipal de Lisboa/Fotográfico

Manuel Gustavo was born in Lisbon on the 2nd floor of 120 Travessa das Parreiras, Santa Marta.

Bordalo Pinheiro Family (1868-03-21) by Rafael Bordalo PinheiroMuseu Bordalo Pinheiro

Manuel Gustavo's childhood was captured in many of his father's drawings.

In this drawing from 21 March 1868, on the occasion of his birthday, Rafael is seen holding his baby son in his arms.

Manuel Gustavo as a child (1868-11-04) by Rafael Bordalo PinheiroMuseu Bordalo Pinheiro

In this sketch in red ink [sanguine], dated 4 November 1868, Rafael captures his son at the tender age of 17 months.

At the birthday of Manuel Maria Bordalo Pinheiro (1869-11-28) by Rafael Bordalo PinheiroMuseu Bordalo Pinheiro

This drawing by Rafael was made on the birthday of his father and Manuel Gustavo's grandfather Manuel Maria.

Since childhood, Manuel Gustavo was close to three of the most emblematic Portuguese artists of the second half of the 19th and early 20th centuries: his grandfather Manuel Maria (1815-1880), a romantic painter and sculptor who took care of him after his father left for Brazil in 1875 and proved an important figure in his childhood; his uncle Columbano (1857-1929), a naturalist painter who drew and portrayed him on various occasions, and his father Rafael (1846-1905), the acclaimed caricaturist, ceramicist and decorator who became his most ardent protector.

This familial legacy played a decisive role in the development of his artistic temperament and professional career as a tireless collaborator and devotee of Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro.

Elvira and Rafael with their children Manuel Gustavo and Augusta, who died when she was still a baby.

Between Elvira and Rafael, his brother Feliciano.

On the right, his sister Maria Augusta.

Amélia, Rafael's sister, and her husband Henrique Lopes de Mendonça.

Columbano Bordalo Pinheiro, Rafael's brother and Manuel Gustavo's uncle.

Bordalo Pinheiro Family (1870-01-03)Museu Bordalo Pinheiro

Elvira with Augusta on her lap, and Rafael holding Manuel Gustavo. An unidentified woman appears in the background.

Elvira and her children Helena and Manuel GustavoMuseu Bordalo Pinheiro


Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro with his son Manuel Gustavo (1875-05-23)Museu Bordalo Pinheiro

In the 1870s, Rafael Bordalo distinguished himself as a caricaturist and cartoonist, a predilection he passed on to Manuel Gustavo at an early age.

My Ladies! and Gentlemen! (1875-09-11) by Rafael Bordalo PinheiroMuseu Bordalo Pinheiro

In 1875, Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro departed for Rio de Janeiro after receiving an invitation to join the humorous periodical O Mosquito.

Elvira and her children Helena and Manuel GustavoMuseu Bordalo Pinheiro

In 1876, Elvira departed for Brazil with her youngest daughter Helena, born in 1873.

Manuel Gustavo stayed in Portugal in the care of his paternal grandparents so that his studies would continue uninterrupted.

House in Alcolena (1880-02-07) by Rafael Bordalo PinheiroMuseu Bordalo Pinheiro

In 1876, Manuel Gustavo moved to his grandparents' house in Alcolena, Belém, where he participated in family soirées and where drawing was a popular pastime under the eye of his grandfather Manuel Maria.

Manuel Maria Bordalo Pinheiro (1875-09-23) by Photographia LoureiroMuseu Bordalo Pinheiro

From 1877 to 1879, Manuel Gustavo attended Sérvulo College as a boarder, providing a respite for his grandfather, who in a letter to Rafael, dated March 1879, wrote:

'your son is doing very well in his studies (...) Manuel has grown considerably and is very intelligent and if he continues to receive good instruction, he will become a learned man for he combines talent with application, two qualities rarely seen in a person'.

Bordalo Pinheiro Family (c. 1879)Museu Bordalo Pinheiro

In 1879, Rafael returned from Brazil. The family was finally reunited in Lisbon.

That year, Manuel Gustavo attended the first year of secondary school.

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:
Parte 2: Manuel Gustavo Bordalo Pinheiro # II: drawing stories (1880s - 1890s)
Parte 3: Manuel Gustavo Bordalo Pinheiro # III: a ceramicist beginning (1900s)
Parte 4: Manuel Gustavo Bordalo Pinheiro # IV: humor in daily life (1910 - 1920)

Credits: All media
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