Painter, illustrator, poet and professor
"António Carneiro was an outstanding example of our fine arts. He was born a poet, and made himself a painter".
(Diogo de Macedo)
António Teixeira Carneiro Júnior was born on 16th September 1872 in S. Gonçalo de Amarante. He was born of Francisca Rosa de Jesus, a sewer who had been abandoned as a child at the "Roda", in S. Gonçalo, and António Teixeira Carneiro.
He had a hard childhood. He was abandoned by his father at the age of seven, and his mother died soon after. In 1879 he was sent to a state home (Asilo do Barão de Nova Sintra) in Porto, as he was alone and had no one to take care of him. He accomplished his primary school education at this institution of the Santa Casa da Misericórdia do Porto and started drawing: he copied illustrations of religious and newspaper texts.
His talent was to be noticed immediately. In 1884, upon the recommendation of professor Adrião Augusto de Sousa Carneiro and Father José Marques Dias (a graduate in law who directed the institution), he entered the The Porto Academy of Fine Arts with the support of the Santa Casa.
At the Academy, the "Mongezinho da Nova Sintra" (the little monk of Nova Sintra), as he was known, accomplished the course of Historical Drawing between 1884 and 1890. He was a disciple of master Marques de Oliveira.
In 1890 he left the state home and started attending the Sculpture course, which he abandoned when Soares dos Reis died, in 1889. He transferred to the course of Painting, where he was taught by João António Correia.
However, letters still inspired him. And always would. In 1891 he published a plaquette of poems. Two years later, in 1893, he married Rosa Carneiro. Three children were born of this marriage: Cláudio (1895-1963), Maria Josefina (1898-1925) and Carlos (1900-1971). His elder was a famous musician and composer, his second child died very young of tuberculosis, and his younger child was a painter.
In 1895 he met his father, who had recently returned from Brazil. He travelled with him to Amarante, where he met and established a friendship with his fellow countryman Teixeira de Pascoaes. The following year he finished his Historical Painting course with a grade of 18 out of 20.
Soon later, in 1897, he was awarded a grant by the Marquês de Praia e Monforte and departed to Paris. He settled with his wife in Boulevard Arago, in Paris, and attended the Julien academy, where he was a student of Jean-Paul Laurens and Benjamin Constant.
When he returned to Porto in 1911, he was invited to teach at the Porto Academy of Fine Arts and was definitively appointed Full Professor of the chair of figure drawing. This was in 1918.
Besides working as a painter, a professor and a poet, he directed the magazine Geração Nova and was part of the Renascença Portuguesa, which was created in Porto in 1911. He has drawn the icon of this movement (aimed to promote the national culture), used in all its issues, namely in the magazine A Águia - the magazine he directed from 1912 together with Teixeira de Pascoaes, for whose illustrations and literary coordination he was responsible.
During his professional career, he went on several trips. In the summer of 1899 he went on a study trip to Italy. In 1912, he returned to Paris with his family. Between 1914 and 1915 he settled in Brazil, where he stayed at the writers Júlia and Filinto Lopes de Almeida's house. He would later return to Brazil, in 1929.
In the mid-19th century he went regularly to the beaches in Leça da Palmeira, Matosinhos, and Figueira da Foz, as well as in the spa in Melgaço. He depicted these places extraordinarily in many of his landscapes.
Between 1893 and 1929, he hosted sole and group exhibitions in Portugal (at the Centro Artístico Portuense, the Ateneu Comercial do Porto, Santa Casa da Misericórdia do Porto, Grémio Artístico de Lisboa, National Society of Fine Arts, Photografia Guedes and Photografia União, and at the headquarters of the Ilustração Portuguesa and the Renascença, etc.), in Brazil (at the Galeria Jorge, in Rio de Janeiro, Prédio Glória, in S. Paulo and the Associação Comercial do Panamá, in Curitiba) and participated in the universal exhibitions in Paris (1900), Saint Louis (1904) and the Barcelona International Exhibition, in 1907.
As a painter, he also used his art to illustrate books of authors like António Correia de Oliveira (Tentações de São Frei Gil and O Pinheiro Exilado, in 1907, A Minha Terra, in 1915, and other books in 1916, Virtudes e Heroísmos Lusíadas together with Estefânia Cabreira, in 1926, and Canções de Amor, in 1929), João de Deus (Poesias Religiosas, in 1912) and the Viscount of Vila Moura (Doentes da Beleza, in 1913).
He was paid homage in Amarante, together with Teixeira de Pascoaes, in 1924, and at the Palácio da Bolsa, in the Porto historical centre, in 1925. That same year he inaugurated his workshop in Rua Barros Lima (presently called Rua António Carneiro), located on the eastern side of the city, and lost his daughter Josefina - a tragic death that had a strong impact on his work.
In 1929 he was appointed director of the Porto Academy of Fine Arts. But he never came to be the director.
He died on 31st March 1930, in Porto. António Carneiro was a painter, a poet, and a professor. He was the pioneer of Symbolism, an artistic movement that had not followers in Portugal. From his vast and unique work, several portraits stand out, including: his very psychologically dense portraits of partners, intellectuals and artists (such as Teixeira de Pascoaes, Correia de Oliveira, Antero de Quental and Guilhermina Suggia); his several self-portraits, painted in different materials and throughout the different stages of his life; and the original landscapes and decorations produced, for example, for the reading room of the Palácio da Bolsa, in Porto - the headquarters of the Associação Comercial do Porto (Eco, Mensageiro da Linguagem Universal).
A few years after his death, in 1936, his poetic works were published, Solilóquios: sonetos póstumos, with an introduction by Júlio Brandão.
António Carneiro is presently represented in many institutions: at the Municipal Museum Amadeo de Souza-Cardoso, in Amarante; at the Fundação Cupertino de Miranda, in Vila Nova de Famalicão; at the Soares dos Reis National Museum; at the António Carneiro House-Workshop, both in Porto; at the Quinta de Santiago, in Matosinhos; at the Teixeira Lopes House-Museum, in Vila Nova de Gaia; at the Centro de Arte Moderna José de Azeredo Perdigão, of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation and the Chiado Museum (former National Museum of Contemporary Art), in Lisbon; and in private collections, such as the collections of Dr. José Manuel Pina Cabral and Nuno Carneiro.
(Universidade Digital / Gestão de Informação, 2008)