Painter, writer and teacher
António Augusto de Melo Lucena e Quadros was born on 9 July 1933, in Santiago de Besteiros, Tondela, to a family of landowners.
He spent his childhood and teenage years in his home town, which he later left to study Painting. He attended the Lisbon School of Fine Arts, from which he transferred in 1952 to the Porto School of Fine Arts. He completed the course at this School in 1961, presenting a thesis entitled "Óleo Sobre Tela de Serapilheira" [Oil painting on a sackcloth canvas], and later was invited to teach at this School.
It was in Porto, in the 1950s, that António Quadros became known as an innovative painter and competent teacher. He exhibited his work at ESBAP, where he distributed a manifesto entitled "O Manifesto de Pintura" [the manifesto of painting] (1958); he studied Engraving and Fresco Painting at the Paris School of Fine Art, sponsored by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation (1958/1959).
As a painter, his work was influenced by European artists such as Marc Chagall (1887-1985) and Pablo Picasso (1881-1973), and by the Mexican and Latin-American Surrealist painters. His work shows references to the rural imaginary and the pottery workshop in Barcelos. In fact, Quadros discovered the famous potter from Minho, Rosa Ramalho (1888-1977).
He showed his work in solo exhibitions in Porto, Lisbon and Lourenço Marques, and in group exhibitions in Portugal (Lisbon, Porto and Viseu) and abroad, having participated in the 1st Biennial Exhibition of Paris (1959), the 5th and 7th Biennial Exhibitions of S. Paulo, in Brazil, and in Italy (Rome, Lugano and Genoa), South Africa (Pretoria and Durban), Spain (Madrid and Barcelona) and in Paris.
His work can be seen in the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Lisbon, the National Museum Soares dos Reis, Porto, the Museum of Pretoria, South Africa, and is part of Portuguese and international private collections. António Quadros received many awards, among which the Critic Award, at the 1st Biennial Exhibition of Paris (1969) and the Grand Award of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, in 1958/1959.
In the 1960s, he settled in Mozambique, where he taught at the Technical School of Lourenço Marques and the Eduardo Mondlane University, in Maputo, was involved in the theatre, architecture, travelling and writing, and also founded, along with Rui Knopfli (1932-1997), a poetry collection entitled "Caliban" (1971-1972).
In this new phase of his life, he created three literary pen names: a contemporary poet, João Pedro Grabato Dias, author of "40 e Tal Sonetos de Amor e Circunstância e Uma Canção Desesperada" (1970), "A Arca – Ode Didáctica na Primeira Pessoa. Tradução do Sânscrito Ptolomaico e Versão Contida do Autor" (1971), "Meditação", "21 Laurentinas e Dois Fabulírios Falhados" (1971), "Facto/Fado. Pequeno Tratado de Morfologia. Parte VII" (1985) and "Sete Contos para um Carnaval" (1992); a troubador of the 1500s, Ioannes Garabatus, satire and anti-epic poet, author of "As Quybyrycas. Poemas éthyco em outavas, que corre sendo de Luís Vaaz de Camões em Suspeitíssima Atribuiçon" (1972); and finally, a fighter killed in combat, Mutimati Barnabé João, author of the poetry book "Eu, O Povo" (1975), which was set to music by Zeca Afonso.
In the early 1980s, António Quadros returned to Portugal and resumed his teaching activity at the ESBAP and at the Pedagogical Unit of Viseu, and went back to his paintings. He also dedicated himself to ceramic work and research in the field of Architecture.
However, the African continent still fascinated him and so before he died he travelled to Mozambique to teach Architecture at the Eduardo Mondlane University, to participate in a handicraft workshop in Cape Verde and a Apiculture project in Guinea-Bissau.
This unusual painter and writer also worked as an architect, urban planner, bee-keeper, stage designer and lyric writer, was interested in ethnography and African arts, and launched the career of Mozambican painter Malangatana Valente Ngwenya (1936-). He died in his house in Santiago de Besteiros on 2 June 1994.
(Universidade Digital / Gestão de Informação, 2010)