Painter and teacher
Júlio Martins Resende da Silva Dias was born in Porto on 23 October 1917. He was the second of four children born to Manuel Martins Dias, a trader, and Emília Resende da Silva Dias, a music teacher at the Porto Conservatory. He was baptised on 19 November in that same year in the parish of Vitória.
From a very young age he was always used to living in an artistic and musical environment, painting and illustrating. This went against the expectations of his parents, who had hoped he would follow a musical or a business career. With the help of Aurora Jardim, who worked for two of the most famous periodicals in Porto, Jornal de Notícias and O Primeiro de Janeiro, he was sent to drawing and painting classes at the Silva Porto Academy, directed by Alberto Silva. However, despite the investment in the arts, he left high school to take a commercial course between 1934 and 1935.
In 1935, he participated in the Great Exhibition of Portuguese Artists and painted a portrait of his maternal grandfather in pencil, signing, for the first time, under the name Júlio Resende in honour of his mother.
Two years later, he enrolled in the Porto School of Fine Arts, where he was taught by Dórdio Gomes, among others. Due to financial problems his father faced in the shop, he had to pay for his education by selling graphic works, for example, publicity sketches, comic strips and illustrations. This side of his work is less known, yet he was involved in it between the 1930s and 1960s, producing the stories entitled Matulinho e Matulão, published in O Primeiro de Janeiro, between 1942 and 1952, and other works for the children's magazines O Papagaio and Tic-Tac.
In 1938, he participated in an exhibition of works produced by painter Alberto Silva's students, and in 1940 sketched, in pencil, the portrait of his grandmother Retrato da minha Avó, signing it using his mother's surname – Resende, which he would use from this moment on.
He married a fellow artist, sculpture Maria da Conceição Moutinho, in 1943, participated in a solo exhibition in Salão Silva Porto, created the group entitled Grupo dos Independentes, an association of artists from the ESBAP, including Júlio Pomar, Nadir Afonso and Fernando Lanhas, men close to the Neo-Realist movement, of different sensitivities but with similar critical ideas of the academy.
His teaching career began in 1944, at the Industrial School in Guimarães, and in the same year he gave a lecture at the British Institute of Porto on British Engravers.
In 1945, he exhibited his work in Porto and received the first of many awards.
He was part of the ninth Aesthetic Celebration Missions in Évora. His paintings depicted themes from the Alentejo. During a stay in Madrid, where he visited the Prado Museum, he became fascinated by the works of Goya, Solana and Vázquez Díaz, and had the opportunity of meeting Díaz. In that same year, he completed his Painting studies and produced the end of the year painting Os Fantoches, for which he received eighteen out of twenty marks.
In 1946, he created an art course at the British Institute of Porto. He exhibited his work for the first time in Lisbon, illustrated a book by Adolfo Simões Müller and won a scholarship from the Institute for Advanced Culture to improve his painting technique abroad. He left for Paris in that same year with his wife and daughter.
Between 1947 and 1948, with his family already back in Portugal, he studied the fresco and engraving techniques at the Paris Academy of Fine Arts and the Académie de Grande Chaumière. He was taught by Duco de La Haix and Othon Friesz. He copied the painting masters in the Louvre Museum and visited other reference museums in Belgium, Holland, England and Italy.
On his return, in 1949, he taught at the Carlos Amarante Industrial and Commercial School, in Braga, and later at the School of Ceramics in Viana do Alentejo (1949-1951), where he created the foundations of his work and produced paintings that reflect his humanist concerns.
His first solo exhibition abroad took place in 1950, in Kristiansund, Norway. In 1951, back in Portugal, he showed his work at the Foz Palace in Lisbon. Here, he contacted with the writer Vergílio Ferreira and artists such as Júlio, Charrua, Almada Negreiros and Eduardo Viana. He was invited to visit Norway, to which he returned in 1952, visiting also Denmark, and produced a fresco, the first of his murals for the Gomes Teixeira School in Porto, where he taught.
In the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s he produced produced many ceramic murals for public and private buildings, following a trend whereby glazed-tiles were re-used in national architecture. He worked with renowned architects, in particular José Carlos Loureiro and Luís Pádua Ramos (for ex., in Pousada de Bragança, Hotel D. Henrique, Casa Sical, U. A. P. building, the building of Companhia de Seguros Tranquilidade, the Pasteleira housing complex, the Music Conservatory of Aveiro and Hotel Solverde in Espinho).
In 1953, he established the International Art Missions, first held in Trás-os-Montes, and then returned to Porto. In the two following years, he taught at the Póvoa de Varzim Industrial and Commercial School and promoted the second edition of the International Art Mission.
He joined architect João Andresen and sculptor Barata Feyo in 1956 to produce the award-winning project Mar Novo for the monument to Prince Henrique, in Sagres. However, the monument was not produced because it was not to Oliveira Salazar's liking. In that same year, he completed the Pedagogical Sciences course at the University of Coimbra.
Without losing his courage, in 1957 Resende organized the exhibition 4 Portuguese Artists in Oslo and Helsinki, and painted pictures about Porto and Póvoa. In 1958, he promoted the 3rd International Art Mission in Évora and was invited to teach at the Porto School of Fine Arts, as Assistant Professor of Painting to Dórdio Gomes. He also produced several ceramic panels for several buildings: S. João Hospital, the Customs Office in Vilar Formoso and for Pousada de Santa Catarina in Miranda do Douro, these last two designed by architect Castro Freire.
In the early 60s, he travelled through France, Italy and England. He was the subject of a retrospective exhibition sponsored by the National Secretariat of Information and produced, murals for the Palace of Justice in Porto and for Banco Pinto de Magalhães, theatre décors and costumes, a fresco for the Court House of Anadia, illustrations for the book Aparição by Vergílio Ferreira, and six panels in sandstone for the Palace of Justice in Lisbon.
At this time, in addition to the artistic activity, he was a successful university teacher at ESBAP. In 1962, he sat the Professorship exams and was appointed First Assistant Professor of Painting in 1963. Later, he held management positions (1974) and was elected Chairman of the Governing Board (1975), which occupied him until 1976.
In the 1970s, he was responsible for the aesthetics of the "Portugal Show" at the World Exhibition in Osaka, produced décors for theatre, ballet and cinema and he illustrated books and travelled to Brazil and Spain. On his first trip to Brazil, in 1971, he met the writer Jorge Amado and the artist Mário Cravo Filho in Baía. And in 1977, on a trip to the north of Brazil, he met artists Sérgio Lemos and Francisco Brennand.
In 1980, he participated in the 100th anniversary of ESBAP. In the following years, he decorated the Church of Nossa Senhora da Boavista, which had been designed by architect Agostinho Ricca Gonçalves, with 9 stained-glass windows and a sculpture. He returned to Brazil (Pernambuco, Baía, and Recife). He painted a very large canvas entitled "Ribeira Negra" (40mx3m), which he offered to his hometown. This canvas was later produced in sandstone and placed at the entrance of Ribeira Tunnel. The poet Eugénio de Andrade saw in this work the representation of "the magnificent history of misery and grandeur of the population living along the waterside in Porto (...)." (Ribeira Negra, Nasoni Gallery, 1989).
In 1987, he stopped teaching at ESBAP and in 1989 he was the subject of a retrospective exhibition at the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation.
In the 1990s, he resumed his travels and went to Cape Verde (S. Vicente, Santo Antão, Santiago and Fogo), to India (Goa), Mozambique and Brazil (Recife); he produced many public works of art, such as the glazed-tile panel for Sete Rios underground station in Lisbon, and set up the Júlio Resende Foundation in 1993 – "Lugar do Desenho" – in Valbom, Gondomar.
In 2001, the City Council of Matosinhos organized a retrospective exhibition of his work, and in 2007, during the celebration of his 90th anniversary he received a tribute in Porto in the form of an anthology exhibition.
THe had a long teaching career, which he began as a secondary education teacher, in both regular and technical institutions, then in university artistic establishments. He is the author of diverse award-winning works, which are influenced by the many travels throughout his life and by the masters he met along his life: painting on canvas or murals, serigraphies and engravings, stained-glass windows, ceramic panels for buildings, illustrations of books and theatre and ballet décors and costumes. Much of his work has been on display in solo and group exhibitions, in Portugal and abroad, since the 40s. It can also be seen in many renowned museums and private collections in Portugal, France, Brazil, Finland, Norway, Belgium and Macau.
He painted almost till the end of life in Porto, the city that inspired him and to which he always returned.
He died in Valbom, Gondomar, at the age of 93, on 21 September 2011.
In 2017 in the celebrations of the "Centenary of the birth of the Painter Júlio Resende" his life and work were revisited. The program officially started on October 23 at Lugar do Desenho - Júlio Resende Foundation, with the inauguration of the exhibition "Antológica - Resende", in the temporary exhibitions room, a Timeline in the collection room, and the "Evocation" of the artist’s intimacy in the studio-house.
(Universidade Digital / Gestão de Informação, 2008)