Painter and teacher
Joaquim Francisco Lopes was born on 23 April 1886 in Bela Street, in Ilha, in the parish of Vilar do Paraíso and council of Vila Nova de Gaia. He was one of eight children of José Francisco Lopes, a civil construction worker, and Olívia Pereira.
Due to the poor economic condition of his family, Joaquim was raised by his paternal grandmother who gave him a less difficult life than that of his brothers.
After attending primary school, a period during which he showed his artistic talent, his uncle José sent him to work at a locksmith in Gaia, owned by Manuel Correia, where he was given the task of painting ornaments in safes.
By that time, he was advised to enrol at the Passos Manuel Industrial School, where he studied Drawing, Painting and Modelling, and completed his studies in 1906 with a final mark of 20 out of 20. In this school, he learned ceramics, which later enabled him to work in ceramic factories in Vila Nova de Gaia (Cavaco, Carvalhinho, Agueiro, etc.).
He then enrolled in the Painting course at the Porto Academy of Fine Arts, where he was taught by João Marques de Oliveira and José de Brito. Some of his colleagues at this school were Diogo de Macedo, Henrique Moreira, Joaquim Martins, Manuel Marques and António de Azevedo, all from Gaia.
In 1913, as a Fine Arts student, he held his first exhibition with his friend Diogo de Macedo.
In 1914, he won a scholarship that enabled him to paint landscapes in Gerês, along with Soares Lopes. The paintings from this period were shown at the exhibition hall of the newspaper "O Comércio do Porto".
In 1915, he completed his degree with an average final mark of seventeen, and four years later he left for Paris to improve his painting. While in Paris, he studied at the Grande Chaumière Academy and was influenced by the colour and light used by the Impressionist artists.
Having returned to Portugal, he began teaching in technical education in 1930, and then at university level. He sat the exams for the position of Professor of Painting at the Porto Fine Arts School. Here, he taught for eighteen years and became Director of the institution (from 1948 to 1952). During this time, he participated in the Magna Exhibitions, sponsored the purchase of the Soares dos Reis workshop, in Camões Street, in Vila Nova de Gaia, the expansion of the School’s facilities and headed the Aesthetic Celebration Missions (periods during which artistic activities took place) in Viana do Castelo (1940) and in Bragança (1943).
His paintings – oil, pastel and water colours, which earned him many prizes, represent portraits, regional motifs and landscapes and were shown at national and international exhibitions, namely in several museums, such as the Soares dos Reis National Museum, the Museum of the Faculty of Fine Arts of the U.Porto, both in Porto; the House-Museum of Almeida Moreira, in Viseu; the Abade de Baçal Museum, in Bragança; the José Malhoa Museum, in Caldas da Rainha; the Grão Vasco Museum, in Viseu and Chiado Museum, in Lisbon.
The painter represented Portugal in the International Exhibition of Rio de Janeiro (1922/1923), where he received a Silver Medal. In 1929/1930, he sent some of his canvases depicting Porto motifs to the Ibero-American Exhibition of Seville, and was awarded silver and gold medals. The National Society of Fine Arts honoured him several times for his participation in annual painting exhibitions, and the National Secretariat for Information awarded him the 1st Silva Porto Prize, in 1944, and the António Carneiro Prize, in 1952.
Along with his artistic and educational activities, he also dedicated himself to writing and to art critique. Some of his books include "Marques de Oliveira", "Do Regionalismo ao Nacionalismo na Arte" [From Regionalism to Nationalism in Art], "Cândido da Cunha" and "Silva Porto"; he also collaborated in the article "Arts and Letters" published in "O Primeiro de Janeiro".
He retired in 1955 and died shortly after, on 25 March 1956.
A long time after his death, his anniversary was celebrated by a group of friends and admirers formed by, among others, Maestro Raul Casimiro, engineer Adriano Rodrigues, Dr. António Emídio de Magalhães, Dr. Gil da Costa, Francisco da Paula Ferreira, the painter Manuel Rodrigues, painter Isolino Vaz, Dr. Alberto Uva and Dr. Fernando Ferrão Moreira.
(Universidade Digital / Gestão de Informação, 2008)