|Francisco José Resende
Painter and teatcher
Francisco José Resende de Vasconcelos was born in Porto on 9 December 1825. He was the son of Alexandre José Resende de Vasconcelos and Maria do Carmo de Meireles Brandão.
During his childhood, he learned how to write with Professor Francisco Pereira Leite, and at the age of sixteen he enrolled in the Porto Academy of Fine Arts.
At this school, he studied Drawing (1841-1845) taught by Francisco António da Silva Oirense and Tadeu Maria de Almeida Furtado, and Historical Painting (1845-1849), taught by Joaquim Rodrigues Braga and Domingos Pereira Carvalho.
In the triennial exhibition of APBA, in 1848, where he exhibited some of his work, Francisco José Resende fell in love with the Minho landscapes by Swiss painter Auguste Roquemont (1804-1852), who would become his master and influenced him to abandon academic painting, turning instead to popular themes.
In 1849, he joined the "Sociedade Académico-Dramática" [Academic-Drama Society], where he became famous as an amateur actor, and produced the curtain for Camões Theatre. After completing his studies, he applied to the chair of Historical Painting at the APBA.
The following year, he set up a workshop in Santo António Street and painted "Fogueira de Rapazes" [Bonfire and Boys] for the fire-place in the palace of the Count of Bolhão.
In 1851, he was responsible for teaching the substitute discipline of Historical Painting at the APBA and participated in the triennial exhibition of the Academy with 10 paintings, among which the notable "Vareira vendendo sardinhas" [woman selling sardines], which met with a very favourable critique.
In early 1852, after the death of Roquemont, Resende knelt and cried beside his grave. Nonetheless, despite the loss of his mentor, he never neglected his career. Taking advantage of the visit of the royal family to Porto, he was introduced to D. Fernando II on 4 May, in Carrancas Palace, who was a reputed patron and art collector. On this occasion, he offered him many works of art, among which the "Vareira". The king praised his talent and promised to sponsor his future studies abroad.
Indeed, after the public exhibition of "Camponesa dos Carvalhos" [Peasant woman from Carvalhos] in the Allen Museum, in September of that year, the king kept his promise and granted the painter the much desired allowance.
In 1853, Resende occupied the chairs Life Drawing and Historical Drawing (February to June), he painted the portrait of José Vitorino Damásio, founder of the Porto Industrial Association, at the request of this institution, and finally, on 12 July he left for Paris.
On his way to Paris, he visited the Museum of Marseille. When he arrived in Paris, he searched for a good painting teacher, and chose Adolphe Yvon (1817-1893), a reputed painter who accepted him as his disciple. Unfortunately, his stay in the French capital was short-lived because a cerebral neuralgia forced him to return to Porto in November 1853.
When he recovered, he returned to Paris on 11 May 1854. During this second stay, he continued his drawing classes with Yvon, copied paintings from the Louvre, in particular paintings by Flemish painter Rubens, and travelled to London.
In September 1855, he returned to Porto to resume his place at the APBA and to continue painting. However, his style had changed and he seemed to drift aimlessly. Without the guidance of a master, he dedicated himself to questionable pictorial experiences.
In 1857, he taught Nude Life Drawing Classes at the APBA and once again exhibited his paintings at the APBA triennial exhibition, and, for first time, he produced sculptures ("Mendigo" [Beggar] and "Auto-retrato" [Self-portrait]).
In April 1858, he left for Lisbon. In his luggage, he carried the paintings "Miséria" [Misery] and "Tasso no Hospital" [Tasso in hospital], for his patron. D. Fernando, unaffected by the controversy around some of the artists’ works, gave him a warm welcome and offered him a shirt button with a diamond.
The following year, Francisco José Resende painted the portraits of Count of Ferreira, of D. Pedro V and D. Fernando, and published his first art critique in the 25 July edition of "Eco Popular".
In the sixties, he participated in several art events, such as the Porto Industrial Exhibition (1861), the triennial exhibitions at the APBA (1860, 1863 and 1866), the exhibitions of the Society for Promoting Fine Arts (1866 and 1868) and the Porto International Exhibition (1865), and was represented at the Paris Universal Exhibition (1876). He visited Lisbon in the first quarter of 1861, and exhibited "Castanheira do Reimão" [Chestnut seller from Reimão], a painting intended for D. Pedro V, and "Vareira", for D. Fernando. When D. Fernando received this painting, he congratulated the artist, saying that this was his best work, and kissed his daughter Claire, who accompanied him.
Francisco José Resende travelled to London, Germany, France and Belgium in 1862. He taught Painting (1869), he painted, among other work, the much acclaimed portrait of D. Luís I for the Tribune of S. João Theatre, and the "Lavradeira dos Carvalhos", which he offered to Prince Umberto of Savoy in 1862. He wrote about the exhibitions he visited and in which he participated, and sent reviews to the newspapers "Comércio do Porto" and "Diário Mercantil".
Although he was a controversial artist, Resende was undoubtedly a popular man, known for his romantic nature; oddly enough, he assumed himself as a dedicated single father. He was well regarded, in particular in the Porto art scene.
In the seventies, he continued to paint portraits and popular scenes, was associated to art events in Portugal and abroad (Exhibition of the Society for Promoting Fine Arts, in 1870, Madrid Fine Arts Exhibition, London Universal Exhibition (1872), 11th Triennial Exhibition of the Academy, in 1874, and the Paris Universal Exhibition (1878), which he wrote about for "O Primeiro de Janeiro", highlighting the work of William-Adolphe Bouguereau), sold his works to raise funds for charity and taught Sculpture at the Porto Academy (1879).
The following decade, he wrote about the Fine Arts exhibition at the Camões Hall (1880), participated in the Madrid Fine Arts Exhibition (1881) and in the Paris Universal Exhibition (1898), sending his reviews to "O Comércio do Porto" and "O Primeiro de Janeiro". He travelled again to Europe, where he met Bouguereau in Paris (1881), painted the portrait of the Prince of Naples, in Rome, which he offered to the Queen and in turn received a gold watch from King Umberto. He painted many portraits, namely of D. Luís I, D. Carlos, D. Maria Pia, the Marquis of Pombal, D. Antónia Adelaide Ferreira, of the photographer Carlos Relvas and Pasteur for the Porto Medical-Surgical School (1886); and he produced a monumental canvas entitled "A Apoteose de Hahnemann" [The Apotheosis of Hahnemann], dedicated to the pioneer of Homeopathy, commissioned by Doctor António Monteiro Rebelo da Silva, from Lisbon, painted between Paris and Porto (1885-1887), in addition to paintings portraying customs to illustrate "Portugal Pittoresco". His paintings were auctioned to raise funds for the fishermen of Furadouro (1881) and he painted several canvases to help the victims of the fire at the Baquet Theatre.
He retired in 1882, after three decades at the Academy.
In early September 1891, he went to Gerês to find a cure for his dyspepsia, an illness that had worried him and his daughter, Claire, for some time, and sold the portrait of the German doctor to the Count of Leopoldina, a Brazilian of Scottish ancestry. In the summer of 1892, he tried in vain to recover in the home of the Negrão family, in Mosteirô. He died in Porto on 30 November 1893.
Francisco José Resende was a popular and conservative painter, loyal to the romantic painting. Ironically, he did not like painting portraits, but did it very frequently throughout his career for private commissions and religious and public institutions (charitable institutions, fraternities, schools and city councils). He preferred paintings depicting the customs, more prestigious but less profitable.
Six years after the artist's death, Claire, his daughter, donated the painting "Amai-vos uns aos outros" [Love one another] to the Porto Academy of Fine Arts, and now is part of the collection of the Museu Nacional de Soares dos Reis.
(Universidade Digital / Gestão de Informação, 2010)