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University of Porto Famous Alumni

Diogo de Macedo

Fotografia de Diogo de Macedo / Photo of Diogo de Macedo Diogo de Macedo
1889-1959
Sculptor, museologist, writer and art critic



Fotografia do Busto de Diogo de Macedo / Photo of the Bust of Diogo de MacedoDiogo Cândido de Macedo was born at S. Sebastião Square, in the parish of Mafamude, council of Vila Nova de Gaia, on 22 November 1889.
He was the son of Diogo Cândido de Macedo, a descendent of the Macedos family from Peso da Régua, and of Maria Rosa do Sacramento. He was baptised in the Parish Church of S. Cristóvão de Mafamude on 8 December of that same year.

His paternal grandfather, Diogo José, lived in a luxurious house in Santo Ovídeo, where he was visited by King Pedro V when he came to Porto. He was an art admirer and responsible for the admission of António Soares dos Reis to Fine Arts.

Diogo was raised by his mother, who doted on him, and lived with his maternal grandmother and his brother Tomás, 10 years his senior, who tried to guide him in his studies and life. He had little contact with his father, who worked at the cigarette factory and played the trumpet in his free time.

He spent his childhood and teenage years in Gaia, and was the neighbour of the musician "Macio" and the image-maker Fernandes Caldas, his first master, who taught him to draw, model and sculpture. Like his father, he played the trumpet, but soon became more interested in the guitar, playing in the Mafamude Children’s Music Group.

He attended the Estafinhas School and later Infante D. Henrique Industrial School in Porto, attending evening classes. By then, Tomás had tried to find him a job in an office but without success. Diogo ran away after a few days of working there. Teixeira Lopes, who lived near the Macedo family, tried to persuade his mother to let him study Sculpture, as he had so wanted.

In 1902, at the very young age of 13 he was admitted to the Porto Academy of Fine Arts. As he did not study much, he failed the first year and had to return to Infante D. Henrique Industrial School. In 1906, he enrolled once again in the Academy of Fine Arts, and this time focused seriously on the Sculpture course, which he completed in 1911 with the work entitled "Pela Pátria" [For the Motherland], with the final mark of 18 out of 20. Here, his Drawing teachers were masters José Brito and Marques de Oliveira, and António Teixeira Lopes taught him Sculpture.

He was an active and social man, a friend of artists and colleagues such as Armando de Basto and Joaquim Lopes.

Escultura L' Adieu / Sculpture L' AdieuIn October 1911, he travelled to Paris with the financial support of his family and with a letter written by Oliveira Ramos addressed to Xavier de Almeida, who was to help him in Paris. He settled in one of the ateliers of the Cité Falguière in Montparnasse. He was taught by the American sculptor Bartlet in the Montparnasse Academies, by Bourdelle at the "Académie de La Grande Chaumière", by Injalbert at the National School of Fine Arts, and was influenced by painters Bernard Naudin and Amadeo Modigliani, among others. During his stay in Paris, he produced L'Adieu ou Le Pardon, a neo-romantic and modern sculpture dating from 1920.

In 1912, he exhibited his work in Lisbon and Porto, where he spent the summer, and then returned to Paris. In early 1913, he participated in the Salon and this news was published in Portuguese newspapers (Jornal de Notícias and Montanha). However, not everything went well as he faced financial and personal problems which, nevertheless, did not stop him from visiting Belgium, using his savings and his mother’s financial help. In May, he participated in the annual exhibition of the Porto Society of Fine Arts and continued to work on his sculptures and paintings, and enjoying the bohemian life in Paris.

In the summer of that year, he returned to Porto as a more famous man. He exhibited his work at the Misericórdia Gallery and competed for a teaching position at the Porto Fine Arts School, which he would abandon.
He then left to Lisbon and from here to Paris, where this time he stayed at Bara Street and not Cité Falguière, where he worked on his sculptures and paintings.
A month after the outbreak of World War I, he returned to Porto. He exhibited his work at Ateneu Comercial and in the foyer of Palácio da Bolsa, where the Porto City Council showed an interest for the work "Rajada" but never purchased it, which led him to destroy the piece.

Fotografia da frontaria do Teatro de S. João: Dor, Ódio e Amor, de Diogo de Macedo / Photo of S. João Theatre: Pain, Hate and Love, by Diogo de Macedo In 1915, in Porto, he produced three large bas reliefs ("A Dor" [Pain], "O Amor" [Love] and "Ódio" [Hate]) and two caryatids for S. João Theatre, participated in the 1st Exhibition of Humorists at the Passos Manuel Garden, where he showed drawings under the pseudonym Maria Clara, and collaborated in the newspaper A Tarde.

The subsequent years (1916-1919) were lived between Porto and Lisbon where he continued to exhibit his work, in both solo and group exhibitions, in Palácio da Bolsa, Santa Casa da Misericórdia, in the former Palácio de Cristal, in Porto, and in the Naval Association and the Society of Fine Arts in Lisbon.

In 1918, he spent some time in Figueira da Foz, in the palace of the Sotto-Mayor family, for whom he had already made a child’s bust. Here he met Ana Sotto-Mayor, whom he married in March 1919 against the will of her relatives.
In early 1920, after reconciling with the Sotto-Mayor family, he left for France, travelling through Bayonne, Biarritz and Villa Petite Jeanne and finally settling in Paris, in March 1921. In 1922, he visited Germany.

5 Independentes (Brochura da Exposição) / 5 Independentes (Exhibition Brochure)In this socially intense and productive period of his life Diogo Macedo prepared an album of traditional customs, in collaboration with the magazine "Ilustração Portuguesa", exhibited his work in both Paris and Portugal, and organized the exhibition 5 Independentes in 1923.

In 1926, he settled in Lisbon, where he continued to work and exhibit his (frequently) award-winning art, in a financially comfortable period.
Between the 20s and 30s, he edited the first publications, worked for newspapers and magazines, for e.g., Ocidente, where he published Notas de Arte from 1939 on, and travelled across Europe.
From 1939 to 1940 he produced "Tejo" [the Tagus River] and four "Tágides" [nymphs] for the monumental fountain in Alameda Afonso Henriques.

Fotografia do edifício do Museu do Chiado, Lisboa / Photo of Chiado Museum building, LisbonIn 1941, when his wife died, he abandoned sculpture and made his début as conference lecturer, publishing, until 1944, biographies of artists, studies, reprints and exhibition catalogue prefaces, and was part of juries and commissions. In 1944, he was invited to run the Museum of Contemporary Art (now Chiado Museum), a post he accepted and held until he died. In this Museum, where he succeeded the painter Sousa Lopes (1879-1914), he reformulated the exhibition space, produced the first art catalog, started two series of monographs: Museu (1945) and Cadernos de Arte (1951) and developed a policy of incorporation of works.

In 1946, he married Eva Botelho Arruda. Two years later, the Ministry for the Colonies instructed him to choose the pieces for a travelling art exhibition, which he organized and took to Angola and Mozambique. In the following year, he promoted the Portuguese Cultural Week in Santiago de Compostela.
In the 50s, he travelled to Brazil with his wife on a study mission; he visited the island of S. Miguel, where his second wife was born, following an invitation to organize the classification of buildings of public interest; he once again took to writing (biographies of artists, literary critique and essays) and exhibited his work in art shows (International Biennial Art Exhibition of Venice, in 1950; the Portuguese Pavilion at the International Exhibition of Brussels, in 1958; the Retrospective Exhibition of Mário Eloy, at the Porto School of Fine Arts).

He died at home on 19 February 1959, at 110 António Augusto de Aguiar Avenue, in Lisbon.
(Universidade Digital / Gestão de Informação, 2008)

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