Reynaldo Fonseca (1925)

Reynaldo Aquino Fonseca was born in Recife, Brazil in 1925. A painter, a muralist, and an illustrator, he has also experimented with printmaking and watercolors. At age 11, he entered the School of Fine Arts in Pernambuco and studied with Candido Portinari (1903-1962). In 1948, he travelled to Europe, where he came into contact with new trends, colors, and techniques.

In 1949, Fonseca returned to Brazil to study engraving technique with Henrique Oswald (1918 – 1965) at the School of Arts and Crafts in Rio de Janeiro. In 1952, he became the professor of artistic design at the School of Fine Arts at the University of Pernambuco. Around this time, he also came into contact with the Flemish Primitives, American and Italian art of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and the Surrealists. In 1954 and 1956, he illustrated the work of author Edilberto Coutinho. In 1969, he moved back to Rio de Janeiro but returned to Recife in the early 1980’s, where he studied the “live model,” enhancing his excellent technique. In this time, he illustrated, among other projects, Brazilian Painting and Poetry, with poems by Joao Cabral de Melo Neto, published in 1980.

With exceptional technique and subtle colors, Fonseca fills his characters with fragility, poetry, and nostalgia. For inspiration, he often uses old photographs and engravings. His work, recognized around the world, has changed little in the last fifty years, and has found its way into many of the Americas’ most famous auction houses.