Rare Path - 52 years of Galeria de Arte Ipanema (Raro Percurso – 52 anos da Galeria de Arte Ipanema)
Paulo Sergio Duarte
Here I intend to present a very brief picture of Luiz de Paula Sève's career in the art market and of his gallery, which, something very rare, not to say unique in Brazil, extends to the present day for 52 years. I hope that a young man who starts his collection, a young artist or even a critic can have an idea, although tenuous, of the context in which Galeria de Arte Ipanema was born.
The year was 1965. The coup in Brazil was one year old. The culture was boiling with many protests. In the field of visual arts it was the year of the 8th São Paulo Biennial, in which the representation of the United States, for example, brought five canvases and a sculpture by Barnett Newman, among them the oil "Vir Heroicus Sublimis", 1950-51, 244 x 545 cm, one of the great masterpieces of Abstract Expressionism. Donald Judd, Frank Stella, Billy Al Bengston, Robert Irwin, Larry Poons and Larry Bell were present in this same representation. In Rio de Janeiro, the Museum of Modern Art, which operated exclusively in the so-called School Block, Ivan Serpa, who taught a free course in painting, the Cinematheque, under the direction of José Sanz, presented the cycle of Fantastic Cinema, in which masterpieces of German Expressionism were projected, a magnificent exhibition of Sergio Camargo's reliefs, sculptures by Liuba Wolf were on the terrace. The culmination of its programming was the anthological exhibition ., from August 12 to September 12, as part of the celebrations of the 4th Centenary of the city, organized by marchands Ceres Franco and Jean Boghici. This exhibition introduced, in Brazil, in an adequate way, the concept of New Figuration, forged by the French critic Michel Ragon, which substituted the inadequate Pop Art, when applied to the works of José Roberto Aguillar, Angelo de Aquino, Antonio Dias, Wesley Duke Lee, Roberto Magalhães, Carlos Vergara, among many others, present in the exhibition. But, above all, the exhibition presented in its opening a performance by Hélio Oiticica, with his "Parangolés", accompanied by passers-by and members of the samba school Estação Primeira Mangueira. Oiticica was forbidden by the MAM-RJ direction to enter the museum accompanied by his "passistas" and musicians. This ban originated a protest at the opening of Opinião 65, but did not prevent the artist from showing the "Parangolés" in the exhibition space, where he, artists and visitors could dress them and perform. . .. . ..
That same year, Luiz de Paula Sève was in his fifth year of engineering at the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro (PUC-Rio), when his father died, leaving no significant legacy. The origin of his name Sève, according to Di Cavalcanti, his great friend, lies in the arrival of the Dutch in Brazil, in the 17th century. First they would have gone to Maranhão, then to Pernambuco. His father was already born in Rio de Janeiro. There were few members with the name Sève here in Rio, "you only had to look at the phone book to see a column and a half of Sève names". With the death of his father, he had to look after his livelihood. His mother advised him to look for his aunt Marilu Ribeiro, mother of Leonídio Ribeiro Filho, who, in 1977, would assume the presidency of the powerful South America Insurance. She advises him to open an art gallery and indicates clients to him. His uncle, Aloysio de Paula, an eminent physician, had been director of MAM-RJ, and had been a doctor at Pancetti. At home, Sève had Pancettis, among other works; "on the occasion of the wedding of children of friends, my mother gave a Pancetti as a present", he tells me.
However, he insists that, as an engineering student, he had no artistic education. Within the well-known model built by Sérgio Buarque de Holanda Raízes do Brasil, like every good Brazilian of privileged class, he seeks in family relations the means of its realization. And these were abundant and well situated to realize the aunt's suggestion.
He rents an internal room at Copacabana Palace Hotel and on November 15, 1965 he opens his first exhibition. An exhibition of Japanese-Brazilian painters: Manabu Mabe, Tomie Ohtake, Tikashi Fukushima, Kazuo Wakabayashi and Yuji Tamaki. The show, which was suggested by his aunt Marilu Ribeiro, was, in many ways, a great success: "our aunt was always a person ahead of her time and introduced us to the new trends of the time", recalls Sève.
Just like that, Copacabana Palace Art Gallery was created, which, according to Sève, for obvious marketing reasons could not have another name. This gallery would become (years ahead) Galeria de Arte Ipanema.
This selection for the opening was not a matter of personal taste. The informal abstraction was, in the choice of Brazilians of possessions, at its peak, and painters of Japanese origin stood out in this language. Mabe, who became internationally known for the work of marchand Profili, was first and foremost a great entrepreneur, a great public-relations person in Japanese industries. The great ministers of the time Roberto Campos and, soon after, Delfim Neto, knew who Mabe was. A large Japanese company made a building in Tokyo, and Mabe sold twenty or thirty canvases for this building, of those 3 x 3 m, 2 x 2 m, which were an extreme plastic accomplishment, and a brutal financial return, for the time.
Right after the inauguration, as Marilu Ribeiro liked Henri Rousseau very much, a show was held at Christmas 1965 with the primitive Grauben, Ivan Moraes, Zé Inácio, among others, very famous at the time. Later, an exhibition was held of other primitive paulistas, José Antonio da Silva, very important and appreciated until today throughout Brazil.
In 1966, the gallery opened a group exhibition with a series of gouaches by Salvador Dalí, Ivan Serpa, Teresa Simões, Nelson Leirner, Raimundo de Oliveira, Reynado Fonseca, Roberto Feitosa, Marcier, Paulo Roberto Leal, the young and Raymundo Colares.
In 1969, there was an exhibition by the sculptor Yutaka Toyota, a great expression of the time, and who was perhaps the "brasiliri" artist who got the highest selling value for a monumental work of art, made for South Korea.
To commemorate the 10 years of the gallery, a spectacular show of Portinari was held. In this exhibition, an anthological and enormous Soccer Game was highlighted, which deserved a first-rate report in the Sunday's Caderno B of Jornal do Brasil, a panel at Lagoa na Pampulha, and also a scene of Brodowski from the Museum of Modern Art in Rio de Janeiro and many other paintings.
The 15 years of the gallery were celebrated with a solo show of the artist Manabu Mabe, held in Rio and São Paulo, in which gouaches and oils from 1959 to 1962 were exhibited, one of the most important phases in the artist's career. The paintings that were seen belonged to the famous Claudio Profili collection. It was within this period (1959-1962) that Mabe received his major awards: 5th São Paulo Biennial; Braum Award for best painter at the 1st Paris Youth Biennial; first Award at the XXX Venice Biennial; International Guggenheim Award in New York and Cordoba Biennial. He was honored with an article entitled "The year of Manabu Mabe", published by Time Magazine in New York.
A constant partner since 1967 in this trajectory was his brother Frederico SèveIn 1971, he suggested the opening of another gallery in São Paulo. They opened a large gallery with the design of the then young architect Ruy Ohtake. "They were two rented houses at 779 and 789 Oscar Freire Street. Frederico goes to São Paulo, we kept an apartment on Consolação Street. Beside it was Plano's Bar, the best in São Paulo at the time. The gallery has become a pointpoint, it is now frequented by great entrepreneurs", recalls Sève. Maria Lúcia Moura was in charge of the direction and the inauguration was a great show by Mário Gruber, at the time perhaps the most sought after artist in São Paulo. Also in São Paulo, we had a very important exhibition of European artists, some impressionists, such as Lèger, Maria Helena Vieira da Silva, Hartung, Bellmer, among others. These works belonged to a Portuguese collector named Arlindo Orlando. . .
A young man today can have no idea how thin the art market was. I am restricted only to the situation of commercial spaces in Rio de Janeiro in the 1960s. Petite Galerie, inaugurated in 1953 by artist Mario Agostinelli, was acquired by the Italian Franco Terranova in 1954, and moved from Avenida Atlântica, in Copacabana, to Praça General Osório, 53, in Ipanema, in the 1960s. He was a reference as a meeting point for artists and intellectuals. In 1960, Giovanna and Alfredo Bonino open the Bonino gallery at 578 Barata Ribeiro street, Copacabana, on the block between Raimundo Correia and Dias da Rocha streets. It is the first commercial space designed especially to exhibit works of art, the author of the project was the architect Sergio Bernardes. Near Copacabana Palace, at 252 Nossa Senhora de Copacabana Avenue, on the block between Rodolfo Dantas and Duvivier streets, there was the small Relief Gallery, inaugurated in 1961 by Jean Boghici, with partners Jonas Prochovnic, a car dealer, Eryma Carneiro, a tax lawyer, and his son Carlos Eryma. These were practically the main commercial galleries in Rio de Janeiro, when Luiz de Paula Sève began his career in the art market.
Back to the Copacabana Palace art gallery; in 1967, it moves to one of the hotel's own stores, this time facing the sidewalk of Avenida Atlântica. Sève tells me that an opportunity came up at 56 Farme de Amoedo Street, Ipanema: "I went to see the ground floor space, it was good and it would be ours alone; I rented it. It was an old house, it had to be adapted. "Thus was born the new name Galeria de Arte Ipanema. Sève, already married, to make a living, worked in the Stock Exchange and in the late afternoon went to the gallery. In front of him, there was a men's clothing store "very well attended, even by stockbrokers, whose clients started to attend the gallery. I stayed there until 1973, when a spectacular house appeared, on 27 Aníbal de Mendonça street, "Sève rents the property, where Galeria de Arte Ipanema remained until 2014. The gallery moves temporarily to another property on the same street, the house is demolished and Sève commissions a project from architect Miguel Pinto Guimarães for a four-story building. A new phase begins now in November 2017.
The origin of the gallery's collection and its personal collection, with precious Volpis, magnificent reliefs by Sergio Camargo, among other important works, was in the constant reapplication of the money obtained from sales in works of art, "taking only the minimum to survive".
Today, in the globalized world, with instantaneous communication and minute by minute updated information, we get used to examine the art medium, on this current scale, and in it the art market. We have to strive to go back to the country of the early 1970s. Sève tells me that, in Brazil, the well-known "1971 boom" of the Stock Exchange had an immediate effect on the rise in prices of works of art.
"Young people began to take money out of the game, as the jargon says, and diversify their real estate investments and buy art," Sève recalls. For well-known stockbrokers, he sold Di Cavalcanti, Portinari, in short, famous names. I remember, for him, that in the 1980s, there was a great boom in the art market at the international level, especially with a heavy influx of Japanese capital into the art market. Sève recalls that when the Japanese bought a Van Gogh for US$40 million, he had the idea of proposing to a large insurance company to make an announcement: "Do as the Japanese do: buy a Van Gogh for US$40 million. "Still in the early 1970s, two important artists from Galeria Bonino moved to Ipanema: Reynaldo Fonseca and Newton Resende. Olívio Tavares de Araújo, then art critic for Veja magazine, dedicates a long article to Reynaldo Fonseca's exhibition at Galeria de Arte Ipanema and makes a point of filming it. Millôr Fernandes, who lived nearby, frequented the gallery and, in one of his charges to Veja, draws a girl in a bikini with Galeria de Arte Ipanema in the background: "almost all the great artists of the time were in the gallery. ” . . ..
Sève speaks, with great modesty, of his understanding of art at the beginning of his career, saying that he is null and underlines, always, the importance of Aunt Marilu Ribeiro's knowledge and personal relationships. He recalls the cordial relationship with competitors like Franco Terranova and Jean Boghici.
The gallery's collection is extremely eclectic, although it is concentrated, even in contemporary art, on recognized names. There are not only historical artists from the 1950s, 1960s. We see young people like Gabriela Machado, Nelson Félix, Waltercio Caldas, all represented by relevant pieces, among many other more recent names. In 2010, it held a solo show by José Resende, and recalls that, still at Copacabana Palace, it was responsible for Raymundo Colares' first solo show, again at the suggestion of his aunt Marilu Ribeiro, who had just won an award for young artist. And he would later become an internationally renowned artist. "This exhibition was a great success of criticism and a great commercial failure". In this diversity resides, for a collector, the possibility of having a wide range of choices of works of art, a great part, no doubt, relevant, which he does not find in more specialized galleries. . .
Luciana Sève has been working with her father since 2001. The first exhibition in which she participates was a great show of Volpi that same year. "Cristina Burlamaqui, collector and curator, was very important in this exhibition", recalls Luiz Sève. Luciana remembers important exhibitions that marked her: Milton Dacosta, Iberê Camargo, Maria Leontina. A significant part of the exhibitions are now the object of documentation through well-cared for catalogues. The gallery's curriculum shows the density of this path and to have an idea of the diversity of artists in her collection, please consult her website: http://www.galeria-ipanema.com/acervo.
Galeria de Arte Ipanema intermediated the sale of a "lining of a nave / chapel" of a church to the Roberto Marinho collection, of the artist Manuel da Costa Ataíde, better known as Mestre Ataíde, who is considered the main figure of baroque painting from Minas Gerais.
Over these fifty years the gallery has created important and affectionate ties with great artists. Sève recalls that Volpi, one of the most significant of his time, "perhaps the most creative", "always asked us to bring from Europe pigments with different colors and, from Paris, cheese PECORINO SICILIANO. Because it was very difficult to find, we sometimes brought the ROMANO cheese. Once he also asked for a machine to make macaroni at home, which we got". Sève also tells that every month Volpi sold a large painting to the gallery, and in months of luck a large and a small one: "The first work of the artist that the gallery bought, was a MADONA ROSA, spectacular".
In the Christmas edition of "1981" the newspaper O Globo put on the front page another Madonna of the Volpi, which was also part of the gallery collection.
Di Cavalcanti was also a great partner, and in 1971 he signed an exclusive contract with the gallery, and this partnership appears in the statement that his daughter, Elisabeth, made especially for this book. Sève reports that Dona Maria Luiza Guedes, Di's maid, always warned where he hid his paintings: in her room. "On a memorable day we could receive from Di up to 17 (seventeen) paintings at once, together with a huge panel. And since he was naturally ahead of schedule in the receptions, he had no problem", recalls Sève. Everyone has heard about Di's mulattoes, and among the muses who inspired these paintings are Marina Montini and Yvete. Artists such as Dacosta, Leontina and later her son Alexandre also provided us with very pleasant works and moments.
Besides the invaluable partnership of the artists, the gallery can also count in its trajectory with important support and sponsorship from Icatu Hartford, Real Seguros and Sulamérica.
It is a rare journey in the art market of Rio de Janeiro and Brazil that now reaches the age of 52 in a beautiful building on the same street Aníbal de Mendonça, where it is located since 1972.
Rio de Janeiro, October 2017.
 This text, in everything that refers to the history of Galeria de Arte Ipanema, is based on a statement I collected from Luiz de Paula Sève, in the presence of his daughter and workmate Luciana Sève, in August 2017. Excerpts in quotation marks are words taken from the recording of this testimonial. Excerpts in quotation marks that do not correspond to the statement are followed by notes on the source.
2] GALERIAS Comerciais in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo until 1970. In: ENCICLOPÉDIA Itaú Cultural de Arte e Cultura Brasileiras. São Paulo: Itaú Cultural, 2017. Available at:http://enciclopedia.itaucultural.org.br/termo5400/galerias-comerciais-no-rio-de-janeiro-e-em-sao-paulo-ate-1970Access on: October 28, 2017. Encyclopedia entry
Di Cavalcanti and Galeria de Arte Ipanema
Di Cavalcanti, the old man Di, has always been known for his artistic importance at Galeria Ipanema.
In a casual encounter, in a restaurant that is an icon of Rio de Janeiro, the Sève brothers show interest in a partnership with the artist.
To everyone who knows, a real "who's who" from Rio, Di immediately seeks out the uncle of the "boys", Leonídio Ribeiro, to vent on this possible partnership.
With his incredible vivacity, he dissects the Sève family - from Maranhão to Recife and finally to Rio de Janeiro - and identifies Father Sève, the brothers' great uncle, as his mother's confessor, Da. Rosália. The link is made!
The Gallery has made several exhibitions both in Rio and São Paulo: 1973, 1977 and 1987, including one show in São Paulo with paintings covering the period from 1937 to 1940. These works had been boxed up in June 1940 when Di's hasty escape from the imminent fall of Paris, and were only found in 1966 in the basements of the Brazilian embassy in his beloved city, Paris.
As usual, Di involves the two brothers who now have "causes" to tell: in 1971, he invites Frederico to go to the New Year's Eve in Salvador. Unfortunately, he is unable to board the flight. Frustrated, he leaves for Angra and overturns the car. His only concern is to save a painting received from Di as a gift before his departure with Jorge Amado to Salvador. The brothers participate in endless chats in their favorite restaurants - Le Bec Fin, Michel. All watered with the usual whisky and lots of laughs.
With Di Cavalcanti's vast experience, Galeria de Arte Ipanema always collaborates with the loan of works from its collection in commemorative exhibitions of the genius of old Di, such as "Di Cavalcanti: a perfect carioca", curated by Denise Mattar, at Caixa Cultural do Rio Janeiro: "Open my arms once again, city where I was born".