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An Amateur Concert

This huge work, ambiguous for its epic grandeur and banal theme, of an intimate nature, was presented in the 1883 Salon in Paris. It is a work of youth, but also one of the painter' most important, and one of the most significant pieces of Portuguese art due to its spatial organisation of the scene, drawn in an oval that is diluted in monochrome, in an immersive line of pictorial representation of a sense of artistic complicity in this musical moment. They are possibly performing Rigoleto by Verdi, with reference to a painting of an evening scene in his parents' house that he did a few years earlier. In Soirée chez lui – Concerto de amadores, Artur Loureiro, on the piano, and Adolfo Greno, who are both painters, are present The friendship that unites them is noticeable, as is the sensitive affinities that they share between painting and music, but an unknown and mysterious figure in its hybridity, next to the piano, reveals a distinctive expressiveness through the facial blotches. The artist's sister, Maria Augusta Bordalo Pinheiro, who is also an artist, is in the foreground wearing an imposing cream silk dress in metallic shades. In France, the critics did not recognise his talent and in Portugal his exhibition sparked controversy, with comments made about the blotched painting style in areas of abstract-style design, the lack of definition of the figures, the indescribable objects - all exceptional characteristics of an obvious modernity (text by Maria de Aires).