31 October, 2020       LISBON - MAX. Partial sunshineº, MIN. 03º

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Folders  |  In Júlio Pomar’s studio
In Júlio Pomar’s studio
Sophie Enderlin
In Júlio Pomar’s studio
In Júlio Pomar’s studio

In Lisbon, there is a special tourist tram that follows the same route as the no. 28. It always stops at the bottom of a tiny street in one of the residential quarters so that its passengers can admire and take pictures of the front of the church that frames the view with its baroque accolade. The tram always stops here, seemingly oblivious to the fact that for several months the view has been blocked by scaffolding and a skip full of rubble that have taken up residence in front of no. 7. This is where the studio and museum devoted to Júlio Pomar, and the head office of the foundation of the same, name will soon open, and will no doubt also be added to the tram’s soundtrack of things to visit. Indeed, if the tram could take visitors into the studio of this great Portuguese painter, their hearing would be the first sense to be called upon – by the sound of paintbrushes on canvas, the scratching of charcoal, expletives muttered by the artist when a drawing does not go according to plan, or the sound made by the creaking floorboards under the artist’s feet as he moves back and forth in front of his work, like a bird dancing in front of its chosen mate.   

Once you arrive at the top of the stairs under the eaves of this beautiful, simple house that survived the 1755 earthquake, you can see future works of art sitting there. Júlio Pomar returns to them early in the morning, as the street starts to stir and the first no. 28 tram rattles past. A painting, or maybe several at a time, an assemblage, a poem – because Júlio Pomar is also an author – take shape and form, as if possessed by the artist who manipulates, touches, handles and works on them relentlessly until the magical alchemy between artist and work finally appears and is defined.

There was a time when Júlio Pomar produced a vast azulejo fresco. Characters he created in the morning would be removed by evening, only to reappear the next day. Some would suddenly appear and seemed to find their right place immediately, whereas others spent some time in one form before being transformed into a joyful dancing band that Júlio took several months to complete.  And if there is one word that sums up his work it is definitely ‘joy’, both of body and senses  as well as of the mind. For more than half a century, this artist has created an opus that is best summed up in the title of one of his most impressive exhibitions, "The Joys of Life". Or, to use his own words when he was awarded the Portuguese Society of Authors’ Obra e Vida prize on 8 February of this year, following an ovation by the audience he said to them “Gostem... e deixo-vos acabar a frase” (Enjoy… and finish the sentence as you will).

Photo credits: portrait of Júlio Pomar: Alfredo Cunha, 2002
Copyright for all images: FJP/SPA

Private Collection
Acrylic paint, charcoal and oil pastel  on canvas
232 x 349 cm (Four parts)

Fundação Júlio Pomar, Lisbon
Lithographic print
   92,5 x 78 cm

Fundação Júlio Pomar, Lisbon
Lithographic print
92,5 x 78 cm

LA CLEF (1999)
Private Collection
Acrylic paint, charcoal and oil pastel  on canvas
195 x 390 cm (Four parts)

Out of the following buildings, which do you think best symbolises Lisbon?
Belém tower
Mosteiro dos Jerónimos
25th April bridge
Praça do Comércio (square)
S. Jorge Castle
Rossio Station
Cathedral (Sé)
Free water aqueduct
Monument to discoveries
Santa Justa elevator
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