ROGÉRIO RIBEIRO

One of the pleasures of strolling through Lisbon is the discovery of Portuguese artists through their public artworks in tiles.

Portugal’s smallness and long period of authoritarian rule isolated it artistically for fifty years, which was part of the story told by the Gulbenkian collection of modern Portuguese art, which we visited yesterday.

Leaving the Gulbenkian and walking down Avenue António Augusto de Aguiar, we saw this striking, anonymous azulejo panel (no. 148-50), and fortunately we were able to discover from the Gulbenkian Foundation’s digital database of azulejos that the artist was Rogério Ribeiro.

Ribeiro, like many modern azulejo artists, worked in many media, and, like Querubim Lapa, he also had a distinguished academic career. He designed the tiles in the Avenida station on the Lisbon Metro and for the Santiago metro in Chile.

He was leading member of the Communist party, a commitment that has particular meaning for a Portuguese artist, and perhaps is connected with his extensive and sometimes unsigned public works.

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