José Malhoa the Naturalist genius Paintor: Visit the Museum!
José Malhoa the Caldas da Rainha Painter
José Malhoa the naturalist genius, more specifically José Vital Branco Malhoa ... to avoid mistakes with other Malhoa ... he was a naturalist painter born in Caldas da Rainha on April 28, 1855, more precisely in Travessa de São Sebastião, together to the Ermida de São Sebastião, where a plaque immortalizes the building where this brilliant artist was born.
With talent recognized both in Portugal and abroad, José Malhoa is considered by many to be one of the best painters in the history of Portuguese painting ... and in our exempt, unsuspected and Caldense opinion, he is clearly the best of all!
Despite being a caldense gem, he soon left this wonderful corner of the West towards Lisbon, where he would enter the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Lisbon in 1867, at the age of 12.
As it appears, José Malhoa did not do less and will have achieved the feat of winning the 1st prize more than once while attending that Academy, showing his artist's fiber… and of Caldense we would say!
Despite his talent, after having rejected scholarships to pursue his career in painting, not hiding the frustration he felt at not being able to achieve such goals, in 1875 his professional career forced him on other paths, even if this deviation, as the saying, had it been short-lived!
As the other saying goes, whoever gives the most is not obliged, and what José Malhoa liked to give were brilliant strokes, with the mastery that only a predestined one as he knew.
José Malhoa the Painter and the 12th Exhibition of the Promoting Society of Fine Arts
The said interregnum would have to be short and in 1880 our countryman already appeared in prominence in the 12th Exhibition of the Promoting Society of Fine Arts in Portugal, along with other future great names of national painting, among which Silva Porto.
In this exhibition, the thematic and technical expertise of the paintings presented by José Malhoa reserved him the conquest of the Bronze medal, in a Hall that saw a new artistic current in Portuguese painting, Naturalismo, which emerged from which Malhoa would become one of his greatest ambassadors… in our opinion it was the greatest!
From then on it was a path in ascension until the final triumph with all the recognition for its brilliant artistic qualities.
He was one of the founding members of Grupo do Leão (1881-1889), a group of artists who met at Cervejaria Leão de Ouro, and who had, in addition to our José Malhoa, Silva Porto, and later also ours Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro and his brother Columbano, among others.
Grupo do Leão promoted 8 exhibitions in the 1980s of the 19th century, being immortalized forever in an oil painting by Columbino Bordalo Pinheiro, from 1885, a painting that decorated the brewery for some years and which can now be seen at the Museu do Chiado , in Lisbon.
Active and recognized artist, in 1890 he would also be one of the founding partners of the Grémio Artístico (1891 to 1899), having José Malhoa participated in the various Salons promoted by the Grémio.
He was also elected honorary president of the National Society of Fine Arts, on the occasion of the institution's foundation in 1900.
Having recognized his enormous skills, he received some orders since 1881 and began to portray public figures, including our King D. Carlos I, in 1905 (painting exhibited at the Palace of the Dukes of Bragança in Vila Viçosa) and the Infante D. Manuel, in 1908, who would succeed D. Carlos on the throne following the 1908 Regicide. In the case of the portrait of the last national monarch, the painting can be contemplated here in our land as it is part of the permanent collection of the José Malhoa Museum.
José Malhoa - International Recognition
If it is unanimous that José Malhoa is one of the best performers of national painting, it is important to note that his recognition was also distinguished across borders.
José Malhoa would also achieve the well-deserved international title by winning Gold Medals in Barcelona and Buenos Aires (1910), Silver Medals at the International Berlin Exhibition (1896), at the Universal Exhibition in Paris (1900) and at the General Exhibition of Fine Arts of Madrid (1901). The latter deserved a mention by our Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro in the pages of A Paródia, where he highlights the "high merits of the painter Malhoa".
He also received Medals of Honor at International Exhibitions in Rio de Janeiro (1908) and Panama-Pacific (S. Francisco 1915), just to mention some of the merits achieved abroad.
José Malhoa the Painter and his rapprochement to Caldas da Rainha
The truth is that after leaving Caldas da Rainha, as a child, José Malhoa did not maintain a very close relationship with his homeland from then on, his presence being usual not only in Lisbon but also and more and more often in Figueiró dos Vinhos, where he started to move in 1883, where he would even build a house, where he found reasons for many of his works and where he would eventually die in 1934.
However, because José Malhoa is from the land and deserves our recognition, in 1926, through António Montês, José Malhoa is invited to produce a painting about Caldas, a request to which the artist responded with the offer of the essential Portrait of Queen D. Leonor, on June 13, 1926 and which can be seen and reviewed in all its splendor in the Sala Malhoa of the José Malhoa Museum.
The city of Malhoa
This rapprochement between Malhoa and Caldas would have new outlines since the same António Montês would give him the chance to create a Museum dedicated to the artist here, having even promoted the creation of the League of Friends of the Malhoa Museum for that purpose.
In September 1928 a bust was inaugurated in his honor, an initiative that counted on the collaboration of the Initiative Committee of Caldas da Rainha (1924-1936), and that today can be contemplated by the José Malhoa Museum.
Fruit of his artistic genius, Malhoa was the target of several tributes and tributes throughout his life in thanks and recognition for his merit and talent and had the opportunity to see the construction of the José Malhoa Museum approved on June 17, 1933.
José Malhoa would pass away on 26 October 1933 and would not attend the opening of the Museum on 28 April 1934, a date chosen in his honor since he would celebrate his 79th birthday.
There is no doubt that he is an important figure and deserves all the honors and thanks