PORTUGUESE CENTRE FOR SURREALISM
With the key objective of making ‘Famalicão, the Centre for Portuguese Surrealism’, the Cupertino de Miranda Foundation carried out remodelling works in its building in order to create the necessary conditions to host exhibitions and thus ensure the launch of the Portuguese Centre for Surrealism (CPS) – an expansion and repositioning of its former Centre for Surrealist Studies (CES).
In June 1999, the Artistic Director of the Museum of the Cupertino de Miranda Foundation, Bernardo Pinto de Almeida, suggested the creation of a Centre for Surrealist Studies – the Centro de Estudos do Surrealismo (CES) – based on the materialisation of a collection whose focus would be on the consolidation of an artistic core that would respond to a surrealist nature.
Today, there are various types of institutional collections in Portugal that are characterised by their exemplary character or their topic. The Foundation has a very significant core of works of fine art characteristic of surrealism, distributed among various techniques, from painting to drawing, sculpture, collage, cadavre-exquis, or objects that embody a collection that has been growing with its own personality and a remarkable historical significance.
The fact that João Meireles donated a significant collection of works acquired under exceptional conditions from Cruzeiro Seixas defined the main guidelines for the collection of the Foundation. It was, however, thanks to the decision to further purchase new works that it was possible to strengthen the initial core making it unique. The second stage of acquisitions contributed to an even clearer definition of the Foundation’s purposes by moving from a collection of works with a generalist character to a set of significant works of the movement. Given the importance of the collection, the Centre for Surrealist Studies made considerable efforts to increase the collection by incorporating representative pieces of the movement thus facilitating the integration of the museum in the community, in the region, and in the country. This selection has been made taking into account the works that can show the movement’s predecessors, its main artists, or even their followers; or works that due to their rarity, symbology, or character deserve being integrated in this collection, differentiating it and making it unique. Bernardo Pinto de Almeida’s initial proposal was revised by Perfecto E. Cuadrado in 2002 with a view to further develop the Centre for Surrealist Studies. As a result of this revision work, a core workgroup was set up with the overall coordination of Aníbal Pinto de Castro and a scientific board composed of Perfecto E. Cuadrado, Bernardo Pinto de Almeida, José Augusto-França, Rui-Mário Gonçalves, Fernando Cabral Martins, Fernando Silvestre, and Osvaldo Silvestre.
This second stage gave new life to the Centre for Surrealist Studies, whose path began to be more evident – the Centre invested in the collaboration with other institutions related to surrealism and established privileged relationships with museums and galleries. At the same time, the museum extended its activity with a continuous and annual programme of exhibitions. Successive contacts were made to purchase new works, and it was then possible to acquire the art and document collections of Mário Cesariny and Cruzeiro Seixas, the library of Ernesto Sampaio, and later the libraries of Gonçalo Duarte, Eurico Gonçalves, Fernando Lemos, and Julio. Alongside its artistic activity, the Centre for Surrealist Studies has made efforts to make the Cupertino de Miranda Foundation, and more particularly its library, a hub of activity concerning the literature on surrealism and thereby promoting its study and research by making the Library an indispensable crossing point for those who want to study the surrealist universe in Portugal. At the same time, the Centre for Surrealist Studies has maintained a continuous editorial plan that has resulted in the publication of notebooks, catalogues of the exhibitions held at the museum, and third-party editions that are relevant to the studies of the movement.