Visu­al Arts

Rober­to Burle Marx: Brazil­ian Modernist

Jens Hoff­mann and Clau­dia Nahson
  • From the Publisher
January 2, 2018

The mod­ernist parks and gar­dens of Brazil­ian land­scape archi­tect and gar­den design­er Rober­to Burle Marx (1909 – 1994) earned him awards, wide­spread acclaim, and inter­na­tion­al fame. Over a 60-year career, he designed more than 2,000 gar­dens world­wide, the most famous of which are those he cre­at­ed in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the archi­tect Oscar Niemey­er for Brasília. Although he is best known for his land­scape work, Burle Marx was a pro­lif­ic artist in a vari­ety of media, and his larg­er body of work — which includes paint­ings, draw­ings, tile mosaics, sculp­ture, tex­tile design, jew­el­ry, the­ater cos­tumes, and more — is crit­i­cal to under­stand­ing his impor­tance as a mod­ernist. An avid hor­ti­cul­tur­al­ist, he was among the first to denounce defor­esta­tion in the Ama­zon region; he also dis­cov­ered over thir­ty species of Brazil­ian flo­ra, which bear his name. 

This beau­ti­ful­ly illus­trat­ed and ground­break­ing pub­li­ca­tion cov­ers the full range of Burle Marx’s artis­tic out­put, as well as his remark­able home, an aban­doned estate that he trans­formed into his office, work­shop, gallery, and liv­ing space. The endur­ing influ­ence of Burle Marx’s work is also explored through inter­views with sev­en con­tem­po­rary artists: Juan Arau­jo, Palo­ma Bosquê, Dominique González-Foer­ster, Luisa Lam­bri, Arto Lind­say, Nick Mauss, and Beat­riz Mil­hazes. These artists exem­pli­fy the extent to which his work con­tin­ues to be a source of inspiration.

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