In October 1911, the poet Guerra Junqueiro (1850-1923) presented a group of 33 drawings — actually comprising38 loose sheets — from his art collections to sell to the Museu Nacional de Belas Artes, predecessor of the Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga. This acquisition was possible at the time thanks to the patronage funds from the legacy of the Viscount of Valmor. It is a significant group of works reflecting the poet’s artistic taste, focusing not so much on a specific period, school or favourite theme, but on the purchase of beautiful loose-leaf drawings, each worthy of the attention of a discerning and experienced collector. Although we do not know how each of these pieces came into the poet’s possession, the majority appear not to have been acquired in Portugal but on his trips abroad. With the exception of the extraordinary Martyrdom of St. Sebastian, by mannerist painter Fernão Gomes, thisgroup includes only drawings by foreign artists, and the collector did not always choose original drawings but also copies, many of them likely to have been made under artistic apprenticeships. In the year marking the centenaryof the poet’s death, we show here, brought together for the first time, some of the best drawings from this collection.
Alexandra Gomes Markl