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Tempo Social

Print version ISSN 0103-2070

Tempo soc. vol.1 São Paulo  2005


Immigrant cultural entrepreneurs in São Paulo in the 1950's


Empreendedores culturais imigrantes em São Paulo de 1950



Maria Arminda do Nascimento Arruda

Translated by Deborah Neale
Translation from Tempo Social, São Paulo, v.17, n.1, p.135-158, June 2005.




This paper discusses the relationship between immigration, industry, diversification of the elites and the creation of cultural institutions in São Paulo in the 195's, a time of intense city dynamics when it was acquiring the definite shapes of a metropolis. As a consequence of these changes, the understanding of the civilizing character imbued in cultural development became solidified, and a general homology with the modernization in course, in all spheres of society, was established. This was breeding ground for renewed cultural languages, such as 'concretism' in poetry and in the fine arts; of the theatre and film making; of architecture, design and advertising; the social sciences and urban planning; of the debates that took place in all fields. The cultural vigor of the time was gained from the dynamics of bourgeois modernity, identified with progress and compromised with the institutional building of wealthy patrons.

Keywords: Immigration; Cultural entrepreneurs; Cultural institutions; São Paulo; Metropolis.


Este artigo discute as relações entre imigração, indústria, diversificação das elites e criação das instituições culturais em São Paulo nos anos de 1950, momento de intenso dinamismo da cidade que adquiria os contornos definitivos de metrópole. Como conseqüência dessas mudanças, solidificou-se a compreensão do caráter civilizatório contido no desenvolvimento cultural, estabelecendo-se franca homologia com a modernização em curso, em todas as esferas da sociedade. Na esteira dessas iniciativas, vicejaram as linguagens culturais mais renovadoras, caso do concretismo na poesia e nas artes plásticas; da dramaturgia e da cinematografia; da arquitetura, do design, da publicidade; das ciências sociais e do planejamento urbano; dos debates que grassavam em todos os campos. O vigor cultural do período forjou-se na dinâmica da modernidade burguesa, identificada com o progresso e comprometida com a construção do poder do dinheiro.

Palavras-chave: Imigração; Empreendedores culturais; Instituições da cultura; São Paulo; Metrópole.



In the 1950's, the city of São Paulo was going through substantial changes in all the planes of urban coexistence and was acquiring the definite character of a metropolis, the foundation for the appearance of cultural institutions and new languages1. As from the post-war period, the world's major cities underwent processes that redefined urban functions and readjusted the space occupation network. This could be seen in a trend toward the deconcentration of ethnic neighborhoods and the restructuring of inter- and intra-metropolitan relations (cf. Gottdiener, 1997, p. 25). By the middle of the century, the capital of the state of São Paulo had lost its timid air of the years that had witnessed the birth of Modernism, when immigrants, concentrated in preferential neighborhoods, accounted for one third of the population of the city, lending it a somewhat foreign tone. The pace of urban living changed and the old city, shaped by the dynamics of the coffee-based economy, developed a new, smokestack-peppered layout.

The economy of the state of São Paulo was based on extremely favorable conditions for its full development, with strong expansion of its accumulation capacity through the integration of coffee-related activities, varied agriculture, an introverted transport system, the diversification of the small retail trade to the major wholesale trade, the banking system and, above all, the potentiality that the industrial sector revealed2.

In this uninterrupted process, the 1950's were heirs to the preceding decade. It was during this time that more than half of the mechanical industries appeared, as well as one third of the metalworking ones and one quarter of the establishments designed to produce electrical and communication material, as compared to the production complex that existed prior to 1958. The development of industrial establishments for the production of transport material and auto parts, together with the process of intense modernization that the food industry went through at the time, completed the framework of industrial differentiation achieved during this phase (cf. Pereira, 1967, p. 29). As a result, and thanks to the expansion of the aggregate wages distributed, consumer goods for salaried people increased, which brought to the market scene a number of players that had been absent until then. The dynamism of the industrial sector mobilized workers previously involved with primary activities; at the same time, it pulled in significant segments of the rural population, as a result of the increase in agricultural income linked to the urban impetus3.

If, on one hand, during the 1950 to 1958 time span the physical expansion of the industrial complex was reduced, on the other hand, there was an increase in investments, resulting in a qualitative transformation that turned this decade into one of the crucial moments of São Paulo's industrialization. During this time, the electrical material, communication and transport sectors, which called for specific raw material, capital and advanced technology, besides skilled labor, characterized the installation of the capital goods or durable consumer goods sector, inaugurating a new stage in the city's industrialization process, in which these sectors assumed the leadership of the pace of growth vis-à-vis the consumer goods sector4. In the mid 1950's, the standards of industrialization changed and, therefore, so did the very process of development of capitalism in Brazil. We left behind the restricted industrialization phase of the 1933 to 1955 period and entered a phase of heavy industrialization, which lasted from 1956 to 1964, according to the classical breakdown into periods put forth by João Manuel Cardoso de Mello (1982).

São Paulo was transforming itself into the country's hegemonic manufacturing center. Regional concentration was indispensable if economies of scale were to be achieved, and these economies called for investing in modern techniques to enable productivity growth. In 1950, the tenderly nursed dream of industrialization capable of raising the country to the level of developed nations appeared to be both viable and close. Industry, particularly the segment installed in São Paulo, was making the country self-sufficient in terms of perishable and semi-durable consumer goods5. Domestic production of previously imported goods and raw materials picked up speed: durable consumer goods, such as automobiles and home appliances; capital goods, such as machinery and equipment; and intermediary goods, as well as steel, chemicals, rubber and paper (cf. Singer, 1983, p. 124). The outstanding expansion of the industrial production sector attracted the interest of foreign companies, which began replacing their former commercial agents by branches involved in manufacturing activities. The facilities that the Brazilian government offered for the entry of foreign capital, which only required a partnership with Brazilians or the purchase of their companies, sped up the process. The impact of these initiatives materialized shortly. If in 1950 Brazilian industry consisted of a large number of domestic and privately-owned companies, generally belonging to the same family, by 1960 half of the industrial capital in São Paulo was in foreign hands, other than craftsmen's workshops. The overwhelming consequences of the de-nationalization of the industrial complex were offset, in part, by the introduction of modern methods of distribution and for financing operations6.

Under the patronage of foreign capital, the new industrial areas were already appearing in highly concentrated form, being attached to the city of São Paulo or neighboring towns, in one of the most intense conurbation phenomena ever witnessed in western history. Suddenly, a Greater São Paulo is outlined in which there are no unoccupied areas between the large city and its satellites, towns such as Santo André, São Bernardo, São Caetano, Guarulhos, Caieiras, Diadema, Embu, Ferraz de Vasconcelos, Itaquaquecetuba, Franco da Rocha, Osasco, Mauá, Poá, Suzano, Barueri and Taboão da Serra7.

Horizontal and vertical developments were simultaneous processes in the large metropolis in the 1950's. If on one hand the concentration of activities favored economic development, on the other hand it was the origin of countless urban survival problems. With no planning, or with only belated and partial planning, the inflexible vocabulary of difficulties rapidly expanded: inadequacy of the sewage system, polluting the rivers; a shortage of drinking water, brought from a long way away; thicker urban traffic, due to precarious public transport; and insufficient roads for the excess number of vehicles. In sum, problems that denounce the modern metropolis, even if under the yoke of the conditions of the outskirts8.

The modern metropolis could be glimpsed through the plurality of the activities carried out. Beyond industry, trade and finance engulfed the retail, wholesale and services sector; personal services, thanks to the appearance of luxury establishments, such as hotels, restaurants, bars, beauty salons, clubs, saunas, judo and yoga schools, flourished, in addition to household services, such as maids, drivers and others. Two further indicators were also symptomatic of metropolitanization: the workforce employed in the services sector, which rose from 50% in 1940 to 60% in 1950, and the number of unemployed workers in Greater São Paulo, which in 1953 was 10% for men and 5% for women (cf. Singer, 1983, pp. 124 and 127).

By 1950, São Paulo had already become a city with a cosmopolitan and modern profile, an "inflection point in the path of the relations between the metropolis and urbanism, which assumed a new version, that of urban planning" (Meyer, 1991, p. 5). The social beings that inhabited it rendered explicit the most exotic elements that are to be found in a society undergoing a modernization process south of the Equator, a society formed through a complex mosaic of ethnic, racial and cultural groupings. A substantial part of the dense repertoire of cultural languages developed in São Paulo during the 1950's is undoubtedly due to this population blend and, especially, to strong migratory flows. The blacks and the indigenous peoples began losing their numerical superiority to the new arrivals, whether immigrants or mid-century migrants. During the heyday of immigration, between 1882 and 1930, some 2,223,000 people arrived in São Paulo, a figure roughly equal to 18% of the state's population. Most of them (approximately one million, or about 50% of the total) were Italian. However, in the torrent of peninsular peoples, the Portuguese and the Spaniards each accounted for 18%. In other words, over 80% of the immigrants came from Latin Europe, followed, in smaller numbers, by the Japanese, the Syrians, the Lebanese, the Poles, the Jews, the Armenians and the Germans (cf. Love, 1982, p. 28)9.

One can imagine the cultural Babel that resulted from this ethnic and linguistic impact, in that the immigrants, even as they superimposed and mixed themselves, preserved their ancestral traditions in their spatial strongholds, the immigrant neighborhoods. Despite the reduction in migratory flows of the late 1930's, especially after the restrictions imposed by the enactment of the 1934 laws, it was precisely in the 1950's that their presence became particularly noticeable. The immigrants and especially the first generation of descendants born in this country started reaching the top of the social ladder in several activities, from the primary ones to services and trade, with a growing presence in the social media, in the cultural apparatus, in literature, the cinema and the theatre, bringing about the explosion of a many-shaded, variegated cultural grammar, densely impregnated with the new sensibility. Furthermore, it did not matter that the flow of immigration had cooled down, or that for many immigrants São Paulo was merely a stop on their way to Argentina or the United States.

Between 1941 and 1949, internal migration replaced immigration. São Paulo received 431,153 Brazilians from other regions and only 45,518 foreigners10, in a process of substitution of external flows that mirrored, mutatis mutandis, the process of substitution of imports. Coming from the states of Bahia, Minas Gerais, Pernambuco, Alagoas, Ceará and Sergipe11, just in the year of the city's 400th anniversary, 94,436 Brazilians arrived in São Paulo and were absorbed into the melting pot of the city and the state. One can imagine the strength of this second impact on the warp of the urban cultural fabric.

In the Greater São Paulo area, a torrent of languages and dialects were blended together: Italian, Calabrian, Neapolitan, and Venetian; the Portuguese spoken by the urban blacks and mestizos, developed in the urban space; the hillbilly mode of speech brought by workers from the inner-state area; and the mode of speech of the people from the state of Minas Gerais and from the country's northeast, which conserved the archaic Portuguese of colonial times and combined it with whiffs of African dialects and the general language. All of whom adapted their typical expressions, the intonation of their allocutions and the relaxed melody of their expressions12.

However, it would be a mistake to imagine that the immigrants, especially those of Italian origin, attached themselves solely to the roster of urban professional and productive activities. In 1920, some 22% of the coffee plantations were in the hands of foreigners; by 1932, this share had reached 36%, of which 20% consisted of Italians. Conversely, broad segments of that segment of the agricultural bourgeoisie that was sensitive to the new times and that was not caught by irreparable decadence, invested their capital in the rail transport system and in banking activities, organizing themselves in a more "modern" style into publicly-traded stock companies, whereas most immigrant entrepreneurs formed limited partnerships with family members (cf. Love, 1982, p. 83). Yet another modern trait developed by the old bourgeoisie, according to Joseph Love, was that they tended "not to look upon land as an ancestral asset to be conserved. They regarded it as a production factor and were constantly buying new property as the old ones ceased to be fertile" (Idem, p. 234)13. The coffee-planting elite, as one can see, converted the use of land into a value reserve, in a process of revaluation whereby old properties became the currency of exchange for obtaining virgin, fertile land. Illegal occupancy of real property and forced expropriation were other mechanisms, although less legal and docile, used for amassing land. In any of these circumstances, the preservation of the arenas of political power were of capital importance, given that the "banks-railroads-farms" trio guaranteed prior knowledge of railroad expansion plans towards the agricultural frontier and, therefore, of the lands whose value would rise a great deal.

The crossed paths of the immigrants who had come up in life and the agricultural bourgeoisie explain the unique profile of São Paulo's social mobility in the 1950's. The social ascent of the new arrivals to the medium and upper rungs of social hierarchy did not forcibly signify the descent of groups that up until then had been hegemonic. Thus, an area of accommodation was generated (cf. Hutchinson, 1960). The small substitutive mobility did not imply, necessarily, in an abrupt dislocation of the previous economic, social and cultural leaderships. Therefore, there was a kind of shock-absorbing cushion, a vacuum of conflicts, able to foster the merger of the old and new elites through family communions. Finally, to the decadent bourgeoisie, what was left was an escape towards cultural strongholds – prose, poetry, the theatre – where, yet again, it would run into the newcomers, sometimes playing the role of patrons of the arts, and not rarely of colleagues in trade.

Beyond the mere social divides, coldly surprised in the dryness of statistics, the true authors of this shared history had their private spaces, their interior walls and favorite meeting points, especially where the traditional or emerging elites are concerned. Whereas at the base of society the masses arranged themselves in nuclear families, at the top, the families of the elite formed extensive groups that did not reject even their bastard children, as was the case of Armando Prado14. Wedding rites, joint business agreements and daily coexistence in areas of leisure were all an unequivocal indication of the assimilation capacity of the new elites. "High society now included the nouveaux riches and a circle of professionals from smaller cities, who capitalized on their intellectual or social gifts" (Idem, p. 125). This, however, did not mean there were no critical grudges as to the posture and behavior of the nouveaux riches, especially when they were immigrants; nevertheless, this did not stand in the way of their socializing at the tea room or restaurant of the Jaraguá Hotel, the "in" spot at the time, or during the seasons spent at Guarujá, their beach resort of choice.

These were very dynamic times, when belief in the infinite possibilities of cultural development was homologous to belief in an economic, social and political modernization that was the great promise of São Paulo. Thus, the present aspired to a civilized future that, incidentally, was seductive to all. Specifically, there occurred a concourse of economic and political power, on one hand, and the "world of the mind" on the other, because all were imbued with similar wishes, albeit concerning different fields. As Simmel states, there are certain analogies in the formal plane between money and intellect that are characterized by an impulse towards permanent updating.

In parallel with the impersonal objectivity inherent to the contents of intelligence, there is a very close relation between intelligence and individuality […]. Money, in turn, regardless of the extent to which it transfers impulsive-subjective behaviors to supra-personal behaviors and objective standards, provides, nonetheless, fertile ground for individualism and economic egoism […]. The dual path in which both intellectual elements and money become intelligible is the difference between their essential objective content, their functions, or, in other words, the uses to which they are put (Simmel, 1997, p. 437).

The indispensable conditions for formal equalization of the two spheres materialized during this time of growing differentiation of culture and democratization of access to a cultural life, a movement strongly underscored by the presence of immigrants, combined with economic dynamism, in other words, with the objective and subjective character of money. On the other hand, the harmonious coexistence of cultural groups and institutions, patrons of the arts and, consequently, the environment of wealth, is inherent to metropolises.

The metropolises cloak[ed] the traditional academies and museums in their orthodoxies. Their proximity and control power were at one and the same time standardization and a challenge. However, within this complex and mobile society, small groups or any form of divergence might find [could have found] some type of support, which would have been impossible in more traditional and closed societies. The metropolitan miscellany – which, in the course of capitalism and of the development of imperialism attracted, characteristically, a varied population from different social strata and diverse cultural origins – and its concentration of wealth and possibilities of patronage of the arts allowed these groups to find new types of audiences (Williams, 1997, p. 45).

These relations, once they were rendered effective, were translated increasingly into the development of proximity with all possibilities of power, including political power15. A personage such as Francisco Matarazzo Sobrinho, known as Ciccillo Matarazzo, who belonged to the greatest business group in Latin America, whose range of activities in cultural field was based on economic power, transformed its wealth in a path to social recognition, becoming a paradigmatic figure of the new patronage of the arts that was emerging at the time. Thus, he affirmed his individuality and his right to dispose, as he saw fit, of the resources accumulated in the business area, highlighting the free dimension of his personality, freed from the restrictive bindings of the immigrant condition. At the same time, intellectuals and artists benefited from new possibilities for exercising their occupations, becoming able to mobilize the resources inherent to their fields of knowledge in a more securely. In both cases, the underpinnings of the exercise of the patronage of the arts and of cultural life changed: first, because this patronage turned toward the creation of institutions such as museums and theatres, or connected with the cinema. Second, because the cultural producers could enjoy, in different ways, the presence of the institutions. The confluence of procedures closes the loop, allowing one to understand how it was possible for producers of culture, entrepreneurs and business leaders to become associated in the celebrations of the 400th anniversary of the city of São Paulo, in 1954.

It is within the arenas of this abstract universality that the transformation of the cultural fabric reached its acme through the organization of major institutions. The multiplication of undertakings introduced qualitative transformations in the cultural scene, turning the city into the generating source of new expressions in all fields.

One of the distinctive signs of this period was the expansion of production, also the fruit of the institutions created and maintained by personages from the business milieu, so very different from the patronage of the arts that had been typical of the São Paulo salons of the 1920's and 1930's16.

Toward the end of the 1940's, the bourgeois patronage of the arts acquired a breadth up to then unknown to the city. Furthermore, this became manifest in totally different ways. It was no longer centered in the coffee-growing bourgeoisie, for whom recognizing the value of culture, in the glitter of its salons, had the purpose of lending it aristocraticness […]. And it was even less a patronage based on the figure of a "benefactor" dedicated to maintaining small institutions or protégés. No, this was an eminently bourgeois patronage of the arts and an industrial bourgeoisie sufficiently wealthy to spend huge amounts of money (Galvão, 1981, p. 14).

These patrons, who came from the industrial bourgeoisie of predominantly immigrant origin, affirmed their position in a society that was starting to become familiar with the rise of foreigners, as Ernani Silva Bruno so aptly showed:

The Italians and their descendants were sometimes referred to depreciatively as "little Italians" or carcamanos, a derogatory synonym for Italian, by Brazilians endowed with long surnames. But the counts and countesses with peninsular names that mated through marriage with people whose ancestors Pedro Taques had catalogued in his Nobiliarquia paulistana were no longer "little Italians" or carcamanos. The miraculous power of money had begun to melt the aristocratic scruples of the quatrocentões (1986, pp. 52-53)17, the traditional families that bore ancient names.

Hence the close coexistence of intellectuals and artists with the crème de la crème:

Writers, poets, journalists and intellectuals used to go to the same places – they bought, read and tried to conquer space in the same magazines – and coexisted with the crème de la crème, especially with those who were interested in culturalizing the country – the arts administrators. São Paulo literary and artistic life was intense at that time: everybody knew everybody else and met either here (the Jaraguá tea room and bookstore, for instance) or there, in gatherings at friends' homes or cocktail parties at the Automobile Club (Pereira, 1987, pp. 37-38).

Summarizing, during this time São Paulo slipped into prominence in the cultural field – which up until then had been an attribute of Rio de Janeiro – as it hatched a diverse cultural standard. If the 1920's and 1930's had been generally characterized by a quest for their own expressive forms, the post-war period in São Paulo was underscored by the strengthening of institutions and by the patronage of culture18.

The involvement of foreigners such as engineer Franco Zampari, although not only in the realization and implementation, in 1948, of the Brazilian Drama Theatre - TBC – (Teatro Brasileiro de Comédia), exhibits the new face of the patronage of culture in São Paulo. Zampari transferred the principles of business action to the organization of the new theatre.

The risk element found in competition, combined with a patronage of the arts that attracted him, formed a powerful and irresistible magnet. On one hand, we have a prodigious man, a member of elite social circles, who was fascinated by the stage, from his earliest years and who finally felt the possibility of coming closer to it with greater familiarity. On the other hand, we have a successful businessman and an enterprising and capable engineer, as director of the Matarazzo industries, who shared an enthusiasm similar to that which had led his great friend Francisco Matarazzo Sobrinho to create the São Paulo Modern Art Museum in that very same year of 1948. From this combination an impulse was born that would drive the realization of an undertaking that, initially, planned to offer a stage to São Paulo amateur artists. It is possible that none of the parties involved in the early days of this undertaking realized the dimension of the consequences of Zampari's involvement with the theatre (Guzik, 1987, p. 13).

In other words, in conjunction with attraction to theatrical shows, one must take into account the very nature of the investments channeled into the field of culture, but organized according to business logic. Such an undertaking would only become feasible if it could rely on the presence of qualified professionals, who were rare in this country, at that time.

Eight European directors, of whom six were Italian and one Belgian (Maurice Vaneau), in addition to Ziembinski, passed through TBD during its life of 15 years… In this learning stage, the virtuosity of Ziembinski [...] and the sound stagecraft training of Adolfo Celi (TBC's first artistic director) turned out to be priceless, as were Luciano Salce and Flaminio Bollini (1924-1978), the three latter having been graduates of the Academy of Dramatic Arts in Rome. Complementing this basic work, many of them branched into other directions, whether scenography, like Gianni Ratto, who was already a renowned professional when he left Italy, or whether criticism, like Alberto D'Aversa (1920-1969) and, particularly, Ruggero Jacobbi (1920-1981), who wrote, among other essays, a book on Brazilian theatre published in Italy. Summarizing, European culture imbued all levels, from the technicians to the diffusion of ideas (Prado, 1986, p. 545).

These foreigners undertook the role of "civilizing" – i.e., of professionalizing – cultural initiatives in Brazil, performing their functions in a targeted and clearly calculated manner.

In order to raise the funding required for the installation of a theatrical venue and the capital required for it to operate, Zampari and Ciccillo Matarazzo created the Brazilian Drama Society, a non-profit entity, which some 200 people from São Paulo high society were invited to fund. Thus, bankers and industrialists participated in it, among others [...] (Guzik, 1987, pp. 13-14).

In other terms, new ethics were introduced into the understanding of "cultural businesses" and it is therefore no wonder that the pioneers were predominantly of immigrant origin. They joined forces with Brazilians to set up institutions, being thus able to rely on a cultural environment that was in a clearly effervescent state and that could harbor their ideas19.

In the case of cinema, as a result of the creation of the Companhia Cinematográfica Vera Cruz film studios – closely connected with TBC and maintained by Ciccillo Matarazzo and Zampari –, the same procedures were repeated.

Through its professionalism, Vera Cruz radically changed the São Paulo cinematographic sector. Before, cinema was an activity undertaken by people connected with the theatre, amateurs, descending from immigrant families, mainly Italian (cf. Galvão, 1975, p. 48). Film production between the 1930's and the end of the 1940's had been almost entirely limited to Rio de Janeiro, although a few attempts at building entrepreneurial projects had been made, but failed (cf. Gomes, 1996, p. 71; Catani, 1987). At the end of the 1940's, the environment was going through deep changes.

In 1949 and 1950, five film companies were created and, over the following three years, the number of producers exceeds the number of two dozen. To understand how this São Paulo film industry appeared, one must examine the relation between the São Paulo bourgeoisie, the patronage of culture and the film culture that was developing in the capital. The so called "film industry" in São Paulo appeared during a time of intense cultural activity in this city (Gomes, 1996, p. 197).

As a result of the creation of Vera Cruz, which was a major undertaking, side by side with other film companies such as Maristela and Multifilmes, São Paulo cinema took over the leadership of domestic production (cf. Gomes, 1996; Catani, 1983). However, according to Paulo Emílio, "the people from São Paulo […] rejected any parallel between what they planned to do and what was done in Rio; rejecting vulgar vaudeville-like films, they had the ambition of producing classy films, and in far greater numbers" (Gomes, 1996, p. 76). Thus, the São Paulo cinema project, set up as a business, sought to be based on quality: "For the first time film studios appears in Brazil that can rely on the interest of the intellectuals and of the financial elite of São Paulo" (Catani, 1987, p. 203).

One can glimpse the magnitude of the initiative through the rupture its professions intended vis-à-vis the film production of the preceding period: "The Vera Cruz company was established precisely to "create" a film industry from scratch in Brazil. If there was one thing that was made clear, from its earliest attempts at self-definition, it is its total denial of the preceding film production (Idem, p. 42). The dream of installing a tropical Hollywood, set up as a corporation, seemed to lurk around the project (cf. Idem, pp. 92-93).

When it appeared, Vera Cruz was self-sufficient: "Cinema is made with good technicians, good artists, appropriate equipment, large studios and money, and the company has all of that" (Galvão, 1981, p. 53). The TBC professionals and patrons were instrumental in setting up the technical team, and they had the help of Assis Chateaubriand, creator of MASP, the São Paulo Art Museum, who sponsored conferences by Alberto Cavalcanti at MASP, where there was already a Center of Cinema Studies (cf. Idem, p. 39). In Cavalcanti's words:

Towards the end of 1949 I was invited by Mr. Assis Chateaubriand to deliver a number of conferences at the São Paulo Art Museum and I arrived here on September 4. As I had lived in Europe for 36 years, having only taken a three-month trip to Rio during this time, I decided to accept this. Almost at the end of my stay, I was introduced to Messrs. Franco Zampari, Adolfo Celi and Ruggero Jacobbi by Mr. Francisco Matarazzo Sobrinho. These gentlemen (all three total strangers to the cinema, from the industrial point of view) invited me to visit, in the town of São Bernardo do Campo, the land belonging to the latter, where they planned to install the future Vera Cruz film company (apud Galvão, 1981, p. 96).

The establishment of Vera Cruz by the same people who were at the inception of other undertakings expresses the concentration of the period's cultural initiatives, characterizing the closed group of patrons of the arts and culture that, in this case, included Chateaubriand and Pietro Maria Bardi, one of the collaborators in the founding of MASP, demonstrating the initial solidarity between the two groups. MAM, the Museum of Modern Art itself, the soundest institution sponsored by Ciccillo, had been set up within the headquarters of the Diários Associados newspapers, which belonged to Chateaubriand, on the 7 de Abril street, where MASP was also in operation. The break between the two main art museum patrons, Ciccilo and Chateubriand, would only manifest itself at a later date.

The invitation extended to Alberto Cavalcanti was crucial in providing the quality that the initiative required. Thanks to his significant contacts in the field, which resulted from his very many years in Europe, Cavalcanti hired technicians from the Old Continent, an indispensable condition for good film production (cf. Penteado, 1976, p. 249). The very organization of the First International Cinema Festival, to which internationally renowned artists were invited, especially American ones, depicts to what extent Vera Cruz founders wanted to confer soundness upon the company (cf. Idem, p. 245), so much so that they could not do without a major, organized, refined and sophisticated event, namely, a party at the Empyreo plantation for all of the festival's guests, thrown by Mrs. Yolanda Penteado, a scion of a traditional São Paulo family and at the time Francisco Matarazzo Sobrinho's wife (cf. Idem, pp. 242-254). An attempt was even made to try to emulate the American cinema's star system (cf. Idem, pp. 250-251). Given all these pretensions, Vera Cruz seemed excessive for the domestic film market, and the experience would wilt in 1954. Nevertheless, it was a striking expression of the process of modernization of the São Paulo cultural fabric, whose acme was the creation of institutions.

In the early 1950's, there was a notorious concern with developing a unique cultural field, more aligned with international trends. The words of Paulo Emílio are revealing: "It is true that there have always been meetings of intellectuals, discussions on art, politics and a thousand things; but never broadened to such as large number of people, extended over such a long time and diversified into so many fields of interest" (apud Galvão, 1981, p. 38).

On the plane of daily life, São Paulo intellectual ebullience corresponded to the growing expansion of the domains of leisure and consumption. In the mid 1950's, the field of publicity, an indicator of the pulse of production and consumption, was becoming a business undertaking (cf. Arruda, 1985, pp. 93-103), with the concept of radio soap-operas being symptomatic:

The idea is our raw material. This is our industry, where 18 privileged artists work. They are the writers who handle the idea looms. They set up their production, develop it, and the merchandise, which is the program, is ready for sale. The chief difference between this industry and any other is that raw material resources are not palpable. There is a serial production, but of sets of different ideas […]. This range of tendencies is put to the service of the weekly consumption of a show. There is no plant that can equal the effervescence of an art factory 20.

Undoubtedly, the artistic concepts of the cultural industry were in the process of full implementation, rendered explicit in the idea of message as merchandise21.

Cultural consumption had become considerably broader, as one can surmise from the attendance of movie theatres, which in 1949 and 1950 were experiencing "their golden age", which made them a highly profitable undertaking (cf. Almeida, 1996, p. 161)22. Consequently, holding the First International Cinema Festival in Brazil in the year of São Paulo's 400th anniversary crowned the movement of laying the roots of the city's cinema culture23. Cinema and publicity were the most visible areas of the Americanization of the way of life, a phenomenon that was also at play in popular music and in the theatre itself, having already manifested itself in urban conceptions, since mayor Prestes Maya's "Avenues Plan"24. The rise of North American standards within the scope of culture meant dislocating French cultural hegemony, so typical of our Europeanized elites, while also denoting a certain idea of how to organize activities, which in São Paulo would take place under the sign of business: in the media, in publicity, in the cinema, in the theatre. Naturally, the limits of these undertakings during the period were visible, as Renato Ortiz points out, and the so-called "spirit of rationality" was blended with "older standards", as was noticeable when Assis Chateaubriand inaugurated the Tupi TV station25. Nonetheless, it is possible to have business projects within the scope of culture, which does not mean reducing them to the mere manifestations of bourgeois views26.

Understanding these initiatives presupposes considering the relation between these entrepreneurs and the São Paulo intellectuals that promoted, supported and took an active part in most of the institutions that were being set up, as was the case of Sérgio Milliet, of the youths of the Clima group and of other personages in São Paulo's cultural life27, in conjunction with foreigners, who were essential to setting up the technical body of TBC and of Vera Cruz, and whose role in the modernization of the many sectors of culture was decisive, to the point of extrapolating this period, with the activity of the "missions" that helped set up the University of São Paulo in 1934 (cf. Massi, 1989; 1991). Thus, an understanding of the many institutions created in the post-war period in São Paulo cannot be complete if we do not deal with the nature of its immigrational phenomenon, at a time in which scions of the families of foreigners that had already moved up in life sought social legitimacy, which means overcoming the mere demographic issue or the movement toward higher social positions28. The connection between modernism and the immigration phenomenon, as established by Raymond Williams, can be extended into the field of construction of the cultural institutions that, in São Paulo, provided fertile soil for languages to blossom. According to him, "the fundamental key to modernistic style changes is the character of metropolises. The most important impact is their effect on form and the most important fact behind the changes in form is the immigration into the metropolises [...]" (1997, p. 45).

As a set, the culture of this mid-twentieth century reproduced the mélange so characteristic of a society in the midst of a vigorous transformation movement, but was subject to the tensions of a history devoid of sufficient power to foster deeper ruptures. The cultural fabric of these years can be characterized as a "blending culture, in which defensive and residual elements coexist with renewal programs (Sarlo, 1997, p. 217). This diagnosis on Buenos Aires as of the 1930's also applies to São Paulo29.

The system of cultural responses formed during these years was to have a major influence up until, at least, the 1950's. This is a period of insecurity as well as of very strong certainties, of reinterpretations of the past and of utopias, in which the representations of the future and of history clash in the texts and the polemics. The culture of Buenos Aires was subject to the tension of "novelty", even though it also lamented the inexorable course of the changes […]. Modernity is a landscape of losses but also of repairing fantasies. The future was today (Petrone, 1955, p. 217).

From experiencing this tension, the languages of culture derived their impulse, as was the case of the arts.

The São Paulo art museums were created, therefore, within a tense set of circumstances, crossed by strong dissensions that raged within the city's cultural and intellectual environment. The appearance of these institutions took place at a time of effervescent debates that polarized artists, writers and intellectuals, involved in the polemics on the culture of participation and of social art, which were at the base of the conflicts that involved both old and new generations in connection with the issue of realism vs. abstractionism. One lived with a situation that was, up to a point, a paradox. Whereas in other countries the avant-garde fought museums relentlessly, here these institutions were welcome, generally speaking, and even warmly received, which was the specific case of the modern art museums30. The São Paulo Modern Art Museum – MAM, officially opened on March 8, 1949, played a key role in publicizing the new languages in that it provided Brazilian artists with access to new pictorial world trends. Events such as the biennial art shows, promoted by MAM as of 1951, aligned Brazilians with abstract art, generating a favorable environment for appropriations. At the same time, the occasional exhibitions and the set of events and initiatives that the museum implemented offered new possibilities for entering the universe of avant-garde languages. MASP itself, with its eclectic collection, enabled developing a closeness to the development of Western fine arts and therefore revealed an evident pedagogical character. On the other hand, MAM offered showings of pictorial training that could be compared with contemporary experiments. Perhaps for this reason the museums met with general approval, which did not mean, however, unanimity regarding their projects, or even as to the methods used to set them up (cf. Amaral, 1987, pp. 245-250). Despite criticism, especially of the procedures employed by Assis Chateaubriand, MASP's controversial founder, as well as of his strong right-hand man, Pietro Maria Bardi, the museums carried civilizatory promises that were agreeable to all. Similarly, the Rio de Janeiro Art Museum rebalanced, in part, the capital's loss of space given the São Paulo initiatives. Overall, it seemed to everyone that the country was becoming culturally denser and more lettered, even if the acts of the first government of the newly-installed democracy seemed to have been designed to deny these cosmopolitan airs. However, industrial production had overtaken coffee as early as 1946 and the country was becoming open to the construction of a modern society. The future seemed auspicious, as a new type of patronage, uncommon up to that point in time, showed: differently from the project for establishing the University of São Paulo, in which "lettered elites" joined forces with the state government, which ended up by acting as the agent that rendered the institution viable, the museum patrons were entrepreneurs, a fact that was symptomatic of the vigorousness of economic activities in Brazil. Besides being entrepreneurs, they threw themselves into the construction of these cultural bodies of a public nature, necessarily articulating daring and even adventurous undertakings, when one takes into account Brazil's actual reality. Regardless of the problems that usually go hand in hand with initiatives of this nature, especially in contexts such as ours, the museums renovated the culture of the arts in the city, in that they enabled direct contact of both artists and the public with classical, modern and contemporary works of art. Above all, they introduced a qualitatively diverse atmosphere, thanks to the organization of initiatives in several directions, which allowed São Paulo and the country's capital to become aligned with the cultural pace of the great world centers.

The literature that deals with the circumstances surrounding the creation of Brazil's art museums in the second quartile of the 1940's usually highlights the relation between the transformations of Brazilian society during that period, due to industrialization and democratization, in sum, to modernization, and the changes in the scope of culture, which became concomitantly more complex31. In the texts produced within institutions, even the most analytical ones, connections of this kind emerge. Thus, the analyses of a contextual nature insert the museological institutions within the framework of Brazilian society, which was developing and becoming modern, as the dynamism of the large cities in general and of São Paulo in particular illustrates.

The same occurs when one seeks a connection between the art museums and the international post-war circumstances and, specifically, the North American policy toward Latin America. In this case, the elements stressed are those aspects that are essentially external to the undertakings of museums, as well as developing an understanding of the formation of these bodies as products of the policies of domination and civilization of hegemonic countries. In the words of Maurício Parada, "the art museums founded in this decade throughout the world were an integral part of American propaganda against the great prestige that socialism enjoyed among intellectuals and artists" (no date, p. 25). One can combine this very rationale with the lines of analysis of the tributary character of the cultural institutions and with the actions of enlightened groups of the dominant class, or of their representatives, who developed a pedagogy vis-à-vis society, with the intent of educating it32. Undoubtedly, the strengthening of the role of the actual patrons of the arts and of culture is not entirely divorced from this domain, either as legitimate representatives of their class, or through the entanglement of the profile assumed by the institution with the characteristic traits of their personalities, cast during the course of their personal itineraries (cf. Bardi, 1992; Almeida, 1976)33. In this type of approach, that usually exceeds the terrain of reflection and ends up by leading into the purest of panegyric lines of discourse, one normally identifies the organization with its establisher's capabilities and entrepreneurial spirit; on the opposite end of these discourses, the establishers' initiatives are transformed into mere tools, as they are transmuted into means for reaching individual ends, which may involve prestige or the achievement of targeted interest34. Finally, another way to understand this can be found in the body of studies that insert the establishment of these institutes in the framework of the maturing of the country's cultural fabric: art museums, in this case, are seen as ensuing from the rising density of artistic language that, by reaching a certain level, leads to the inevitable creation of organisms appropriate for it (cf. Zanini, 1983, 1991; Lourenço, 1990; Amaral, 1982). The problem of such approaches lies in the isolation of cultural production, which comes unstuck from social conditions, slipping toward a kind of progressive vision of language, focused on its own terms. Consequently, these reflections tend to identify the institution, once they have been created, with representations of the progress of the sector, performing the role of emulators of the changes of artistic languages, endowed with the characteristic of shaping the grammar of works and of styles35.

If it is entirely evident that the transformation that took place in Brazil and in the international scene in the post-war period are fundamental for the creation of art museums, it is equally valid to recognize that the connections do not occur simply as an overlap. From the standpoint of conditions of emulation, one must recognize the considerable role of the democratization and development process that occurred in Brazil during this time. Similarly, the foreign contexts, including both the European and the American ones, favored an intensification of relations, with the transfer of artists to the Americas, the lowering of the price of works of art in the Old Continent, the newly developed closeness to the USA, even though it may have been cooler during the New State period, and finally the transferal of the core of the artistic world from Paris to New York. The United States' policy of preferred alliances made it easier, as is widely known, to set up modern art museums. Overall, both the domestic and external changes formed the backdrop for the establishment of these institutions36 . On a more specific plane, industrialization and urbanization fostered a differentiation of the social structure, whose complexity was on the rise. Consequently, business functions were being diversified and new professional niches materialized in intellectual professions. In São Paulo, the appearance of this modern and powerful entrepreneurial layer, where Latin America is concerned, transfigured the world of those who used to be dominant, producing a numerous working class, with the consequent expansion of the services sector and of new professions, which caused the diversification of the typical occupations of the middle classes. The University of São Paulo's success democratized access to higher education and enabled massive entry into university of the children of the middle classes, clouding the constriction connected with origin. The determination of the family context, if it was not yet totally absent, was losing steam within the core of social life in São Paulo.

On the whole, the exercise of the so-called cultural professions changed, as new positions appeared in the teaching of secondary and higher education, in the press at large – which, since the 1930's, had been evolving along business lines and developed a significant contingent of professionals with higher education (cf. Sodré, 1977, pp. 427-428) –, in advertising and in the industrial arts, harboring professionals with university degrees, especially in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. In the Republic's capital, the modernization of the State's apparatus, which began in the first Vargas term and became even stronger during his second term, presupposed the assimilation of a cultural elite, in addition to the professionalization of the bureaucratic structure. Rio de Janeiro, as the administrative hub, was the center of attraction of lettered Brazilians, because it offered greater professional opportunities, in that it made it easier to gain access to the official patronage in which the State recurrently engaged. Great financial capital, whose seat had been the city since the coffee period, coexisted with trading and export companies of considerable size. The process of modernization and the democratic opening exposed its political and social facets. Cultural production, perforce, could not remain immune to the dynamics of the whole: it increased in quantity but, especially, became more diverse, within the scope of the modern languages.

In São Paulo, since the third decennium and characteristically in the 1940's and 1950's, experienced in a similar way the phenomenon of elite diversification of the elites, who flourished in the terrain of modernization and reached, by mid-century, the condition of being able to propose the organization of institutions of a public nature. Hence the fact that these institutional projects took on a "civilizatory form". Concerns of this nature transpire in the words of Ciccillo Matarazzo:

Before this, Assis Chateaubriand had founded the São Paulo Art Museum. I was a great friend of his. Once, he invited me to lunch at the headquarters of the old Automobile Club, which was very exclusive at the time. He asked why we didn't get together to hold, right there, a major art manifestation, such as I intended to do with the Bienal [a contemporary art show to be held every two years in São Paulo]. I told him no. What he wanted to do for a group of initiated and privileged people, I wanted to do for the people at large, for the man in the street [...].

With these words, Ciccillo Matarazzo touches, implicitly and unintentionally, upon a fundamental issue, namely, an emerging bourgeois public sphere in Brazilian society that was slowly coming into being, sprouting up in the wake of the modernization and democratization established in the post-war period37. I believe that this is the deeper meaning of this private patronage of the arts and culture, originated in a capitalistic society that, although peripheral, was acquiring the contours of "modern civilization", expressed in the actions of individuals that came from private enterprise. These "new ethics", geared toward the public sphere, distinguished such personalities, despite their differences, from the elites of the past. These changes that manifested themselves primarily in São Paulo in the more visible planes of the economy and of the social structure, as well within the social sphere, had established in their rationale an energy that overflowed into the spheres of public coexistence. Boldness coupled with the habit of coexisting with risk, attributes that cannot be dissociated from the ethics of business, were indispensable qualities for constructing institutions of the magnitude of museums, the theatre and the film industry. Thus, the relations between private individuals and social life were changed, empathy between interest and the collective sphere being established.

It was precisely within the core of these civilizatory experiences that took place in the city of São Paulo during this period that the most novel cultural languages flourished, such as concretism in poetry and in the fine arts; drama and cinema; architecture; design; publicity; and the social sciences and urban planning. Debates raged in all fields, as exemplified by the uproar over figurativism vs. abstractionism; social art, national and universal; rigorous science and engaged knowledge. The cultural vigor under way was forged in the dynamics of bourgeois modernity, immersed in a belief in irreversible progress and committed to the construction of the power of money. The social sphere had acquired an incomparable complexity relative to the one that had witnessed the emergence of the avant-gardist impulse of the 1920's. The new modernistic experimentation occurred in an environment permeated by heterogeneous conceptions on cultural creation, strengthening the pluralism of São Paulo, in a clear movement of construction of future languages. The impasses that were to materialize in coming years did not manage to delete the renovation impulses that blossomed during this half century of indelible changes; neither were they sufficient to destroy the significance of institutions in the life of the town that grew into a metropolis and of whose legacy we are still the heirs.


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1. "It gains speed, as well, at the level of the urban space constructed, thanks to the inflow of foreign capital, especially during the JK government, but whose wishes were sowed long before, with the "revolutionary" modernity cries that the Week of 22 demanded" (Souza, 1994, p. 25).

2. Even though it no longer dominant in Brazil's portfolio of exports, coffee continues to account for a substantial share of the performance of the economy, now increasingly underpinned by the industrial sector (cf. Cano, 1977, p. 257; 1985, ch. 3).

3. The number of blue collar workers employed in the state of São Paulo rose from 488,633 in 1950 to 647,244 in 1960 (cf. Pereira, 1967, p. 31).

4. From 1944 to 1955, the capital goods industries increased their output by 892%, whereas the consumer goods sector grew by only 196% (cf. Pereira, 1967, p. 29)

5. Even so, the ratio between the production of consumer goods and capital goods had changed significantly. Taking into account only the five most important areas in the first sector, and six in the second, during the 1949 to 1959 period, the share of consumer goods dropped from 47.3% to 34.9%, whereas the share of capital goods rose from 34.9% to 42.7% (cf. Singer, 1974, p. 59).

6. The reaction of Brazilian businessmen to the penetration of foreign capital ranged from simple irritation caused by the competitiveness that would be required from them as from then, to requiring their adherence, the local businessmen being satisfied to receive the new investments (cf. Dean, 1971, p. 252).

7. In 1959, Greater São Paulo's contribution to the industrial product was 70% (cf. Singer, 1974, p. 60).

8. Joseph Love distinguishes three phases in São Paulo's urban development: pre-metropolitan (1875-1915); early metropolitan (1915-1940); and metropolitanization (as from 1940). He highlights that in the first phase, already in the twentieth century, São Paulo conceived a reasonable public health program, backed by spending per capita equivalent to the amount spent in the United States at the time. In 1920, more than 120 municipalities of the state of São Paulo had some form of sewage system and all had a public water supply system (cf. Love, 1982, p. 120).

9. São Paulo's population growth was intense during the period. In 1920, the city only had 580,000 inhabitants, of which one third were foreigners. By 1950, it had reached 2,200,000 and only four years later, in 1954, it reached 2,820,000 (cf. Araújo, 1958, p. 169).

10. "One can therefore conclude that immigration, in this case internal, was extremely significant for São Paulo's demographic increase during the period studied, given that natural growth would have been insufficient to justify the data and indices mentioned. The percentage of the São Paulo population that can be ascribed to natural growth stood, in 1900, at 34.6%, vs. 65.4% imputable to immigration. In 1960, the ratio between these indices had changed little: 36.1% and 63.9%, respectively" (Queiroz, 1976, p. 490).

11. See Boletim do Departamento de Imigração e Colonização (Bulletin of the Immigration and Colonization Department), São Paulo, 1950, 5: 37-39.

12. The figure of Voltolino expresses the mark of São Paulo speech (see Beluzzo, no date; Careli, 1982).

13. The emblematic example supplied by Love, although it refers to the end of the nineteenth century, is fairly significant, in that it deals with Jorge Tibiriçá, a major personage of the traditional, agricultural bourgeoisie that actually became São Paulo state governor and that "acquired several properties in the area served by the Mogiana [railroad] and, in 1891, did not hesitate to sell the family property in Itu" (Love, 1982, p. 234).

14. "Traditionally, the extended family, or all kinfolk, constituted an important part in the life of all social groups [...]. However, in the 1960's , the lower class families that lived in the capital tended to assume a nuclear structure, whereas the extended family continued to permeate the relations of the higher class to a considerable extent" (Love, 1982, p. 124).

15. See the excellent study by Sergio Miceli (1979) on the relations between intellectuals and power.

16. It is well known that this is a São Paulo fact par excellence, given that in Rio de Janeiro the main mentor of artistic and cultural development was the government.

17. A recent study on the origin of the São Paulo entrepreneurial class verified the major presence of foreigners or people of foreign origin in its ethnic and social make up (cf. Pereira, 1964).

18. In the words of Maria Rita Galvão: "The cultural issue in São Paulo is a problem of the bourgeoisie" (1981, p. 22).

19. One can surmise these alliance from the names listed by Guzik in the survey of funds for the creation of TBC (1987, p. 14).

20. Rádio Nacional. 20 anos de liderança a serviço do Brasil (1936-1956) [Nacional Radio. 20 years of leadership at Brazil's service (1936-1956)]. Arquivo Multimeios, Centro Cultural de São Paulo, Secretaria Municipal da Cultura, Prefeitura de São Paulo, nº 2409, f. 82 [ Multimedia Archives, Centro Cultural de São Paulo, Municipal Culture Bureau, São Paulo City Council, no. 2409, p. 82]. I owe access to this material to Ana Claudia Fernandez.

21. Renato Ortiz considers it "difficult to apply to the Brazilian society of this period the concept of cultural industry introduced by Adorno and Horkheimer [...]. They [the companies] lack a characteristic trait of the culture industries, the integrating character" (1988, p. 48). Indeed, integration will only take place at the end of the 1960's, but the message – product conception came before, as one can perceive in the reproduced text.

22. Heloísa Almeida presents data on the number of seats and annual movie theatre attendance from 1940 to 1970. The rise of the two indices between 1940 and 1960 is reversed from 1960 to 1970, when television began to interfere with movie theatre attendance. But from 1940 to 1960, the numbers speak for themselves:
Number of seats
1940 (95,754);
1945 (122,736);
1950 (158,000);
1955 (199,379);
1960 (224,669).
Annual Audience
1940 (19,526,224); 1945 (30,212,942); 1950 (35,846,722); 1955 (57,736,902);
1960 (44,357,881).
The author shows that, as early as "the end of the 1930's, a movie-theatre area started to form in the newer downtown area, in the São João and Ipiranga avenues and surroundings" (1996, p. 162). São Paulo's largest movie theatres were in Brás, a blue-collar district of immigrant origin (cf. Idem, p. 163). In the 1940's, São Paulo had 449 printing-works, 203 magazines, 106 bookshops, 91 newspapers (in several languages), 45 publishers and 150 cinemas (cf. Petrone, 1955, p. 168).

23. The Festival comprised a Brazilian Cinema Retrospective, a Scientific Cinema Festival, a Children's Cinema Festival, conferences, publications and exhibitions, such as the one held at the Museum of Modern Art on the work of Erich von Stroheim and Abel Gance. See "Cinema de 30 Dias" [30-Day Cinema], Revista Anhembi, 45 (XV), Aug. 1954.

24. "One cannot forget that the 1940's stamped a change in the orientation of foreign models among us. European standards gave way to American values, conveyed through publicity, the cinema and books in English, which began to outdo French publications in numerical terms" (Ortiz, 1988, p. 71). "What was left to Brazil was to continue in the wake of cultural colonization. On the musical plane, [they] got through even in terms of the rhythms, such as swing, jazz and boogie-woogie" (Caldas, 1995, p. 105). "Thus, Prestes Maia, in his Avenues Plan, even presented an innovation: the incorporation of the ideas of American urban planners, characterized by the City Beautiful movement […] and also by the most up-to-date ideas of that time, such as planning circulation and zoning laws" (Somekh, 1997, p. 139). In the theatre, the presence of North-American drama is irrefutable: authors such as Arthur Miller and O'Neill were frequently staged and were important for the preparation of Jorge Andrade's work.

25. "I'd say that the cultural entrepreneur of the 1940's and 1950's came close to what Fernando Henrique defines as an industry tycoon" (Ortiz, 1988, p. 57). This book provides an excellent overview of these issues during the period. A good narration of the precariousness of Chateaubriand's methods, when the Tupi TV station was inaugurated, can be found in Fernando Morais' book: "One month before D day, Walther Obermüller, an American engineer and director of NBC-TV came to Brazil to oversee the inauguration and the first few weeks of Tupi's operation […]. The American wanted to find out "how many thousand sets had been sold by the trade to the population of São Paulo". The two directors looked at each other and responded almost jointly: "None". Flabbergasted by this piece of news, Obermüller asked for a meeting with Chateaubriand, to warn the owner of the Associados [Newspaper Chain…]. Chateaubriand told him not to worry about that, because in Brazil there was a solution for everything" (1994, p. 500).

26. See Ortiz (1988, pp. 67-70) on the bourgeois nature of the investments, not necessarily on the presence of bourgeois orientation on the cultural plane. Antonio Candido (1980) contests, significantly, the idea that identifies cultural undertakings with the bourgeoisie.

27. The only major undertaking looked upon skeptically by the São Paulo intellectuals was MASP, given that Chateaubriand's methods for putting together the collection were considered to be questionable, at best. On the importance of Clima for São Paulo culture, see the excellent work of Heloísa Pontes (1998).

28. On São Paulo urban geography and the demographic phenomenon, the book organized by Aroldo de Azevedo (1958) and conceived of as a tribute to the city's 400th anniversary reflected a broad vision. People of Italian origin played a key role in the new initiatives. For a broad analysis of this immigration, see Trento (1989). For the participation of Italians in Brazilian theatre since the origins of the stagings produced by immigrants, see Silveira (1976). The participation of foreigners branched out into the field of criticism, as in the case of the central role of Anatol Rosenfeld and Jean-Claude Bernardet in São Paulo and, in Rio de Janeiro, of Otto Maria Carpeaux.

29. If constructing buildings can be a sure indicator of the standards of development of a given metropolis, the paces of São Paulo and Buenos Aires were close to that of New York, or even higher: "Whereas in New York one builds, every year, one house for every group of 423 inhabitants and in Buenos Aires for every 134, in São Paulo the average is 102". Therefore, "there appears to be no city that is its equal", evidently (Petrone, 1955, p. 167).

30. It was after the entire movement of historic avant-gardism – futurism, dada, surrealism, constructivism and the avant-garde groups of the newly-instated Soviet Union – that a radical and relentless battle against museums began. This struggle begins with demanding the end of the past through the semiological destruction of all traditional forms of representation and in defending future dictatorship. For the culture of manifestos […], museums were truly a plausible scapegoat" (Hyssen, 1997, p. 228).

31. "The new surge of industrial development alters the country's social and cultural profile: migration from the countryside into the cities rises and, in this process, rural tradition and the tradition of craftsmanship give way to urban culture and industrialization. It is in the dynamics of these changes that the advent of abstractionism occurs, in evident confrontation with the art that was then centered on representing man and his milieu", in "Abstrações (145-160)", Bienal Brasil, MAC archives.

32. "For its educational role, the modern museum should act upon the urban population, educating it so that it gains the esthetic and behavioral competence required for a country that intends to overcome the challenges of economic growth" (Parada, no date, p. 62).

33. "Chateaubriand had – in parallel with his fundamental impulses toward practical action – special regard for visual values, revealed through his interest, in his youth, in the landscapes of the northeast [of Brazil] and the 1952 article on the work of Tarsila, as well as his friendship for Visconti and a certain tenderness, later, for Portinari, [all of them painters], which culminated in his visits to museums throughout the world and in the aforementioned creation of MASP" (Barata, 1971, p. 103).

34. The allusion that Chateaubriand created MASP given his chain of communication vehicles can be found in Durand (1989) and Silveira (1983).

35. "The remarkable thing, in terms of the establishment of modern art institutions, was the implementation of museums in the post-war period […]. The inflow of resources, coming on one side from Assis Chateaubriand and on the other from Francisco Matarazzo Sobrinho, totally changed the Brazilian milieu" (Lourenço, 1990, p. 308). In his 1999 book, Lourenço presents a vision that covers a greater range of nuances regarding this issue.

36. "The cries for the creation of a Modern Art Museum became more intense among us, during the post-war period […]. An American model was adopted, this being, after all, a desirable cultural standard after the approximation with the United States, supported by the intellectuals, that understood it as indispensable for keeping [Brazil's president] Getúlio Vargas away from Nazi fascism, a strategy fully attained" (Lourenço, 1999, p. 19).

37. "The bourgeois public sphere that developed is based on the fictitious identity of private individuals gathered as an audience in their dual roles of owners and mere human beings" (Habermas, 1984, p. 74).



Maria Arminda do Nascimento Arruda is a professor at the Department of Sociology of the School of Philosophy, Languages, Literature and Humanities (FFLCH) of the University of São Paulo (USP).