ROSEGALLERY is pleased to present Retratos Pintados, a collection of hand-painted vernacular photographs from Northeastern Brazil, on view 12 March through 30 April, 2011.
Accumulated over a period of fifteen years by historian, Titus Riedl, these distinct and striking portraits represent a stunning inventory of localized Brazilian photo-painting techniques from the early 1940’s through the 1990’s. Unique within the history of photographic portraiture, retratos pintados are defined by the bold, flat fields of color that merge the reality of the original photograph with an idealized vision of the individuals and families depicted in them. Brazilian photo-painters enhanced each portrait to match the wishes of their clientele by smoothing out their skin, augmenting their hair, giving them finer clothes than they were able to afford, and by adding jewelry where none existed. In some cases deceased family members were painted as if alive, and absent loved ones were added into group portraits to create lasting mementos of complete family units. The literal truth of the black and white photograph was surrendered to a poetic and lyrical final portrait.