In the 1920s and 1930s in São Paulo, psychiatrist Osório César’s publications and collaborations with avant-garde artists such as Flávio de Carvalho had profound effects on discussions of modern art and creativity, and his patients’ creative production was summoned as an example of how to move beyond academic conventions in art. This chapter discusses César’s seminal volume A expressão artística nos alienados: Contribuição para o estudo dos símbolos na arte (The artistic expression of the alienated: Contribution to the study of symbols in art), as well as his reception of the work of Sigmund Freud and Hans Prinzhorn. It also analyzes the exhibition Mês das crianças e dos loucos (The Month of Children and the Mad, 1933), organized by César and Carvalho at the Clube dos Artistas Modernos in São Paulo. This was the first exhibition to include psychiatric patients’ work in a modern art venue in Brazil. The chapter speaks to the exhibition’s uniqueness through comparisons with other contemporaneous exhibitions, including Fantastic Art, Dada, and Surrealism (1936) Entartete Kunst (Degenerate art, 1937), and the fourth Exposition internationale du surréalisme (1938).
Keywords: Osório César, Hans Prinzhorn, Sigmund Freud, Mês das crianças e dos loucos, degenerate art, Clube dos Artistas Modernos (CAM), Flávio de Carvalho, patient-artists, madness and mental illness
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