134º Anniversary of birth of Heitor Cramez

1 de December, 2023

1 December is the anniversary of the birth of Heitor Cramez, an artist from Trás-os-Montes by birth and from Porto by adoption. His works include portraits and landscapes, but it was as a drawing teacher that he made a valuable contribution to the renewal of academic teaching.


Heitor Cramez was born in Vila Real in 1889 and came to Porto in 1905 to attend the School of Fine Arts, where his most outstanding teachers were José de Brito, in Drawing, and Marques de Oliveira, in Painting. He always got good marks and the contributions of his teachers emphasised his work, especially the correctness of his drawing.


Among his fellow students, Joaquim Lopes (in the picture opposite, in a portrait by Heitor Cramez), his future teaching colleague at the same school, Diogo de Macedo, a lifelong friend and part of the group of artists with whom he lived in Paris, as well as Armando de Basto, should be highlighted. When he finished his studies, he won a scholarship to continue his studies in Paris as a state pensioner, which only materialised after the end of the First World War.


He enrolled at the School of Fine Arts, where he was taught by Cormon and frequented the circle of Portuguese artists who were in that city in the 1920s, some of whom, on their return to Portugal, would play an important role in renewing the national art scene. Artists such as Francisco Franco, Manuel Jardim, Abel Manta, Diogo de Macedo and Dórdio Gomes were his friends and associates. He would always maintain a friendly relationship with the latter, which was later strengthened when they both moved to Porto, where they taught at the School of Fine Arts.

After returning from Paris, Heitor Cramez taught for a few years at the Technical School in Vila Real and later at the Soares dos Reis School of Decorative Arts in Porto. In 1948 he joined the city’s School of Fine Arts as a Drawing teacher, a position he held until his jubilee in 1959.


It was in this context that Cramez’s contribution to artistic evolution, especially in Porto, proved most valuable, because he belonged to a generation of teachers whose activity led to the renewal of academic teaching, training generations of new artists in more modern moulds and with greater openness to new currents and forms of expression.


Heitor Cramez’s work is varied, but his portraits, of an intimate nature, and landscapes, in which the mountains of Trás-os-Montes predominate, reflect his roots, of which he was so proud, stand out. His stay in Paris and his interaction with the aforementioned artists could not fail to influence his work. Demanding and modest about his work, Heitor Cramez took part in few exhibitions, confining himself almost exclusively to Porto.


Heitor Cramez’s work is mainly in private collections, both in Portugal and France, which makes it little known to the general public.


He died in Mira, Coimbra, on 30 August 1967.