70th Anniversary of the portrait of the writer Maria Oswald, by Irene Vilar

29 de January, 2024

Dated 1954, the bronze sculpture of the writer Maria de Castro Henriques Oswald (in the picture) was authored by Irene Vilar and belongs to the collection of the Soares dos Reis National Museum.


The sculpture, which is now 70 years old, reflects the connection that is often established between sculptors and intellectuals, an aspect that is notorious in the Soares dos Reis National Museum’s sculpture collection.


Such relationship had special significance in Irene Vilar’s work, as is clear from her portraits of poets, including Fernando Pessoa, Florbela Espanca and Cesário Verde.


This portrait of Maria Oswald belongs to an early phase in which Irene Vilar completed the Sculpture course at the Academia Portuense de Belas Artes, where she was a student of the master Barata Feyo and Dórdio Gomes.

In addition to being a writer, Maria Henrique Oswald was also a translator and an active collaborator to various publications of the time, such as Mocidade Portuguesa Feminina. It was a monthly bulletin, the organ of the Mocidade Portuguesa Feminina, founded by the New State (Estado Novo), and published monthly between 1939 and 1947, with the aim of affiliating the nationalist and Christian ideology to the “mentality of Portuguese girls”, as well as creating a “new woman”, emphasising the Christian sense in her life, namely in the household, family and society.


This publication featured several notable collaborations, including the names of Maria Guardiola, Maria Henriques Oswald, António Correia de Oliveira, Cottinelli Telmo, Diogo de Macedo, Fernanda de Castro and Domitila Carvalho.


Irene Vilar was born on December 11th 1930 in Matosinhos. Although she worked in different areas, it was sculptureing the field that Irene Vilar dedicated most of her life to.


She is the author of a varied, wide-ranging and rich body of work in the fields of sculpture, medal-making, numismatic, goldsmithing and painting, showcased in countless exhibitions (both solo and collective) and distinguished with several awards.