Eugénio Moreira: ‘one of Portugal’s greatest landscape painters’

20 de February, 2024

Eugénio Moreira was an artist from the second generation of naturalists, although he was practically ignored during his lifetime. He died in February 1913, aged just 42, from mental illness.


Eugénio Moreira was honoured posthumously in an exhibition organised by his nephew, Fernando Ferrão Moreira, at the Ateneu Comercial do Porto (1956).


The Soares dos Reis National Museum has three canvases by him: an unfinished self-portrait, in which the painter depicts himself half-body, with palette and brushes and a saddened face; and his two most praised works: the landscape Vale de Penacova (pictured), which was exhibited at the Great Exhibition of Northern Portugal in 1933 and at the 1st Retrospective Art Exhibition (1880-1933) of the National Fine Arts Society in 1937; and the portrait Ferreirinha, exhibited in Lisbon in 1937.

Eugénio Moreira was born in Porto in 1871. He attended the Oporto Medical and Surgical School (1892-1895) and then transferred to the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Coimbra. In this city he socialised with the Boémia Nova group, maintaining friendly relations with the Porto writers António Nobre (1867-1900), Alberto de Oliveira (1873-1940) and, in particular, with Agostinho de Campos (1870-1944). He returned to Porto without having finished his degree, enrolling at the Academia Portuense de Belas Artes, where he never graduated.


He lived in Paris for a few years, where he attended the Julien Academy and the Décluse Academy. He was a disciple of Jean Paul Laurens (1838-1921) and Benjamin Constant (1845-1902) and was influenced by painters from the Impressionist, Fauvist and Nabis movements. He visited Italian museums and temples, recording his impressions in travel guides.


Back in Portugal, he studied Portuguese landscapes and figures. He travelled through Minho, especially the Vila Praia de Âncora area, and Vale de Penacova in Beira, stopping off in the lands of the Mondego. In 1907 he exhibited at the studio of the sculptor Fernandes de Sá, his friend.


In 1955, Abel Salazar referred to the painter in this way: “Eugénio Moreira, the unsuccessful author of “Vale de Penacova” is, with Henrique Pousão, the greatest of Portuguese landscape painters. Between the two there are differences in quality, not in value: they are two visions, but equally elevated.”


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