Work of the Week: Ione Saldanha’s ‘Sem título (Untitled)’

The artist’s auction record was set in 2022 for a 1960 "Bambus" that sculpture sold for $34,856.

Ione Saldanha, Sem título (Untitled) (1966). Courtesy of Salon 94.

Work of the Week is excerpted from The Back Room, our lively recap funneling only the week’s must-know art industry intel into a nimble read you’ll actually enjoy. Artnet News Pro members get exclusive access—subscribe now to receive this in your inbox every Friday.

The late Brazilian artist Ione Saldanha’s installation of hanging bamboo pole paintings, “Bambus” (1960–70s), are a historical highlight of the Central Pavilion at the 60th Venice Biennale, curated by Adriano Pedroso. Meanwhile, Salon 94’s exhibition, “The Time and the Color,” marks the artist’s first ever solo show in the U.S. The New York exhibition features not just the artist’s iconic sculptural bamboo works, but also a wide range of paintings, from her earlier cityscapes to late-career abstractions.

Included is this 1966 painting, Sem título (Untitled), which is part of a series that complemented a suite of sculptures in bamboo created between 1965–67. The bands of form in Sem título are striking combinations of color that merge vernacular Brazilian art with modernist abstraction. The paintings in this series are not documentation of the related sculptures; instead, they are meant to “destabilize hierarchies across the disciplines of painting and sculpture received from Western Europe,” said Salon 94’s managing director Andrew Blackley.

an installation of painted bamboo sticks in a museum

“Bambus” by Brazilian artist Ione Saldanha in the central pavilion during the pre-opening of the Venice Biennale art show, on April 16, 2024 in Venice. Photo: Gabriel Bouys / AFP via Getty Images.

Born in 1919 in Alegrete, the artist lived and worked in Rio de Janeiro until her death in 2001. Largely overlooked despite being a pioneering artist of her era, Saldanha’s secondary market remains slim, with just 22 transactions recorded in the Artnet Price Database. The artist’s auction record was set in 2022 for a 1960 “Bambus” sculpture sold for $34,856, including fees, at the São Paulo-based auction house Bolsa de Arte. The sale followed a 2021 retrospective at the São Paulo Museum of Art (MASP), organized by Pedrosa.

Follow Artnet News on Facebook:

Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.
  • Access the data behind the headlines with the artnet Price Database.