Beatriz Milhazes

Brazil 1960


Beatriz Milhazes
Beatriz Milhazes
May 19, 2016

Beatriz Milhazes is an artist from Rio de Janeiro known for her vibrant and colorful collages, prints, paintings and installations. Her artworks are rooted in Latin American and European traditions, yet she mixes the elements of both cultures in a quite innovative way. Her precise, meticulous pieces feature sets of arabesque motifs inspired by Brazilian ceramics, carnival decoration, laceworks, and baroque architecture. Milhazes is seeking for interesting geometrical structures in the world around her, in her daily surroundings, and even the rhythms of Brazilian popular music influence the energy of her lines as well as her circular and floral forms.

2015 rio museum janeiro new york
Beatriz Milhazes – Love and Peace, 2015

Milhazes’ Work as a Sign of Cultural Mixing

Milhazes was born in Rio de Janeiro in 1960 and before dedicating herself to fine arts, she was a social  communication student at Faculdades Integradas Helio Alonso. In 1980, she enrolled at the School of Visual Arts, where she showed a strong interest in the principles of collage. Her interest in collage is closely related to her curiosity and knowledge of both Latin American and European art and her style mixes various influenced from both Brazil and the Old World. In addition to the cultural mixing, Milhazes is fascinated with the decorative arts, fashion, and geometry. She is an innovative artist who likes go off the beaten path and she has developed her own processes of art making back in the 1980s, after the careful research of various printing procedures.

Milhazes shows her fascination with the decorative and digital arts

2016 rio museum janeiro new york gallery
Beatriz Milhazes – Dalia Purpura, 2016

Important Influences

There is a careful balance of order and chaos in Milhazes’s pieces which reveals the influence of the 20th-century painters from Brazil and the United States, such as Tarsila do Amaral and Donald Sultan, as well as the great masters of contemporary art, such as Henri Matisse and Wassily Kandinsky. Milhazes claims that her work often explores the concept of conflict. Those vibrant, almost aggressive colors that she combines with a variety of unusual forms create strong dialogues and challenging, dynamic compositions that can’t be easily categorized. The artist also works with circular shape, suggesting concentric movements and spatial disorientation. The tension that clearly exists in Milhazes’s projects is not only between figuration and abstraction but also between the various influences mixed in her work. I am a painter and I speak an international language, but my interest is in things and behaviors that can only be found in Brazil, the artist claims.

There is a careful balance of order and chaos in Milhazes’s work which reveals the influence of the 20th-century painters from Brazil and the United States

Beatriz Milhazes 2010 2014 gallery
Beatriz Milhazes – Blue Baloon, 2010 (Left) / Tropical Summer, 2014 (Right)

Complex Processes of Beatriz Milhazes

At the end of the day, technique is very important in the context of my work, Milhazes said in one of her interviews from 2008. She worked with collage early in her career by creating mixed media pieces consisting of fabrics inserted into paintings. In the late 1980s, she started creating  complex projects made of various geometric shapes and arabesques by painting the contours of these motifs on a transparent plastic sheet which is then applied to the canvas and left to dry. After the artist peels the plastic away, the final image is transferred onto the canvas, even through some parts of it might get lost during the transfer. This process also explains why there are identical shapes that appear in different paintings. The graphic and chromatic exuberance of Milhazes’ works is truly puzzling because it treads a fine line between the careful deliberation and chance.  Her images often look like dazzling explosions of colors, but their precise compositions prevent them from falling apart . No matter the strong tension between various elements found  in Milhazes’ art , her paintings are still quite coherent.

Milhazes’ work treads a fine line between the careful deliberation and chance

Beatriz Milhazes - Water Dreaming, 2013
Beatriz Milhazes – Water Dreaming, 2013

Reinventing the Usual Modernism

Milhazes’ pieces are often considered new abstract with a twist, because of her unusual techniques and Brazilian folk references that she incorporates into her pieces. These Brazilian references which are related to the use of vibrant colors and various shapes are associated with the poorest part of the country and they were assumed to be of little value to the intellectuals and artists. However, Milhazes’ work has shown that this is not entirely true and that even the social elite of her native country respects some traditional values and aesthetics. Milhazes’ work is highly esteemed by art critiques and it is included in the most prestigious gallery exhibits and international collections, such as the Solomon R. Guggenheim museum, The Metropolitan and Carnegie museum, to name a few.

Beatriz Milhazes lives and works in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Featured image: The artist’s portrait – image via
All other images courtesy of

YearExhibition TitleGallery/MuseumSolo/Group
2016Beatriz MilhazesPlinth Gallery Pop-Up, LondonGroup
2015Beatriz MilhazesJames Cohan, New YorkSolo
2015MultiplosTNT Arte, Rio De JaneiroGroup
2014Beatriz Milhazes. Jardim BotanicoPerez Art Museum, Miami, USASolo
2014Cool Place. Sammlung ScharpffKunstmuseum Stuttgart, Stuttgart, GermanyGroup
2014The Fifth SeasonJames Cohan Gallery, New York, USAGroup
2014Beauty Reigns: A Baroque Sensibility in Recent PaintingThe McNay Museum, San Antonio, USAGroup
2014Inventario da PaixaoMuseo Histórico National, Rio de Janeiro, BrazilGroup
2014Unbound: Contemporary Art After Frida KahloMuseum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Chicago, USAGroup
2014Cruzamentos: Contemporary Art in BrazilWexner Center for the Arts, Ohio, USAGroup
2013Back HomePaco Imperial, Rio de Janeiro; traveling to Museum Oscar Niemeyer (MON), CuritibaSolo
2012Panamericano, Beatriz Milhazes - Pinturas 1999 - 2012MALBA-Fundacion Costantini, Buenos AiresSolo
2012Gravuras- Acervo Pinacoteca do Estado de São PauloCAIXA Cultural, Rio de JaneiroGroup
2012Mulheres nas colecoes Joao Sattamini e MAC de NiteróiMuseu de Arte Contemporanea de Niteroi, Niteroi, Rio de JaneiroGroup
2012Gravura Brasileira no acervo da Pinacoteca de São Paulo - 100 Anos de HistóriaPinacoteca do Estado de Sao Paulo, Sao PauloGroup
2012Joaillier des ArtsFondation Cartier pour l’Art Contemporain, ParisGroup
2012Eco ArtCentro Municipal de Cultura Dr. Henrique Ordovás Filho, Caxias do SulGroup
2012Beatriz MilhazesFundacao Calouste Gulbenkians, LisboaGroup
2011Whitechapel GalleryThe Gallery at Windsor, Vero BeachSolo
2011Beatriz MilhazesGalerie Max Hetzler, BerlinSolo
2011Beatriz MilhazesFondation Beyeler, BaselSolo
2011Mathematiques, un depaysement soudainFondation Cartier pour l’Art Contemporain, ParisGroup
2011Vestígios de BrasilidadeSantander Cultural, RecifeGroup
2011A Giant by Thine Own NatureIVAM - Institut Valencià d'Art Modern, ValenciaGroup
2011Mulheres, Artistas e BrasileirasPalácio do Planalto, Praça dos Três PoderesGroup
2010Beatriz MilhazesStephen Friedman Gallery, LondonSolo
201040Texas Gallery, Houston TXGroup
2010Banners of Persuasion. Demons, Yarns & Tales: Tapestries by Contemporary ArtistsJames Cohan Gallery, New YorkGroup
2009Beatriz MilhazesFondation Cartier, Paris, FranceSolo
2009When Lives Become FormMuseum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, JapanGroup
2008Beatriz MilhazesJames Cohan Gallery, New York, NYSolo
2008RetrospectivePinacoteca do Estacao, Sao Paolo, BrazilSolo
2008Prospect .1New Orleans, New Orleans, LAGroup
2008Beatriz MilhazesMarty Walker Gallery, Dallas, TXGroup
2008The Tropics. Views from the Middle of the GlobeMartin Gropius Bau, Berlin, GermanyGroup
2007Beatriz MilhazesGalerie Fortes Vilaca, Sao Paolo, BrasilSolo
2007Beatriz Milhazes, New PrintsJames Cohan Gallery, New York, NYSolo
2007Beatriz MilhazesPinacoteca do Estado de Sao Paulo, BrazilSolo
2007Itau Contemporaneo – Arte no Brasil de 1981 a 2006Itau Cultural, Sao Paulo, BrazilGroup
200780-90 Modernos Pós Modernos, etcInstituto Tome Ohtake, Sáo Paulo, BrazilGroup
2007What is Painting? Contemporary Art from the CollectionMuseum of Modern Art, New YorkGroup
2007Cardinal Points-Puntos Cardinales: A Survey of Contemporary Latino and Latin American Art from the Sprint Nextel Art CollectionMid-America Arts Alliance, Kansas City, MissouriGroup
2007Exposicao Comemorativa de 70 Anos do IPHANMinisterio da CulturaGroup
2006Beatriz MilhazesGalerie Max Hetzler, Berlin, GermanySolo
2006Beatriz MilhazesEspacio 1414, San Juan, Puerto RicoSolo
2006Domaine de KerguehennecCentre d’Art Contemporain, Bignan, FranceGroup
2006Sem TituloMuseu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo- Grande Sala, SP, BrazilGroup
2006Shanghai BiennaleShanghai Art Museum, ShanghaiGroup
2006POPulenceSoutheastern Center for Contemporary Art, Winston-Salem, NCGroup
2006Betweeen Art and Life: The Contemporary Painting and Sculpture CollectionSan Francisco Museum of Art, San Francisco, CAGroup
2006E HOJE na Arte Brasiliera ContemporâneaCentro Cultural do Santander Banespa, Rio de Janeiro, BrazilGroup
2006Since 2000: Printmaking NowMuseum of Modern Art, New York, NYGroup
2006Off the Shelf: New forms in Contemporary Artists’ BooksFrances Lehman Loeb Art Center, Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, New YorkGroup
2006Los Usos de la Pintura IIEspacio 1414, San Juan, Puerto RicoGroup
2006Beatriz MilhazesGalerie Max Hetzler, Berlin-Mitte, GermanyGroup
2006Los Usos de la Pintura IIEspacio 1414, San Juan, Puerto RicoGroup
2005Beatriz MilhazesMuseu de Arte da Pampulha, Mezanino out-nov Belo Horizonte MG, Brazil, LagoaSolo
2005Beatriz MilhazesStephen Friedman Gallery, Londres, GBSolo
2005JoaStephen Friedman Gallery, London, UKGroup
2005Print Publisher’s Spotlight: Durham PressBarbara Krakow Gallery, Boston, MAGroup
2005POPulenceBlaffer Gallery – The Art Museum of The University of Houston, Texas, USAGroup
2005Flower Myth - Van Gogh to Jeff KoonsFoundation Beyeler, Basel, SuíçaGroup
2004Meu PrazerGaleria Fortes Vilaça, São Paulo, BrasilSolo
2004Meu PrazerGaleria Fortes Vilaca, Sao Paulo, BrazilSolo
2004SummertimeJames Cohan Gallery, New York, NYSolo
2004Gavea, Projeto Brasil 40ºDesenho para a fachada da loja de departamentos Selfridges & Co, Manchester, GBGroup
2004Moma at el Museo -Latin American and Caribbean art from the Collection of the Museum of Modern ArtEl Museo del Bairro, Nova York, USAGroup
2004XXVI Bienal Internacional de São PauloSão Paulo, BrasilGroup
2004The Encounters in the 21st Century: Polyphony - Emerging Resonances21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa, JapãoGroup
2004Ice Hot Recent Painting from the Scharpff CollectionHamburger Kunstalle, Staatsgalerie Stuttgart, Hamburg GermanyGroup
2004Estrategias Barrocas – Arte Contemporanea BrasileiraCentro Cultural Metropolitano de Quito, EquadorGroup
2004Natureza-Morta-Still LifeGaleria de Arte do Centro Cultural SESI, São PauloGroup
2004Flower as Image-From Monett to Jeff KoonsLouisiana Museum, DinamarkGroup
2004Polyphony: Emerging Resonances21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, JapanGroup
2004The Flower as ImageLouisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebæk, DenmarkGroup
2003Domaine de KerguehennecCentre d’Art Contemporain, Bignan, FranceSolo
2003Beatriz MilhazesDomaine de Kerguéhennec-Centre d'Art Contemporain, Bignan, FrançaSolo
2003Beatriz MilhazesGalerie Max Hetzler, Berlin, AlemanhaSolo
2003Brazilian PavilionBiennale Internazionale d’ Arte, Veneza, ItaliaGroup
2002Beatriz MilhazesStephen Friedman Gallery, London, GBSolo
2002Mares do SulCentro Cultural Banco do Brasil, Rio de Janeiro, BrasilSolo
2002Artist’s Book ProjectMuseum of Modern Art, New York, EUASolo
2002Urgent paintingMusee d'Art Moderne de La Ville de Paris, FranceGroup
2001Beatriz MilhazesIkon Gallery, Birmingham, GBSolo
2001Beatriz MilhazesBirmingham Museum of Art, Alabama, EUASolo
2001Beatriz MilhazesGaleria Elba Benitez, Madrid, SpainSolo
2001Beatriz MilhazesGaleria Pedro Cera, Lisbon, PortugalSolo
2001HybridsTate Liverpool, UKGroup
2001Viva a Arte BrasileiraMuseu de Arte Moderna do Rio de Janeiro, BrazilGroup
2000Beatriz MilhazesEdward Thorp Gallery, New York, NYSolo
2000Beatriz MilhazesGaleria Camargo Vilaca, Sao Paulo, BrasilSolo
2000Projects 70Museum of Modern Art, New York, USAGroup
2000FaiccionesMuseo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid, SpainGroup
1999Beatriz MilhazesStephen Friedman Gallery, London, EnglandSolo
1999Transvanguarda Latino AmericanaCulturguest, Lisbon, PortugalGroup
1998Beatriz MilhazesAnna Niemeyer, Rio de Janeiro, BrazilSolo
1998Beatriz MilhazesGalerie Nathalie Obadia, Paris, FranceSolo
1998Beatriz MilhazesPaco Imperial, Rio de Janeiro, BrazilSolo
1998XXIV Bienal Internacional de São PauloSão Paulo, BrazilGroup
1998Biennale of SydneySydney, AustraliaGroup
1997Beatriz Milhazes, 1989-1993Museo Alfredo Andersen, Curitiba, BrazilSolo
1997Beatriz MilhazesEdward Thorp Gallery, New York, NYSolo
1997Decorative StrategiesCenter for Curatorial Studies Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, USAGroup
1997Group ShowKunstmuseum, Heidenheim, GermanyGroup
1997Abstract Painting, Once RemovedContemporary Arts Museum, Houston, USAGroup
1996Beatriz MilhazesEdward Thorp Gallery, New York, NYSolo
1996Beatriz MilhazesGaleria Camargo Vilaca, Sao Paulo, Brazil, catalogueSolo
1996Theories of the DecorativeBaumgarther Galleries Inc., Washington DC, USAGroup
1995Beatriz MilhazesDorothy Goldeen Gallery, Los Angeles, CASolo
1995Projecto FinepPaco Imperial, Rio de Janeiro, BrazilGroup
1995Carnegie International,The Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, PAGroup
1994Beatriz MilhazesAna Maria Niemayer Galeria, Rio de Janeiro, BrazilSolo
1993Beatriz MilhazesGaleria Camargo Vilaça, São Paulo, Brazil, catalogueSolo
1991Beatriz MilhazesSubdistrito Comercial de Arte, São Paulo, Brazil, catalogueSolo
1990Beatriz MilhazesGaleria Saramenha, Rio de Janeiro, BrazilSolo
1989Beatriz MilhazesPasárgada Arte Contemporânea, Recife, BrazilSolo
1989Bienal International de CuencasCuencas, EcuadorGroup
1988Beatriz MilhazesGaleria Suzana Sassoum, São Paulo, BrazilSolo
1987Beatriz MilhazesGaleria Cesar Ache, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, catalogueSolo
1985Beatriz MilhazesGaleria Cesar Ache, Rio de Janeiro, BrazilSolo