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1 Painting in Collection

Fani Bracher


(B. 1947) Brazil

Works in Select Public Collections

Museu de Arte, Belo Horizonte, Brazil; Museum of Contemporary Art of Campinas, Brazil; Federal University of Vicosa Art Gallery, Minas Gerais, Brazil

Selected Exhibitions

Lands of My Land, Thomas Jefferson House Gallery, U.S. Embassy, Asa Sul, Brazil, 2018

Thirty Artists from Minas Gerais, Galeria Vallourec Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil, 2018

Contemplation of Ouro Preto, Murilo Mendes Museum of Modern Art, Juiz de Fora, Minas Gerais, Brazil, 2017

Of Saints and Embroidery, Gremio Literario Tristao Art Gallery, Minas Gerais, Brazil, 2016

Women Artists in the Modernist Tradition, Boise Art Museum, Idaho, 2002

 Casa E Morros

Brazil of the New Millenium, Centro Ferroviario Gallery, Barbacena, Brazil. Traveled to Palacio das Artes, Belo Horizonte; Fundacao Cultural, Uberaba, Brazil, 2001

Mercoarte,  Juan Carlos Castagnino Arts Municipal Museum of Art, Mar Del Plata, Argentina. Traveled to OSSE, Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1999

Uncovered and Recovered: Women Artists in the Modernist Tradition, Sun Valley Museum of Art, Ketchum, ID, 1999

Casa E Morros

Uncovered and Recovered: Women Artists in the Modernist Tradition, Sun Valley Museum of Art, Ketchum, ID, 1999

Included Casa E Morros


Fani Bracher: Testimony by Jose Alberto Pinho Neves, C/Arte Editora 2001

Fani Bracher by Frederico Moraes and Ronald Polito, Published by Salamandra, Rio de Janerio, 1994

Other Resources

Artist studio site and tour:

Born 1947 Minas Gerais, Brazil

Fani Bracher, one of the youngest artists in Jeri Wolfson’s Modernist collection, has been a leader in Brazil’s art community for many decades. Her paintings take their inspiration from the land, its colors and shapes, that she then reduces to moody geometric forms. Over the years her practice has broadened to include assemblage, fiber work and sculpture.

Bracher grew up on an experimental farm in a small community where her father worked as a botanist. She experienced a fairly solitary childhood where she came to respect the mystery and strength of the land around her home. Although she received a degree in journalism from the Federal University of Juiz de Fora she never engaged the degree. Instead she began to paint in her early twenties after meeting Carlos Bracher, a fellow artist. Although she never had any formal art training, Fani Bracher’s eye for form and color combined with broad exposure to the work of other visual artists cultivated a specific stylistic path.

In 1968 she married Carlos Bracher and for the next two years the couple traveled throughout Europe, returning to Paris to live for a year (1969-1970). During this time, Bracher took art history courses and was actively visiting art academies and museums. The work of the Fauves and the Nabis made particular impression on both the Brachers at this time. The reduction of form to flat, simple shapes and the synthesis of nature became essential elements of Fani’s work. The couple also traveled to the United States where they saw the work of many early American modernists and attended a Milton Avery exhibition in Washington, D.C.

Modernism came to Brazil in the 1920s as a result of the coffee trade that made Sao Paulo a vibrant economic center. The movement was championed by a group of five artists who had had significant exposure to European modernists: painters Anita Malfatti and Tarsila do Amaral and writers Menotti Del Picchia, Oswald de Andrade, and Mário de Andrade. As a group their political differences soon divided them but they did successfully coalesce an exhibition and week long celebration in 1922 that broadly communicated the innovative approach of Modernism. While some Brazilian artists pressed for a uniquely Brazilian interpretation of modernist ideals, many artists, like the Brachers found artistic inspiration within and beyond the country’s borders. For artists of their generation the establishment of the first São Paulo Bienal in 1951 also increased the visibility of contemporary European art.

Fani Bracher’s early work from the 1970s incorporates European and American modernist influences with her innate appreciation for the landscape and the tonalities of her Brazilian home. Like many early modernists, in Casa E Morros (House and Hills), Bracher simplifies the landscape to geometric forms and flat planes. While she does not embrace the Nabis’ use of vibrant color, she extracts from them her use of saturated color, flat surfaces and simple contours. Like other European and American modernists, Bracher looks to nature as a vehicle for self-exploration, emotional expression and spiritual nourishment. In Casa E Morros diffuse impressions of a pastoral scene are rendered through simple forms and soft tones. The lush landscape of her childhood was the early subject of Bracher’s work and, more than likely, this is a remembrance of that landscape. Later the grays of mining predominate her palette and the works become more compressed, somber.

In 1971 the Brachers moved to Ouro Preto, a colonial mining town located in the mountains of eastern Brazil, which remains their home today. Bracher’s paintings are deeply informed by this landscape and the emotions, colors and textures of a place where the elements of the land are primary. There are few people in Bracher’s canvases, instead clouds, stones, trees and mountains dominant.

In 1975 Bracher receives the prize for painting in the National Plastic Arts Competition in Goiânia and at the National Art Exhibition at the Museum of Art of Belo Horizonte. Her first solo exhibition takes place in 1977 at the Federal University of Vicosa. Throughout the late 1970s and 1980s her paintings continue to receive awards and she exhibits in museums and competitions in Brazil, Argentina and Japan.

Bracher’s paintings from the 1980s become more abstracted, less clearly linked to landscape. A darker, more autumnal palette remained her preference for many years. She relied on ocher, browns and grays to create form and space. Bracher’s forms are contained—outlined with heavy black lines, emphasizing their abstract nature and adding to a sense of foreboding. In the early 2000s, Bracher began a series of paintings of monumental bone and rock-like forms where square, stark, dark shapes rise up from a simple flat plane.

Unlike the American and European modernists who tend to celebrate nature, Bracher’s interpretations of the land are darker. Her landscape is sometimes imposing, silent, empty. In part this isolation and stillness may be a reflection of her desire to not embellish but to respect the forms as they present themselves. She recently reflected back on her work:
I was five years painting mining, that region between Conselheiro Lafaiete and Congonhas do Campo. Afterwards, came a season painting stones, which was more or less still within the mining areas (...) I am perfectly aware of my impotence in the face of these upturned mines. mining, stones, cactus, clouds and bones - these are themes that have no adornments or adornments - they contain beauty within themselves.

In the monograph, Fani Bracher, critic Frederico Moraes underscores Bracher’s restrained approach: In general her painting has been economical, severe, informal. The form, closed, does not allow for the spilling of matter, the structure does not dissolve itself in graphic informality. Gestures are contained, color is curbed. Her main themes—mountains, stones, trees, clouds—after being explored in their symbolic dimension, are reduced to other visual signs, in meta-compositions which are, plastically, enticing.

Fani Bracher is now in her eighth decade and she continues to make art. She and her husband have established a studio and museum near Ouro Preto that showcases their work.

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