De Castro

b. 1926
- d. 1988
  • Brazil
Turnover 2023
$USD 15.532
Record Sale
$USD 359.000

Willys de Castro’s artistic journey brought him to São Paulo in 1941, where he received instruction in drawing under André Fort’s tutelage. Between 1944 and 1945, he delved into the world of technical draughtsmanship and, in 1948, he successfully graduated in Industrial Chemistry. It was during this period that he unveiled his inaugural forays into the realm of painting.

The year 1950 marked the commencement of his apprenticeship in graphic arts, ushering in his first ventures into abstract-geometric paintings and drawings. Subsequently, in the early 1950s, he crafted his earliest abstract-geometric drawings, gradually evolving into works imbued with concretist themes starting in 1953. In 1954, he co-established a graphic design studio alongside Hércules Barsotti and actively participated in the Ars Nova movement. His innovative concrete-visual poems took center stage at the Teatro Brasileiro de Comédia – TBC, and he played a pivotal role in founding the Novas Tendências group. Notably, he co-founded the magazine Teatro Brasileiro in 1955 and extended his creative talents to set design, costume design, and theatrical productions for the Teatro de Arena and the Teatro Cultura Artística.

Recognition swiftly followed as he received an award from the São Paulo Association of Theater Critics in 1957. During this time, he also served as a technical advisor for the magazine Vértice. His creative journey took him on a study expedition to Europe in 1958, and upon his return in 1959, he aligned himself with the Neo-Concrete Group in Rio de Janeiro, alongside notable figures like Hércules Barsotti, Ferreira Gullar, Weissmann, and Lygia Clark. In the following year, back in Brazil, he rejoined the Neo-Concrete Group and unveiled his inaugural solo exhibition at the Galeria de Arte da Folha de S. Paulo.

Willys de Castro played an integral role as a member of the jury for the Organizing Committee of the Salão Paulista de Arte Moderna in 1959 and participated in the Konkrete Kunst exhibition in Zurich in 1960. The early 1960s witnessed his active involvement with the Artistic Council of the Galeria de Arte da Folha and Unesco’s Association Internationale des Arts Plastiques in Paris. His dedication to his craft led to the co-founding of the Brazilian Association of Industrial Design and the New Trends group.

In the mid-1960s, from 1966 to 1967, Willys de Castro ventured into designing prints for fabrics geared towards industrial production. The early 1960s marked the inception of his “Active Objects” series, an exploration of plane and volume as pivotal plastic elements, challenging the conventional use of canvas as a medium for pictorial language. During this time, he was also part of the Artistic Council of the Galeria de Artes das Folhas and the Association Internationale des Arts Plastiques of Unesco, Paris. 
Transitioning into the 1980s, Willys de Castro delved into research concerning constructions using wood, metal, stainless steel, and other materials. This period gave rise to his “Pluriobjects,” characterized by their effects of color and movement. In 2001, the Willys de Castro Room was inaugurated at the Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo, exhibiting 43 of the artist’s works, encompassing drawings, engravings, and paintings. Willys de Castro’s contributions to the world of art continue to shine brightly, leaving an indelible mark on the tapestry of artistic expression.


Record Sale

Willys de Castro (1926-1988)
Objeto Ativo: Duo (1966)


Acrylic, vinyl/wood
36 x 3 x 5 cm

New York NY, United States
Latin American Art Modern & Contemporary
25 nov 2014

Lot # 32
Hammer price: $ 295,000
Price including buyer’s premium: $ 359,000
Estimate: $ 40,000 – $ 60,000

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