b. 1900
- d. 1934
  • Brazil
Turnover 2023
$USD 22.380
Record Sale
$USD 6.000.000
Categories & tags

Ismael Nery attended the National School of Fine Arts (Enba) around 1915-1916, although he didn’t adapt well to the academic nature of the program. During this period, he copied sculptures from the Greco-Roman antiquity in plaster, developing a fascination with the human figure, which became a central theme in his artistic explorations. In 1920, Nery traveled to Paris to study, spending three months at the Académie Julian.

During this time, his work began to show expressive influences, characterized by a personal dramatic style that would define his oeuvre. In Europe, he encountered modernism and the works of artists like Picasso, Braque, Lhote, Léger, and Metzinger. He engaged with the European art tradition, including Italian Renaissance masters and German Expressionism. Returning to Brazil in 1921, Nery became a draftsman at the National Heritage Directorate’s Architecture and Topography section. There he met Murilo Mendes, who played a significant role in preserving Nery’s legacy. Mendes deeply understood Nery’s philosophical system, Essencialismo, which centered on the abstraction of time and space and the spiritual essence of humanity.

In 1924, Nery adopted a more geometric treatment of figures, using cylinders and oval forms. Around 1926, Nery introduced his doctrine of Essencialismo to friends, a set of principles rooted in his Christian humanism. In 1927, he traveled to Europe with his wife and mother, encountering artists like Heitor Villa-Lobos and André Breton. After his encounter with Marc Chagall, surrealism became more pronounced in Nery’s work, making him a pioneer of the movement in Brazil. However, because of his internationalist spirit, Nery’s work wasn’t widely recognized during his lifetime. He continued to paint despite his battle with tuberculosis, with his later works reflecting the disease’s impact. Ismael Nery passed away in 1934. Today, Nery is known as one of the foremost artists of his generation, recognized for his spiritual and Catholic figurative approach amidst the modernist landscape.

Public Collections

Museu Nacional de Belas Artes (MNBA-RJ), Museu de Arte Moderna do Rio de Janeiro (MAM-RJ),
Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo (PESP) and International center for the arts of the americas at the museum of fine arts.


Auction Results

Ismael Nery
Cortesã, 1926

Oil on cardboard.
36 x 27 cm.

Bolsa de Arte São Paulo
May 21, 1997
Lot #087

Hammer price: $ 225.700 USD
Buyer’s premium: $ 236.985 USD
Estimate: R$ 290.289 – $387.045 USD


Auction Record

Ismael Nery
Figura de mulher, 1929

Oil on cardboard
38 x 46.4 cm

Bolsa de Arte São Paulo
Auction: July 6, 2010
Lot #093

Hammer price $ 842.696 USD
Buyer’s premium: $ 884.830 USD

Estimate: $ 290.299 – $387.045 USD


Private Sale

Ismael Nery
Mulher com ramo de flores

Oil on canvas
60 x 50cm

Purchased from Private collection Brasilia – 2015
Price: $6.000.000 USD


Other works

42 cm x
47 cm
Latest price

$USD 6000000

60 cm x
50 cm


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