Biography





"What interests me is what you see from afar, space, not time."


Manuel Amado, interviewed by Marta Ferreira dos Reis,
Jornal Público, November 15th, 2007



With a long career that dates back to the late 50s, Manuel Amado is one of the most important Portuguese painters of his generation. His work is featured in countless public and private collections, namely Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, Fundação Centro Cultural de Belém, Fundação Champalimaud, Fundação Cupertino de Miranda, Fundação D.Luís I, Fundação das Casas de Fronteira e Alorna, Fundação EDP, Fundação Galp Energia, Fundação Grupo Santander, Fundação Millennium bcp, Fundação Oriente, Fundação Portugal Telecom / Altice Portugal, Banco de Bilbao y Vizcaya, BNU MACAU, Caixa Geral de Depósitos, Canary Wharf Group, Euronext Lisboa, Fundo Monetário de Macau, Novo Banco, Centro Nacional de Cultura, Museu Berardo, Museu da Tapeçaria de Portalegre, Museu de Lisboa / EGEAC, Museu de Setúbal / Convento de Jesus, Museu de Tomar / Doação José Augusto França, Museu Nacional do Teatro e da Dança.
And abroad:  Fundação Jacqeline Vodoz e Bruno Danese - Milão, Itália, e Fundación Antonio Pérez - Centro de Arte Contemporáneo - Cuenca, Espanha.


1938 - 1944
Manuel António Sotto-Mayor da Silva Amado is born on June 13th, in Lisbon, the fourth of seven children born to writer and theatre man Fernando Alberto da Silva Amado, a Lisbon native, and Margarida Abreu Sotto-Mayor, from São Miguel, Azores. Until he was 19, he lived in a grand 18th-century house that belonged to his paternal grandparents (currently Lisbon’s Museu da Cidade). His summer holidays were spent at the beach, in São Martinho do Porto.
Acting, at Teatro Nacional D. Maria II, 1949
1945 - 1956
Manuel Amado enrols in Colégio Moderno, the school where he will complete his primary and secondary education. Stimulated by the highly cultured atmosphere of his family, as well as by the school’s initiatives, he becomes very interested in theatre, literature, sports, drawing and painting. Throughout his secondary studies, he performs on plays directed by Manuel Lereno and António Manuel Couto Viana. On his 14th birthday, an aunt gives him a box of oil paints and an easel. During his last year in Colégio Moderno (he completes his secondary education in 1956), he makes a thorough study of charcoal drawing, as part of his preparation for the Architecture Course.
1957 - 1958
In his spare time from the Architecture Course, Manuel Amado paints and draws in a small studio shared with a group of like-minded companions. He paints several portraits of friends, with Picasso and Matisse as his main influences. Later, he would fall under the spell of De Chirico’s work, and discover Surrealism. During that time, he also acted in Teatro Universitário de Lisboa, a theatre company directed by his father, and designed the set for a performance of Eugene O’Neill’s Ile.
Angola, 1963
1959 - 1963
Manuel Amado starts working in an architecture atelier. He spends one summer month in Paris, mostly at the Cinemathèque and visiting museums. In September 1960, he is called to military service, which he would fulfill in Tancos, as part of the engineer corps, and in August 1961 he marries his wife, Maria Teresa Rosa Viegas, who at the time was studying at the Lisbon Arts Faculty. One month later, he is sent to Angola as a military officer. He would return to Portugal in 1963, but it was during his stay in Luanda that, inspired by his longing for home, he painted a series of small pictures which allowed him to define the specific features of his painting style. In this same city, he meets Surrealist painter Cruzeiro Seixas.
Paris, 1959
Paris, 1959
1964 - 1967
After returning to Lisbon, he resumes his Architecture Course and works in several ateliers belonging to older architects. Rodrigo, his first son, is born in July. His daughter Rita is born one year later. He becomes an Architecture graduate in 1966, while working at the Office of Military Hospital Works. Travels to Paris and the Loire Valley.

1968 - 1974
Starts working at the Office of Civilian Aeronautics Works. In June, his daughter Joana is born. In 1970, he begins working in a large project studio (Hidrotécnica Portuguesa), where he will remain for eleven years, mainly dealing with urban planning projects as part of a team led by architect Leopoldo de Almeida, a close friend who shared his love of painting. For work reasons, he often travels to Mozambique. Throughout all these years, he never ceases from dedicating his holidays and weekends to painting. Methodically, he develops his own expression, always exploring a single technique: oil on canvas. He works slowly, in a leisurely process of self-learning, showing his paintings only to friends. In 1971, he travels with his wife and his friend Cruzeiro Seixas to Northern and Central Italy, and also to Catalonia and Southern France, to study architecture and painting. In 1974 he designed, for his wife, a store that would display and sell high-end design products. This store, in the centre of Lisbon, would achieve a remarkable success, in both commercial and cultural terms. For five years, he travelled regularly to London, Barcelona and Milan, on shop-related business.
1975 - 1977
In 1975 and the following year, his work is featured in two group exhibitions at Sociedade Nacional de Belas Artes. He also takes part in another group exhibition, organised by Mário Cesariny and Cruzeiro Seixas, at Galeria Ottolini, in Lisbon. For that occasion, he painted, with his friend Artur Parrinha, four cadavres exquis. He designs a set for Peter Weiss’ How Mister Mockinpott Was Cured of His Sufferings, staged by Grupo 4 at Instituto Alemão, in Lisbon. In 1977 he takes part, as an actor, in the movie Nem Pássaro Nem Peixe by Solweig Nordlund (in archive at Cinemateca Portuguesa - Museu do Cinema).

On stage with Lourdes Castro in the play "Antes de Começar", 1985
1978 - 1985
By invitation of Cruzeiro Seixas, who was then director of the gallery of Junta de Turismo da Costa do Sol, in Estoril, he presents his first solo exhibition. The works shown were not for sale. In 1979, Manuel Amado designs a house for his family, and had it built at the foot of the São Luís Ridge, in Arrábida Natural Park. The house has an annexe which he uses as a painting studio. In 1981, he finds a new job, with working hours that allow him to dedicate more time to painting – three to four hours a day, besides weekends and vacations at his country house. In 1982 he sells his first painting, to Mário Soares, making a full entrance in the painting market in 1983 with a solo show at Galeria de S. Mamede, in Lisbon. The catalogue includes a text by writer José Cardoso Pires. The event’s success inspired him to work more and more on his painting. In 1984, he presents a new exhibition at the gallery of Cooperativa Árvore, in Porto. He shares the stage with painter Lourdes Castro in four performances of Almada Negreiros’ play Antes de Começar, presented at the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation’s Modern Art Centre, on the occasion of the Centre’s first anniversary. In November 1984, an exhibition takes place at the gallery of Alliance Française, in Lisbon, followed, in October 1985, by another one, this time at Galeria de S. Mamede. The latter’s catalogue contained a text by Eduardo Prado Coelho.
 
1986 - 1987
At Galeria de S. Mamede, Manuel Amado shows a set of thirteen paintings on memories of train stations. The full set was acquired by Banco Comercial Português, a financial institution that quickly exhibited it on the occasion of the opening of its Lisbon headquarters, and would, over the following years, tour it around the country, displaying it in its various local branches. In March 1987, this same series travelled to Washington, where it was shown at the Smithsonian Institution’s Wilson Center. The exhibition catalogue includes a text by Bruno Munari. At the same time, Manuel Amado presented another exhibition, at Patricia Carega Gallery, also in Washington. It was during his stay in this city, and later in New York, that he saw for the first time, in museums, paintings by Edward Hopper, which deeply impressed him. In June, he quit working as an architect to fully dedicate himself to painting: a resolution in which his wife’s support played a decisive role.
1988 - 1989
In March, Galeria de S. Mamede brings six of his oils to Madrid’s ARCO — International Contemporary Art Fair. There, he met Eugenio Granell. In October, he presents a new exhibition at Galeria de S. Mamede, and nearly at the same time another one in Washington, at Patricia Carega Gallery. Over these last few years, while establishing himself as a professional painter, he becomes friends with other painters: Lourdes Castro, Menez, Júlio Pomar, António Dacosta, Paula Rego, René Bertholo, Jorge Martins.
At a friend's house, with his wife Teresa
At a friend's house, with his wife Teresa
1990 - 1993
Presents an exhibition in London, at Anne Berthoud Gallery. Its catalogue, published with the support of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, includes a critical text by Ruth Rosengarten. In the Autumn, another exhibition is held, at Washington DC’s Carega Foxley Leach Gallery. Before the end of 1990, Manuel Amado presents yet another exhibition, at Galeria Nasoni, in Porto. Its catalogue’s text is by historian Jorge Borges de Macedo, who had been his teacher at Colégio Moderno. In 1991 he exhibits in Paris, at Galerie Mouvances, a small gallery in Place des Vosges, and in 1992 brings thirty-six new paintings to Galeria Nasoni, in Lisboa; the catalogue for this exhibition contains a text by Hellmut Wohl, a professor of Art History at Boston University’s College of Liberal Arts. In 1993, Colóquio-Artes, a Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation magazine, published a lenghty essay on his painting by Emídio Rosa de Oliveira, professor of Art Semiotics at Universidade Nova de Lisboa. Designs the set for Grupo de Teatro da Malaposta’s staging of J.M. Synge’s The Playboy of the Western World. Casa Fernando Pessoa – an important institution under the Cultural Department of the Lisbon City Council – invites him to create a triptych, O Quarto de Fernando Pessoa (Fernando Pessoa’s Room).
1994
At the beginning of the year, Manuel Amado exhibits the aforementioned triptych at Casa Fernando Pessoa, a space essentially dedicated to poetry, presenting at the same time a set of twelve paintings, entitled The House Above the Sea. This exhibition opens the cycle "One poet / one painter”. In the catalogue, a poem by Pedro Tamen dialogues with the paintings. In May, this group of paintings is shown at Bordeaux’s Galerie Start, as part of a series of cultural events connected to the "Semaine Portugaise de Bordeaux et Aquitaine” and in representation of Lisbon – 1994 European Capital of Culture. In the same month, he presents an exhibition at Centro de Estudos Judiciários, in Lisbon. One of his paintings is selected for the group exhibition at the opening of the Lisbon Stock Exchange’s new headquarters.
With Júlio Pomar, at José Cardoso Pires' house
With Júlio Pomar, at José Cardoso Pires' house
1995 - 1996
By invitation of Telefónica’s Fundación Arte y Tecnologia, Amado presents his first anthological exhibition — Pintura • 1971-1994 — at Museo Telefónica, in Madrid. The exhibition is curated by Layla Ishi-Kawa and Sommer Ribeiro, both of whom wrote texts for its catalogue, which also includes contributions from Hellmut Wohl and Fernando Castro Flores. After a two-month stay in Madrid, the exhibition is shown in Lisbon, at Galveias Palace, during the month of May. In 1996, Mobil invites him to paint three canvas, as part of the cultural events commemorating the 100th anniversary of that company’s presence in Portugal. With the support of Casa Fernando Pessoa and Fundação Oriente, Manuel Amado revives, at the Arrábida Convent, his 1994 exhibition The House Above the Sea, A Poet and a Painter – Pedro Tamen / Manuel Amado as part of the Arrábida Natural Park’s 20th-anniversary commemorations. The event, hosted by Nuno Júdice, includes a reading of poems by Pedro Tamen. Also in 1996, he begins using his new studio: a refurbished former hay storage facility by his country house.
1997 - 1998
Solo show at Biblioteca Municipal Calouste Gulbenkian, in Ponte de Sor, by invitation of Fundação das Casas de Fronteira e Alorna. Fernando Mascarenhas wrote the text in the catalogue. As part of the Lisbon City Hall’s renovation program, he is invited by João Soares, the Lisbon Mayor, to create a painting for his office. In February 1998, Manuel Amado presents an exhibition at Galeria Antiks Design, in Lisbon. It is the first one-artist show to be held at that gallery. The catalogue’s text is written by José-Augusto França. In June and July, by invitation of the Lisbon City Council and Fundação BCP, a major exhibition of his Lisbon-themed paintings takes place at Galveias Palace, in Lisbon. Its curators are Teresa Amado and José Brandão, and the catalogue’s text is by José Cardoso Pires. In September, his work is featured in the exhibition Contemporary Portuguese Painting in the Collection of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation’s Modern Art Centre, held at the Beijing Museum of Contemporary Art – China Art Gallery, by initiative of the Chinese Ministry of Culture. In November, Fundação Oriente invites him to present, at Casa Garden, in Macau, the exhibition The Little Arrábida Convent, curated by Teresa Amado. Its catalogue contains texts by Carlos Monjardino and the painter. This was his first journey to China.
1999 - 2000
1999 is the year of his father’s birth centenary. He collaborates in several commemorative cultural initiatives related to that event, namely creating a cover for the book À Boca de Cena - Fernando Amado, published by & etc. In June, he presents, at Lisbon’s Galeria Antiks Design, The Enchanted Garden. The catalogue’s text is by João Pinharanda. In May 2000, Manuel Amado brings to Galeria dos Coimbras, in Braga, Mateus House and My Garden. Bernardo Pinto de Almeida wrote the text in the catalogue. In December, Lisbon’s Galeria Antiks presents Journey Around an Abandoned Station. In this exhibition, the painter reprises the subject of railway stations. The text in the catalogue is by Eduardo Lourenço.

At the atelier, Arrábida
At the atelier, Arrábida
2001 - 2003
From January 16th to March 6th, Fondation Calouste Gulbenkian, in Paris, presents The Great Flood, an exhibition curated by Teresa Amado. The catalogue features texts by Francisco Bethencourt and Fernando António Baptista Pereira. In March, Chandeigne, a Parisian publishing house, releases the bilingual book Jogo de Reflexos – Poetry and Painting – Nuno Júdice and Manuel Amado. In May, Tomar Municipal Gallery presents the exhibition Groups, by invitation of José-Augusto França. In November, with the support of Fundação Oriente and the collaboration of the Chinese and Portuguese Ministries of Culture, Manuel Amado presents a solo exhibition at the Beijing Museum of Contemporary Art – China Art Gallery. On December 31st, he becomes the grandfather of three children, born to his daughter Rita: Manuel, António and Ana. During April, May and June 2002, he brings the same exhibition to Biblioteca Almeida Garrett’s Galeria do Palácio, in Porto. The event includes Imagens para um Vídeo, a film by Vicente Jorge Silva, and was the subject of a conference hosted by Rosa Alice Branco, a professor at Escola de Design e Belas Artes do Porto. Its participants included Nuno Júdice and Pedro Tamen. In October, an exhibition of recent paintings takes place at Galeria Antiks Design, Lisbon.
2004 - 2006
The exhibition already presented in Beijing and Porto comes, between July and September, to Fundación Antonio Pérez, Cuenca, Spain. The catalogue’s texts are by Antonio Pérez and Ruth Rosengarten. Also in July, the annual report of Portugal Telecom is published. Its outstanding graphic layout includes pictures of Manuel Amado’s work. During October and November, Manuel Amado PAINTING 1992/2004, a major retrospective of his painting over the last twelve years is presented at the Great Hall of Sociedade Nacional de Belas Artes (SNBA), in Lisbon. Juan Manuel Bonet wrote the text in the catalogue. Also in November, a debate, "Three views of Manuel Amado’s painting”, in which Juan Manuel Bonet, Bernardo Pinto de Almeida and Nuno Júdice take part, is held at the SNBA Library. In 2005, Fundação EDP acquires for its collection Building Door I and Building Door II, a diptych.
Manuel Amado, 2006
Manuel Amado, 2006
2007
From January 17th to March 17th, Manuel Amado shows 50 new theatre-themed paintings at the King Luís Gallery, in Ajuda National Palace, Lisbon. The exhibition, entitled The Show Is About to Start, is curated by João Pinharanda, who also wrote the catalogue’s main text. Millennium bcp is its exclusive sponsor, and it has the support of IPPAR Ministério da Cultura. In April, by invitation of Bernardo Pinto de Almeida, he takes part in the exhibition Landscape in Contemporary Portuguese Art, at the Al Faisaliyah Center, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. In November, Fundação D. Luís I invites him to present an exhibition at Centro Cultural de Cascais. The event, entitled paintingPAINTING, is curated by Luísa Soares de Oliveira, who also wrote the catalogue’s main text. In this same month, his granddaughter Maria is born.
2008 - 2010
From May 6th to June 15th, Manuel Amado takes part in Linha do Horizonte – o Motivo da Paisagem na Arte Contemporânea Portuguesa, at Caixa Cultural do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. This exhibition, curated by Bernardo Pinto de Almeida, will later travel to Museu Nacional de Soares dos Reis, Porto. In 2009, he collaborates in the set design for Rui Mendes’ staging of Strindberg’s Miss Julie, at Teatro Nacional D. Maria II, in Lisbon. His work is featured in the touring exhibition Arte Partilhada Millennium bcp, which will travel across Portugal and abroad, continuing through 2010. From January to March 2010, he takes part in another group exhibition, commemorating the 10th anniversary of the Tomar Museum’s contemporary art collection, founded by José-Augusto França. In the Spring of this same year, one of his works illustrates the cover of Seara Nova magazine. In August, his granddaughter Laura is born. In September, by occasion of the Republic’s 100th anniversary, several of his paintings illustrate Colóquio / Letras, a magazine published by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation.
2011 - 2014
From January 13th to March 15th, Amado shows Stagings, in Lisbon, at the Great Hall of Sociedade Nacional de Belas Artes (SNBA), with catalogue text by Nuno Júdice. He participates in the group exhibition Casa Comum – Obras na Colecção do CAM, curated by Leonor Nazaré –  CAM, Gulbenkian, Lisbon, and Centro de Arte Contemporânea Graça Morais, Bragança. In June he takes part in another group exhibition, Portugal, Pontos de Fuga, commemorating June 10th in Castelo Branco, and sponsored by the Republic Presidencial Museum. In November 2012 opens the exhibition Manuel Amado na ermida – 7 inedit paintings done on purpose for the small space of the Ermida Nossa Senhora da Conceição, in Belém, Lisbon. To them Pedro Tamen wrote a poem. From October 15th to November 16th, 2014, he shows The horses at Museu do Oriente, in Lisbon. The catalogue text is by José Sasportes.
2015 - 2017
From July 2015 to March 2016 Amado participates in the exhibition A Luz de Lisboa – Museu de Lisboa – Torreão Poente do Terreiro do Paço, Lisbon, curated by Ana Eiró and Acacio de Almeida. From November 2015 to October 2016 he participates in the group exhibition As Casas na Colecção do CAM – curated by Isabel Carlos and Patrícia Rosas – CAM – FCG, Lisbon. From May 18th to July 17th, 2016, Amado shows at Casa das Histórias Paula Rego, a selection of paintings curated and chosen by Paula Rego herself. Entitled The summer has been your own house and your life’s drift stayed…, the exhibition was co-curated by Catarina Alfaro. In November of that same year, he participates with one painting in the group exhibition Mater Dei, at Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Conceição Velha, Lisbon, exhibition that is later shown, in 2017, at Santuário de Fátima, as part of the 300 year anniversary of Patriarcado de Lisboa and the 100 year anniversary of the Fátima apparitions.
2019
The houses in which he lived, cinema, the beach and the sea, transitory spaces and theatre are the stuff his paintings are made of. He died in Lisbon on 14 October 2019.