Photography Collection of the PLMJ Foundation

© Antonio Homem Cardoso, Silhuetas ao amanhecer, Feira da ladra, Lisbon, 2000

The PLMJ Foundation in Lisbon has a tradition of sharing the PLMJ collection through exhibitions, and having partnerships with leading institutions in the Portuguese art world,

In February and March, the exhibition   “Materiais Transitórios – Núcleo de Escultura da Colecção da Fundação PLMJ” was exhibited at the  Fine Arts Society (Sociedade Nacional de Belas Artes – SNBA) in Lisbon .  Curated by João Silvério, the exhibition presented a selection of works focusing on sculptures by artists from the Portuguese-speaking world,  and reflected artistic production over the last few decades, including some of the Foundation’s  more recent acquisitions.

The Foundation is recognized for its important art collection in all media but its collection of photography is particularly  impressive, and is the most significant private collection  of  contemporary Portuguese photography.

This collection provides a vision of Portugal’s photographic production from the end of World War II to the present.  With over 600 examples by more than 150 Portuguese artists, the works represent the main trends and genres of contemporary creation  :   Surrealism to Conceptualism; from portrait to landscape; documentalism of photojournalism; obeying the traditional principles of “integral negative” or using the latest digital techniques and reprocessing of images.

© Ana Janeiro, Untitled #15, 2003

 In conjunction with the collection the foundation has also published two books about the photographic works in the collection.    “EM FOCO – Fotógrafos Portugueses do Pós Guerra , was published in 2005,  and a previous publication also composed of  photography, “Uma Extensão do Olhar”  shows the photography activity after the 40s of the postwar Portuguese photographers .

In 2005.. 63 photographic works from the photography collection were exhibited at the Centro de Artes Visuais in Coimbra.  The exhibition — An Extension of the Eye: Between Photography and the Phtographic Images – –  was curated by Miguel Amado.  The exhibition showed a balance between a historical view and a prospective one in the field of photography from recent years, and well known figures in photography were represented along with more recent artists.

History of the PLMJ Foundation

The PLMJ Law Firm, RL  was founded at the end of the 60s as a partnership between António Maria Pereira and Luis Sáragga Leal and, in the following decade, they were joined by two further founding partners, Francisco de Oliveira Martins and José Miguel Júdice.  The Fundacao PLMJ was established in 2001 under the motto “a law firm as a space for culture” in order to oversee the cultural programs and the art collection.

Luis Sáragga Leal was the mentor of this philanthropic cultural project, conceptualizing its incorporation, development over the years and the guidelines for its future.

© Alfredo Cunha, Untitled, 1997

The main emphasis of the art collection has been to promote contemporary art created by Portuguese artists, and in 2010, as the firm expanded its affairs abroad, also expanded to include artists  from Portuguese-speaking countries (i.e.“CPLP” countries, such as, Mozambique, Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, St Thomas and Prince and East Timor).

In addition to the photographic and video works, the collection of Portuguese contemporary art includes painting and sculpture, drawing, and mixed media by both established and emerging artists.    Virtually all of the recognized Portuguese contemporary artists are represented in the collection and, some of these artists, were supported by PLMJ Foundation earlier in their careers.  At this time the collection features 1,254 works of art of the following:  drawings: 96 ; paintings: 261 ;  sculpture: 114 ; photography: 691;   and video art:  92.

© Eduardo Gageiro, Cabo Espichel – Sesimbra, 1996

Artworks are featured in all of the offices of the lawyers and staff,  throughout the firm’s offices in Lisbon, Oporto, Faro, Luanda, Maputo and other cities in the PLMJ International Legal Network.  Luis Sáragga Leal has always followed an “open minded criteria” to establish and develop the collection, and he was advised, in some of the art acquisitions, by well-known curators, such as, Miguel Amado and, more recently, João Silvério.

Other educational activities of the foundation have included:

— Donations,
— Patronage of cultural projects
— Organizing seminars on art and cultural themes
— Ministering courses in educational institutions on the subject of the interaction of art and law, and subjects related to intellectual property
— Publishing monographs related to the law on themes of cultural heritage, intellectual property, the art market, tax in the arts, etc
— Sponsorship and promotion of art competitions (eg, the PLMJ Video Art Prize destined to CPLP artists).

Over the years the Fundacao PLMJ has established itself as one of the most important cultural institutions in Portugal.

© Fernando Lemos, Intimidades do Chiado, 1949-52,1949