Roberto Burle Marx, landscape architect

Zélia Ferreira met Roberto Burle Marx (1909-1994) when he “still wore shorts”, as she happily remembered. The Ferreira family was befriended with the Burle, and Zélia studied at the Sacré-Coeur de Marie, same of Roberto’s sister, Helena. Friendship developed so strong Zélia would divulge her birthdate as the same of his – 1909, still registered today in publishings such as the Larousse des Arts: she didn’t want to look older than him… Artistic partnership would be sealed when both shared his workshop in Rio de Janeiro, in 1946. While Zélia helped him in choosing the right compositions and colors for his first landscape projects, thus defining which plant class had to be chosen, he would stimulate her to be more audacious in sculpture, “to do it big”, ultimately having her to execute in 1949 the bronze Aspiração Vertical nº1/Abstract Aspiration nº1, 2 meter/6 feet high, today standing in front of a Frank Lloyd Wright designed home in Boston, USA. Zélia would also substitute him in painting and landscape classes, would follow him sometimes in his famous new plants recognizing expeditions, receiving advice and stimulus. Later on one could not do without the other, at each exhibition, new artwork, uncertainty… The shy, discreet but self-assured Zélia would be the fundamental reference to the exuberant, passionate personality of the painter, sculptor, jewel designer and landscape architect of worldwide appreciation.

In this link, Zélia Salgado confesses she has learned to paint with Roberto Burle Marx. The landscape architect Haruyoshi Ono, his working partner at Burle Marx & Cia. Company, remembers both artists. Many photographies testify their relationship, besides a small but clarifying dedicatory from a lifetime friend.