Candido Portinari was one of the greatest Brazilian painters and was completely in love with what he did. His death, however, occurred due to intoxication caused by the paints he used in his works. At the same time that the doctors forbade him to paint, in order to stop the poisoning process, Portinari received the order of the Panels War and Peace , which would be delivered to the United Nations (UN) as a gift from the Brazilian government.
In 1950, Portinari began preparatory studies of the panels in the auditorium of the studios of the now defunct TV Tupi. For four years, he made about 180 sketches and maquees until he effectively began painting. After nine months brushing every inch of the two monumental canvases 14 meters high and 10 meters wide, in 1956 the greatest work of all life of the painter was completed and delivered to the Minister of Foreign Affairs Macedo Soares for donation to the UN in New York.
The War and Peace panels were installed in the entrance hall of the General Assembly room in 1957, the most important space of the UN headquarters.
The Portinari Project has always dreamed of exposing the panels to the general public and, in 2007, with the disclosure of a reform in the UN building, this desire became possible.
In 2010, the panels were brought to Brazil and presented at the Municipal Theater of Rio de Janeiro, bringing together more than 40,000 people in the first days of exhibition. At the beginning of the following year, still in the city of Rio de Janeiro, a restoration studio was set up open to the public at the Exhibition Hall of the Gustavo Capanema Palace, which allowed more than 7,000 people to observe the interventions for the preservation of the works, carried out by Brazilian restaurateurs. This restoration work enabled the scientific documentation of the panels.
After this stage, the panels and preparatory studies began to roam in an exhibition presented first in São Paulo, at the Latin America Memorial, receiving about 200,000 visitors. In the same year, this was elected the Best Exhibition of 2012 by the Brazilian Association of Art Critics and won the Aberje Award – São Paulo 2012, besides being nominated for the Best Exhibition in 2012 by the newspapers Folha de São Paulo and Estado de São Paulo.
In 2013, panels and studies went to Belo Horizonte and could be visited at Cine Theatro Brasil Vallourec. The exhibition was considered by Veja BH magazine as the best of the season in the city, seen by more than 80,000 people.
In 2014, the exhibition was exhibited for the first time in Europe, from May 7 to June 9, at the Hall of Honor of the Grand Palais in Paris, France. There were exhibited 37 preparatory studies of the artist, between drawings and paintings. After this exhibition, the roaming ended with the return of War and Peace to UN headquarters, in a major event entitled The Second Unveiling.
The entire museum coordination project was carried out by Expomus, together with the Portinari Project, in order to bring to the public a unique opportunity to get to know the masterpiece of this great Brazilian artist.