With her paintings now regularly selling for over $1 million at auction, Beatriz Milhazes has joined one of the world’s top galleries.
Pace Gallery, which has locations in New York, London, Hong Kong, Geneva, Seoul, and Palo Alto, California, has taken on representation of the Brazilian artist, who is known for colorful abstractions riffing on the visual traditions of her homeland. Milhazes joins a cast that is rich in pioneering abstract artists from throughout art history, from Mark Rothko to Lee Ufan. And, according to Pace vice president Adam Sheffer, her work fits in with a rich artistic legacy.
“She’s a very strong and important artist who pushes the boundaries of art-making as we know them in the 20th and 21st centuries,” Sheffer told ARTnews. “Not unlike some other pioneers, like Robert Ryman and Agnes Martin, she works in her studio, quite focused on her technique and her imagery.”
In a statement, Milhazes said, “Pace’s impact on art history, with their strong program in abstract art, is well established and their aim to continue its legacy with a new concept of global contemporaneity attests to their commitment to artists such as myself. It is fascinating, and I am excited to be a part of it!”
Milhazes’s studio practice differentiates her from some other major artists working in Brazil when she started in the early 1980s, when conceptual art had taken hold across the country. Working as part of the Geração 80 (’80s Generation), Milhazes synthesized styles derived from modernism, both in Europe and in Brazil, and engineered her work’s look, which involves overlapping, curlicuing forms. Though she often creates large paintings, she has also worked prolifically as a printmaker, and has even produced architectural interventions.
Milhazes is changing New York galleries—James Cohan Gallery, which has represented Milhazes since the early 2000s, will no longer represent her—and Pace is sharing representation of Milhazes with several of her other galleries internationally—Fortes D’Aloia & Gabriel (which has locations in São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, and Lisbon), Galerie Max Hetzler (Berlin, Paris, and London), and White Cube (London and Hong Kong). “We want to add to the picture,” Sheffer said, “not take over the whole thing.”
The news comes as Milhazes prepares for several major shows, including one of the biggest ever for the artist in Brazil. In December, the Museu de Arte de São Paulo, the Itaú Cultural space, and the Casa de Vidro will host a three-venue survey in São Paulo. In the past few years, Milhazes’s works have regularly sold for as much as $2.1 million at auction—placing her among the small coterie of living female artists whose work has gone for over $1 million.
Historically, Pace’s roster has been rich in artists hailing from North America, Europe, and Asia, with Latin America as a weak point. Milhazes is now the sole living artist based in the region that the gallery represents, but Sheffer insisted that Milhazes transcends her place in the world. “This is not a case of ticking boxes,” he said. “Whether she were part of Brazil or some other part of the world wasn’t the motivation. This was about adding a remarkable talent to the program.”