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Virgolino [Wellington]

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Virgolino [Wellington]

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Last update: 11/10/2013

By: Virginia Barbosa - Librarian of the Fundação Joaquim Nabuco

Of everything, a little of a lot is left. Out of the whole lot that remains of Virgolino, translated into portraits is very little, though. (Paulo Fernando Craveiro).

The painter from Pernambuco, named Wellington Virgulino de Souza was born in the city of Recife, in September, 19th, 1929, in the borough called bairro de Casa Amarela (The Yellow House Borough); the son of Gervázio Virgulino de Souza and Carmoniza Andrade de Souza. Although he was baptized Virgulino (with a “u”, he would sign this paintings as Wellington or W. Virgolino (with an “o”).

He performed his first studies at the Maurício de Nassau School (Escola Maurício de Nassau), in the borough called bairro da Boa Vista and his first secondary grade school at the Ginásio Pernambucano gymnasium. He did not graduate. He was a self-learner. In this Gymnasium he met and became friends with Vicente do Rego Monteiro, who had given Virgulino valuable insights and advice; and Virgulino would then consider him his first counselor.

Still as a child he developed an interest for plastic arts. He would make use of color pencils, watercolors and Indian ink so as to draw cartoons of his classmates, teachers and his brothers. Both in the primary grade school and in secondary grade school and scientific grade school, classmates and teachers admired him and had a lot of fun with the cartoon drawings made by Virgulino.

He lived in the street named rua Velha (Old Street) for more than twenty years and he maintained friendships with several other beginner artists, such as Ionaldo Cavalcanti, Beatriz Alves Melo Calábria and Darel Valença.

He started to make comic story illustrations in notebooks when he still studied at the Pernambuco’s Gymnasium and he would sell them in order to ensure he could buy tickets to the Politheama movie theater or at the Ideal movie theater. In these movie theaters, the following TV sitcoms he would portrait in his stories were displayed: The Spider’s Web, Flash Gordon, Jungle Jim, The Phantom. With the help of his friend, Redomak Viana, he created other stories which were published in the Jornal Pequeno (Little Newspaper) newspaper, Recife, between 1946 and 1947.

After a report published in the newspaper called Jornal Pequeno, Recife, 1948, in which they complimented on his works, Virgulino went on to collaborate with this periodical, alongside with his cousin Yvonildo de Souza, with political cartoons and drawing on mundane life of Recife. Simultaneously, Wellington worked at the office of Tabosa de Almeida, a lawyer and one of the painter’s nurturers.

For ten years (1949-1959), he was a clerk at the English Real Mailing - Mala Real Inglesa -, located in the street called Bom Jesus, a Recife’s port area. Undoubtedly, the acquaintances and the life with the place’s characters led him to perform inspired works on social themes, besides marking his temporary experience with bohemia. This period, in the decade of 1950 is deemed as the start of his golden age. In this period, Virgolino met Abelardo da Hora, which in tandem with Hélio Feijó, he planned and founded Recife’s Modern Art Society (SAMR). From Adebardo, he was given classes on “quick posing” at the Liceu de Artes e Ofícios de Pernambuco (Pernambuco’s Lyceum of Arts and Crafts. Later, the idea of creating a collective atelier come about, which, thanks to the union and determination of some artists, is set up in a rented house in the street called rua da Soledade, No. 57, a borough in Boa Vista, Recife. 

In the atelier, he improved his painting techniques and the utilization of artistic ware, being groomed, occasionally, by outsider painters who would come over - Mário Cravo and Carybé, from Bahia; Danúbio Villanil, from Rio Grande do Sul – and the ones from over here – Francisco Brennand, Reynaldo and Lula Cardoso Ayres.

The group which was part of the Atelier founded the Club of Carvings - Clube da Gravura. The Club had partners who would contribute monthly and who would receive Carvings. This helped with the upkeep of the Collective Atelier, which ran firstly in Soledade Street, later in the streets called rua Velha, 231, and in Matriz, 117, all in the Boa Vista borough. In 1957, the Collective Atelier and the Club of Carvings of Recife launched the album called Carvings, comprising of 10 xylographs in wood and in plaster, by Wellington Virgolino, Corbiniano Lins and Wilton De Souza. After, the group began to grow apart and, in fits and starts, each one set up their own atelier. 

Wellington kept an atelier with his brother Wilton de Souza, in their parent’s residence. In 1955, he married Marinete Alves de Souza and, as time went by, he transferred the atelier to his own house, in the borough named Monsenhor Fabrício (Monsignor Fabrício), Recife. Later, he settled it down in a borough called Hipódromo (“Race Course”). Even later, he quit his job in English Real Mailing (Mala Real Inglesa) and dedicated himself to his art.

He was a drawer and sculptor, but it was as a painter that he gained national and international renown. From 1954 to 1987, he partook in individual expositions (Recife, Salvador, São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro) and collective expositions in (Europe, Asia, South America, São Paulo, Belo Horizonte, Salvador, Porto Alegre, Brasilia). He was gracefully awarded with prizes and honorific titles; he had his works commented on and assessed by writers, poets and art critics; he was a member of several judging commissions on works of art and he made illustrations for books. In 1995, the Municipal Council of Culture, in Recife, paid homage to him with the trophy Constructors of Culture - Construtores da Cultura (in memoriam).

Wellington Virgolino deceased in Recife, on the 23rd of September, 1988.

sources consulted

SOUZA, Wilton de. Virgolino, o cangaceiro das flores. Recife: Ed. Grupo Paés, 2009.

VIRGOLINO, Wellington. Menino na janela, 1980 (imagem neste texto). Óleo sobre tela, serigrafia, 40 x 60 cm. Coleção Walternice de Souza Mafra. In: SOUZA, Wilton de. Virgolino, o cangaceiro das flores. Recife: Ed. Grupo Paés, 2009. p. 125

how to quote this text

Source: BARBOSA, Virgínia. Virgolino. Pesquisa Escolar Online, Joaquim Nabuco Foundation, Recife. Available at:>. Accessed: day month year. Exemple: 6 August 2009.