Maria Bonomi de volta de uma viagem de estudos apresenta nas gravuras que aqui se encontram os atestados de seu aproveitamento. Esta gravadora não é uma esperança com a sua mocidade, mas uma esperança realizada em sua mocidade, o que é raro. Vejo as atuais gravuras de Maria Bonomi num plano muitíssimo alto para as artes do desenho no Brasil; da velha matriz gráfica onde me surgiram um dia jovens Goeldi, Livio Abramo, Grassmann, surgem agora esta lava que marca uma etapa na história de nossa gravura. Sei que a própria artista está em debate consigo mesma, e que a esse debate ela é levada pela aspiração de chegar à obra de arte sem nada conceder ao meio ilícito, no traço, no material, siquer no papel em que a reprodução vai repousar. Debate e pesquisa lhe permitiram estas topografias, estes recônditos escaninhos da espeleologia, a libertação do enquadramento, o esforço meditado para a tensão expressiva, rememorativa... Maria Bonomi não é partidária do tachismo, o que seria quebrar à disciplina da gravura. Portanto, estas formas são sempre sinais, vivências, marcas de um espetáculo que atinge a um plano de arte, deliberadamente.

Geraldo Ferraz, 1959
Great artists are always looking for an intimate connection with the instruments of their language, selecting an expressive medium with rules and limits that are simultaneously stimulate creativity and the essence of a work's poetic meaning. Maria Bonomi, on the contrary is looking for an image that relates exclusively to the condition of “wood block engraving": with clarity and critical decision, she appropriates the figurative idiom as her starting point, which reveals her perception of culture, her ability for aesthetic meditation allied to her evident creative aptitude. The respect accorded to the structure of the support and to its graphic modalities stimulates Maria Bonomi's formal inventiveness and reminds us of Baudalaire's observations, when he warns us of the dangers inherent to graphic procedures and assiduous discipline, arduously controlled that discards any facility of the idiom of wood block printing, without altering its natural qualities.

Maria is very young. Born in Meina, Italy, in 1935, she moved to Brazil in 1947, where she followed the guidance and teachings of Lasar Segall. Yolanda Mohalyi, Livio Abramo and Karl Plattner: she is adamant about citing her teachers and disclosing the influence of painters such as Prampolini and Vedova on her education and the cultural and spiritual enrichment acquired in the Paris art scene and the contemporary studios she frequented: Magnelli, Arp and Sophie Taeuber, Marini, Capogrossi, Veira da Silva, Friediänder, Sironi, and Burri, among others. In addition to her artistic craftsmanship, Maria writes discerning criticism for Specialized magazines, which confirms her austere cultural stance and the self-conscious modesty of the apprentice. In spite or this, her works, shown in important exhibitions, reflect much more than a serious vocation and an adequate technique: they are poetic inventions, particular in their own way.

An image, suggested by an emotion born from contact and colloquium with that which contains it, finds its formal order in the rhythm of planes that are diversified by their tonal value and through signs that geometric balance distinguishes from sentimental arabesques. A secret, imaginary (albeit clearly sought after) correspondence thus arises between "the grooves, lines and other vestiges of the woods resistant texture" -wrote Jose Geraldo Vieira- as well as the variations suggested by figurative inventions. An intrinsic collaboration unites the artist with her materials and technical idiom.

Staining with those grooves, space is perceived and explored in all dimensions, unfixed from neither walls nor fissures, so clear and bright that, by the time we have noticed the poetic aura suggested by its reflections and echoes, the artist has already moved onto another place in which the image floats on the face of the print and the subtle play of chromatic variations is maintained, even if it is only the blacks and whites that are awake, never breaking the golden rule of spatial unity. The lesson of an artist such as Sophie Taeuber Arp is subtly insinuated here; under the extremely controlled aspect of these graphic essays, there appears a dramatic pretense of accomplishing a discourse that neither adjusts itself to any strict stylistics not resorts to the suspicious paths of description; therefore, Bonomi does not resort to glacial geometric perfection nor to useless, hedonistic good taste. Her prints reflect the sensibility of craft and the power of poetic reference which, in evident agreement, constitute their merit. And, in the course of prolonged studio work, of the artist's passionate in her humble daily battle, we are assured of seeing the sources of inspiration, contained within the heart of the wood, always identified with suggestions of reality, of imagination, of feeling. Maria Bonomi undertakes a risky and mysterious expedition on her road to the discovery of the symbolic hieroglyphs of that Nature entrusts to matter: messages cast to the Poet.

Franco Russoli, 1959.
RUSSOLI, Franco. Maria Bonomi. XXe Siècle.
Paris, XXIe année: n. 13, 1959.
Maria Bonomi [...], young Italian-born Brazilian, shows woodcuts and wood-engravings. Most of them are based on a theme popular with her the destruction of New York, where she is studying at present. By employing a fine and a fluid line, the effect is at present one of soundtracks. They have a neat sensitivity, especially those that use the wood grain and knot holes.

Jurgen Strunk, 1958.
STRUNK, Jurgen. maria Bonomi. Art News,
New York. Nov. 1958
Nowadays it is rare to find a young artist using wood block printing as her primary medium. [...]

Bonomi uses various instruments to create loud white lines, or round white masses that often suggest the structures and artificial lights of New York.

In wood block printing, it is essential to invent symbols to correspond to three-dimensionality. Bonomi wields her burn nimbly, for she knows the value of variation. It is heartening to see a tradition that began with Vallotton and was carried on by Munch and Kirchner led to contemporary terms.

Dore Ashton, 1958.
ASHTON. Dore, Art: A Woodcut Display
The New York Times, New York. Nov. 21, 1958
Maria Bonomi, a young, talented Brazilian print-maker is showing a selection of new prints in black and white woodcut and wood engraving.

Her work has the excitement that can only come
about through the love and understanding of these two mediums.

It is especially demanding in working with such limitations of pure black and white and occasionally an additional color that the original conception must give full play of freedom to interpret and reinterpret in the process of creating the various concepts so that the final images will obtain its fulfillment. This I believe, Maria Bonomi has done.

Seong Moy, 1958.
MOY, Seong. (apres.). Maria Bonomi. New York,
Roland de Aenlle Gallery, 17. nov./6. dec. 1958. Roland de Aenlle Gallery. Nov. 17/Dec. 6 1958.

As alert to the cultivation of the formal values that Kari Plattner takes to the extreme consequences of an ascetic rigor able to destroy so many of the current arrogant social theories as she is alert to the exploration of the most obscure possibilities at materials in Livio Abramo's woodcut prints, Maria Bonomi has thus glimpsed her path. Yet under no circumstances has she forgotten that she must pursue it on her own. Because of this, the drawings and prints she is exhibiting today are legitimately by Maria Bonomi.


Lourival Gomes Machado, 1956.
MACHADO. Lourival Gomes (apres). Gravuras. Monografias.
Maria Bonomi. São Paulo, Museu de Arte Moderna, Jun, 1956
Maria: At first, i didn't take much of anything too "seriously. Now, I've grown more aware...

Walter Zanini: Maria Bonomi recently traveled to Europe, where she visited Italy and France:

Maria: I spoke to several artists. Sironi and Magnelli among them. The latter said he envied me the fact that I live in a new country where one can make new art.. He is hoping to come to Brazil, a place he has been dreaming of visiting to quite some time.


Maria: I realized that young Europeans are somewhat limited in terms or their freedom. They cannot show their work. They cannot speak out. The environment is not favorable to them. The older artists form their own brotherhoods, which beginners have a hard time breaking into. In any event, though, there is a great willingness in work. Almost all of them are moving towards an abstractionism that is less an abstractionism or form than one of ideas.


Maria: I believe we have the upper hand over them: when we need to solve a problem with color, we look directly to our extremely rich landscape while they, on the contrary, must go to museums or galleries and so on for their research. On the other hand, young people generally awaken to art only when someone else opens their eyes to it; over there the very atmosphere seems to guide them instinctively.


Maria: Brazilian painting is not a folklore and primitivism. It may possess a feature of its own. Our abstraction, for example, will make sense when it stops copying the European model, when it has native inspiration.

Maria: I also noticed that artists copy one another in Europe. The art scene is vast and It's not easy to keep from sliding into the territory of mutual and harmful influences. Originality thus becomes an increasingly problematic point of arrival. If i'd stayed there, I don't believe I would have produced anything new - which is why I think Magnelli is right when he says he envies my luck at living in a country where there is still so much to be done.

Maria Bonomi a Walter Zanini, 1953.
ZANINI, Walter; [Idéias de uma Jovem Pintora] “Mudancas Bruscas em Menos de 4 anos - O Ambiente que Maria Bonomi Sentiu na Europa - "A Pintura Brasileira não é só folclore e Primitivismo"
[O Tempo, São Paulo, February 22, 1953]