Borges Family

About the Artist

José Francisco Borges and Ivan Borges display finished print and woodblock. (Photo by A H Fisher)
José Francisco Borges and Ivan Borges display finished print and woodblock. (Photo by A H Fisher)
Ivan Borges demonstrates printing at the International Folk Art market in Santa Fe, July, 2005 (Photo by A H Fisher)
Ivan Borges demonstrates printing at the International Folk Art market in Santa Fe, July, 2005 (Photo by A H Fisher)

Artist and poet José Francisco Borges is Brazil's best-known folk artist working in the wood-cut medium, and his work has been exhibited all over the world. But he comes out of a long tradition of folk poet/artists who publish their own work in the form of small (generally about 6" by 9") cheap chap-books or pamphlets written in verse, known as folhetos. They are also known as literatura de cordel after the way vendors sell them in the marketplace, hanging over a string. This tradition (including the work of Borges) is described in detail by Candace Slater in her book Stories on a String. Other artists working in the folheto woodcut medium include José's sons, José Miguel da Silva and Ivan Borges, his brother Amaro Francisco Borges, his nephews, Givanildo and Severino, Marcelo Soares, and Abrao Batista of Juareiro do Norte in Ceara state.

Marion Oettinger, Jr. describes these folhetos in his book The Folk Art of Latin America: Visiones del Pueblo: "Brazilian chap books deal with popular poetry, accounts of local catastrophes, popular legends, famous crimes, and infamous love affairs. The Man who Married a Donkey, The Son Who Murdered His Parents in Order to Get His Hands on Their Retirement Benefit, The Football Game in Hell, and The Overturned Bus Disaster are examples of the alluring titles found in a typical marketplace. The front of these pamplets usually contain wood-block illustrations of the book's contents, and they, in themselves, form a special type of folk expression.... Frequently, chap book vendors sing the songs in their books or read aloud the contents of their books to market crowds, many of whom are illiterate, and their voices usually draw enormous gatherings."

Jose Francisco Borges began writing verse for folhetos in his 20s, and soon also began to operate a printing press to produce woodcut prints for their covers. In the 1960s his woodcuts came to be recognized in their own right. He was encouraged to produce images in larger formats, in color as well as the more traditional black and white. But even in larger formats, his prints reflect the same popular themes, such as The Honeymoon of Matuto (an archetypal back-country bumpkin), The Monster of the Backlands, The Woman who Put the Devil in a Bottle, and many tales of the legendary bandit Lampiao. Borges' work has now been exhibited all over Brazil as well as in Paris, Zurich, Buenos Aires and in Germany and the United States. The Louvre, the Smithsonian and the Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe have exhibited Borges' work. Borges also collaborated with the noted Uruguayan author, Eduardo Galeano, providing fanciful illustrations for his collection of equally fanciful tales, Walking Words. You may read more about Borges and the other woodcut artists in the New York Times article, "From Brazil's Backlands, a Master of a Folk Tradition" (March 27, 2002).

Still more recently, the New York Times carried an excellent article on the cordel tradition, featuring Borges and others, "The Traveling Troubadors of Brazil's Backlands" (June 14, 2005).

Region:
Amaro Francisco Borges - Capoeira
SKU: BPR-14

Amaro Francisco Borges (Brazil), 2004
Woodcut print on paper (14 3/4: x 17 1/2" image on 26" x 19" sheet)

$175
Amaro Francisco Borges
SKU: BPR-15

Amaro Francisco Borges (Brazil), 2004
Woodcut print on paper (18 x 11 1/2)

$175
Os Casais Apaixonados
SKU: JMDS-101

José Miguel da Silva (Bezerros, Brazil),
Woodcut print on paper (19 1/2" x 11 1/4" image on 26" x 19" sheet), 2003, 2007
Exact colors may vary.

$110
Lampiao e Maria Bonita no Sertao (Lampiao and Maria Bonita in the Sertao)
SKU: JMDS-102

José Miguel da Silva (Bezerros, Pernambuco, Brazil), 2006
Woodcut print on paper (13 1/2" x 19 1/2" image on 26" x 19" sheet)

$110
Jogo do Baralho (The Card Game)
SKU: GVB-16

Givanildo Borges (Brazil), 2008
Woodcut print on paper (19 1/2" x 14" image on 26" x 19" sheet )

$110
Severino Borges
SKU: BPR-14

Severino Borges (Brazil), 2004
Woodcut print on paper (13" x 18 1/2" image on 19" x 26" sheet)

$110
Os Artesãos (The Artisans)
SKU: JMDS-29c

José Miguel da Silva (Bezerros, Pernambuco, Brazil), 2004, 2006, 2007
Woodcut print on paper (19 1/2" x 13 1/2" image on 26" x 19" sheet)

$110
Briga de Galo (Cockfight)
SKU: GVB-19

Givanildo Borges (Brazil),
Woodcut print on paper (image size 12" x 19 5/8" on 19" x 26" sheet), 2004

$110
Givanildo Borges - Fruta Engana Vaqueiro
SKU: GVB-15

Givanildo Borges (Brazil), 2002
Woodcut print on paper (19 x 14)

$110
Givanildo Borges - Chegada da Parteira (the Arrival of the Midwife)
SKU: GVB-18

Givanildo Borges (Brazil), 2004
Woodcut print on paper (15" x 21 1/2" image on 19" x 26" sheet)

$110
Givanildo Borges
SKU: GVB-14

Givanildo Borges (Brazil), 2004
Woodcut print on paper (13 3/4" x 18 3/4" image on 19" x 26" sheet)

$110
Severino Borges
SKU: BPR-11

Severino Borges (Brazil), 2004,2006
Woodcut print on paper (8 1/2 x 13)

$78
Severino Borges
SKU: BPR-20

Severino Borges (Brazil), c.2004
Woodcut print on paper (12 3/4 x 8 5/8)

$78
Severino Borges
SKU: BPR-21

Severino Borges (Brazil), c.2004
Woodcut print on paper (13 1/8 x 8 1/2)

$78
Severino Borges
SKU: BPR-22

Severino Borges (Brazil), c.2004
Woodcut print on paper (12 1/4 x 8 1/8)

$78
Os Beija-Flores (the Hummingbirds)
SKU: JMDS-05b

José Miguel da Silva (Bezerros, Brazil),
Woodcut print on paper (20 1/2" x 12" image on 26" x 19" sheet)

$110
Product Status: 
Temporarily out of stock
A Vida dos Diabos (The Life of the Devils)
SKU: JMDS-04c

José Miguel da Silva (Bezerros, Brazil), 2005.
Woodcut print on paper (20 1/2" x 12" image on 26" x 19" sheet)

$110
Product Status: 
Temporarily out of stock
"Stories on a String" - Folheto chapbooks from Brazil
SKU: BRFT-01

"Stories on a String" - Folheto chapbooks from North-East Brazil.
Assorted hand-printed pamphlets from Pernambuco and Ceara, by Jose Borges, Abraao Batista and others.  Written in (Portuguese) verse, printed in small presses with hand-printed woodcut cover art.  Generally 12 pages long, 6 1/2" x 4 1/2" in size. 

$14 for 3
Product Status: 
Temporarily out of stock
Amaro Francisco Borges
SKU: BPR-18

Amaro Francisco Borges (Brazil), c.2004
Woodcut print on paper (11 1/2 x 19 1/4)

$175
Product Status: 
Sold
Os Retirantes
SKU: JMDS-03c

José Miguel da Silva (Bezerros, Pernambuco, Brazil), 2004
Woodcut print on paper (13 1/2" x 17 1/2" image on 19" x 26" sheet)

$120
Product Status: 
Sold
Givanildo Borges
SKU: GVB-17

Givanildo Borges (Brazil), 2004
Woodcut print on paper (14 5/8 x 19 1/2)

$110
Product Status: 
Sold
Adao e Eva (Adam and Eve)
SKU: JMDS-28c

José Miguel da Silva (Bezerros, Pernambuco, Brazil), 2003
Woodcut print on paper (19 1/2" x 11 1/2" image on 26" x 19" sheet)

$110
Product Status: 
Sold
Severino Borges
SKU: BPR-18

Severino Borges (Brazil), c.2004
Woodcut print on paper (12 x 8 5/8)

$78
Product Status: 
Sold
Severino Borges
SKU: BPR-23

Severino Borges (Brazil), c.2004
Woodcut print on paper (12" x 8 1/4")

$78
Product Status: 
Sold
Givanildo Borges - Maria Bonita
SKU: GVB-13

Givanildo Borges (Brazil), 2004
Woodcut print on paper (8 3/4 x 4 1/2)
Maria Bonita and her partner Lampiao were legendary Bandits in Northeast Brazil.  See original photos below.

$42
Product Status: 
Sold
Givanildo Borges
SKU: GVB-11

Givanildo Borges (Brazil), 2004
Woodcut print on paper (6 1/4" x 6")

$42
Product Status: 
Sold