Cargaleiro (1927-2024)
July 4, 2024

Cargaleiro (1927-2024)

The lyrical painter

A much-loved and well-known artist, with work recognized by the general public and specialized critics, Manuel Cargaleiro wanted every house to have one of his works. And it was effectively with a silkscreen print of his own, “Le Petit Jardin”, that the CPS began its journey, opening access to the work of this great painter for new collectors.



Manuel Cargaleiro, “Le Petit Jardim”, a primeira serigrafia editada pelo CPS, em 1985.

Manuel Cargaleiro, “Le Petit Jardim”, the first silkscreen printed by CPS, in 1985.



He was born in the municipality of Vila Velha de Rodão, Castelo Branco, a city that would establish, in 1990, the Manuel Cargaleiro Foundation and, in 2005, the Cargaleiro Museum, which houses his private collection and a vast collection of his work.



The first work purchased for his collection was a drawing by Lourdes Castro, still at the Lisbon School of Fine Arts. Cargaleiro would go on to say that the collection he created was always built solely with a didactic sense, the possibility of passing on to others the experience of discovery and beauty



While still a child, the family moved to a farm in Costa da Caparica. It was where he discovered ceramics, when he observed, fascinated, a potter who worked near his school. All the discovery, experimentation and work in this area began there.


His joy in living was conveyed by the freshness and luminosity of his artistic work. Nature has always been his theme, capturing the richness of colors and light, the rhythms and dynamics of its elements.



His work is part of "Lusíadas", one of the most emblematic editions of the CPS, from 1994, which includes other renowned artists such as Júlio Pomar, Maluda or Artur Bual.



"I want to convey the light and mystery that exists in natural situations. That is my message, constructive and true."

Manuel Cargaleiro



Always curious and a great lover of nature, Cargaleiro studied science before switching to the painting course, Belas-Artes de Lisboa, against his family's wishes. His persistence, tenacity and focus on his work gave rise to a unique work of great originality and clear authorship.


In addition to ceramics, he worked in other media: drawing and painting the most frequent, but also tapestry and print work. In 1994, he participated in the emblematic edition of the CPS, “Os Lusíadas”, together with other renowned artists, such as Júlio Pomar, Maluda and Artur Bual. And in 2006, his relationship with the CPS led to the creation of the beautiful art album “Oito Canções de Outono – Sequência em Contraponto”, with poems by Vasco Graça Moura and graphic work and tiles by him.



Manuel Cargaleiro no Atelier do CPS, com António Prates, fundador do CPS.

Manuel Cargaleiro in the CPS Studio, with António Prates, the founder of CPS. 

Manuel Cargaleiro no Atelier CPS.

 Manuel Cargaleiro in the CPS Studio.



In 1957 he received a scholarship from the Italian government to study ceramics in Faenza, Rome and Florence. He also received a scholarship from the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation for an internship at the Faiencerie de Gien, France, one of the most prestigious faience factories in the world. In Paris he lived with Lourdes Castro and René Bértholo, created great friendships with Vieira da Silva and Arpad Szenes, spent time with artists such as Max Ernst, Hans Arp or Sonia Delaunay. He was Picasso's neighbor, but admits he never had the courage to knock on his door.



Manuel Cargaleiro in his Home-Atelier, Paris, 1972. Photo by Ursula Zangger.



His connection with France and Italy was never lost. He has public works in several locations, such as the well-known Champs Elysées-Clémenceau metro station, in Paris and, in 2004, the Museo Artistico Industriale di Ceramica Manuel Cargaleiro opened its doors, in Italy. Nowadays, we can say that Manuel Cargaleiro was the one who made the ceramics produced in Portugal known to the world.


To go through the life and work of Manuel Cargaleiro is to embark on a fascinating journey: 97 years of inexhaustible curiosity and experimentation, openness to the new and space, always, for creativity. Originality, complex simplicity – the truth through symbols to be revealed. The poetry of colors and light, the calligraphy of nature. The kindness, delicacy and beauty expressed in life and painting.





“I was born looking at the sky and the sea. Blue accompanies me, it is always present”

Manuel Cargaleiro