On the nights of February 13, 15 and 17, 1922, the Municipal Theater of São Paulo hosted an art festival, with an exhibition of paintings, poetry recitations, literary conferences and music recitals. A group of young people, in tune with the international avant-garde and supported by the city's patrons, set out to review the traditional ways of writing and making art in Brazil. The imposing theatre, inaugurated in 1911, was located in the vicinity of the Anhangabaú Valley, decorated with gardens and statues, with an art nouveau-style viaduct equipped with iron metal structures.
In that same perimeter, and just months after the 1922 Modern Art Week, football would take the spotlight in downtown São Paulo. Thousands of fans flocked to Anhangabaú to follow the news that the newspaper O Estado de S. Paulo announced about the games of the Brazilian National Team in the South American Championship that year, which took place in the city of Rio de Janeiro. While the Brazilian National Team’s matches were taking place in the then capital of the Republic, information sent by telegraph to the newspaper’s headquarters updated the scores on the facade of the building, thrilling the crowd and creating a national identification with football, which would become potent throughout the 20th century.
Since then, Anhangabaú has become a customary meeting place for fans who, nowadays, at World Cups, watch the matches on the big screen. The modernists, on the other hand, if they were looking for this pause from the arts in the urban daily life, perhaps they still did not know that it was necessary to leave the halls and go to meet the pulsating experience of football in the very surroundings of the Theater. Some of them, like Mário and Oswald, would soon realize this in the following years.
Snapshots of fans during Brazil’s matches in the 1994 and 2014 World Cups. The earliest origins of this tradition go back to 1922, when people gathered in front of the headquarters of the newspaper O Estado de S. Paulo to find out the results of the Brazil National Team matches, valid for the South American Championship of that year.
Photograph: Fabio Rubinato | Folhapress.
Photograph: Rubens Chaves | Folhapress.
Animation showing the movement around the Municipal Theater during the Modern Art Week, and the audience of fans in Vale do Anhangabaú waiting for information about the South American Football Championship matches, both in 1922.
Video: Images | Production and Editing: Archimídia