The abstract art is historically linked to the Portuguese Independents exhibitions, its main organizer and coordinator, Fernando Lanhas, coincidentally is the central figure of abstractionism.
After the I exhibition in April 1943, in the of Fine Arts School of Porto, with sculptures of Altino Maia, Mário Truta, Arlindo Rocha, Serafim Teixeira, Augusto Tavares and Manuel Pereira da Silva, the Independents exhibitions will be place outside the school and several times outside the Oporto, a first example of decentralization, does not avoid a certain marginalization of Oporto artists on events and initiatives for greater visibility and impact of the capital.
The II Independent Exhibition shows, in February 1944, at the Atheneum Commercial of Oporto, with sculptures of Altino Maia, Arlindo Rocha, Eduardo Tavares, Joaquim Meireles, Manuel Monteiro da Cunha, Maria Graciosa de Carvalho, Mário Truta, M. Félix de Brito, Manuel Pereira da Silva and Serafim Teixeira. It will be from there that the action of Fernando Lanhas will be felt in the consistent quality of the catalogue and exhibitions, as well as persistence in keeping alive the initiatives.
The III Independents Exhibition takes place in the same year, in the hall of the Coliseum of Oporto, with sculptures of Abel Salazar, Altino Maia, Antonio Azevedo, Arlindo Rocha, Eduardo Tavares, Henrique Moreira, Manuel Pereira da Silva, Mário Truta and Sousa Caldas. In the catalogue of the exhibition, that goes to Coimbra, Leiria and Lisbon, in 1945, states that the name of “Independents” is not a name at random, but involves the awareness that art is a heritage of humanity and hence the “Our presence varied, it being understood that this should enable it to build the future, can not be denied the right to remember the past (1).
For Fernando Lanhas the “Independents Exhibition” of Oporto is a significant historical moment in our painting and sculpture. First, because together painters and sculptors of different training (the reason for the word “Independents” has no affiliation of an “ism” particular), also engaged in a collective action and immersed in the same enthusiasm. Second, because there appears, without pre-concepts or complexes, this original and fruitful abstraction. And thirdly, because they escape to the centralized voracity of the capital.
Between 1946 and 1950, there are four more independent exhibitions in the Bookstore Gallery Portugála, in Oporto, on 46, 48 and 50, and one in Braga in the 49.
From 1943 to 1950, exhibited in almost all expositions the painters Amândio Silva, Aníbal Alcino, António Lino, Chambers Carlos Ramos, Dordio Gomes, Fernando Lanham, Júlio Pomar, Júlio Resende, Nadir Afonso, Rui Pimentel and Vitor Palla.