1963: Gottlieb is awarded the Grande Prêmio at the VII São Paulo Bienal
Video created using original footage from the award ceremony at the Bienal.
In April 1963, an exhibition of forty-five works by Adolph Gottlieb opened at The Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
In September of that year, the exhibition travelled from Minneapolis to Brazil to represent the United States at the VII São Paulo Bienal, where it was installed at the American Section of the VII Bienal do Arte Moderna. The Bienal Internacional de São Paulo was founded a few years prior in 1951, but had quickly reached a level of worldwide prestige as the first arts biennial to focus explicitly on Modern art.
For Martin Friedman, then director of the Walker Art Center, the "principal concern was to organize an exhibition that would bring together some of the most vivid manifestations of art in the United States," as he told Brazilian newspaper Diáro de São Paulo.
On the basis of the exhibition, Gottlieb was awarded the Grande Prêmio prize, thus becoming the first American artist to receive the distinguished award. He and Esther Gottlieb travelled to Brazil, where they were received with great honor.
One Brazilian newspaper praised the selection of Gottlieb for the Grande Prêmio as a step forward for culture "this side of the Atlantic," and Diáro de São Paulo reported that Gottlieb considered it "a further contribution to the movement that has slowly revolutionized the situation of American art."