Rubem Valentim was born in Salvador, Bahia, on February 9, 1922, and died in São Paulo in 1991. He lived and worked in Bahia, Rio de Janeiro, Rome, Brasília and São Paulo. Before becoming a painter, engraver and sculptor, he graduated from dental school in 1946. After working for two years as a dentist, he left the profession to devote himself to art.
In 1946, he began attending the Bahia School of Fine Arts and was part of the movement of modernist artists from Bahia. In 1953, he graduated with a degree in Journalism, which explains his close relationship with the written text. In 1976, he published the famous Manifesto ainda que tardio (“Manifesto, albeit belated“), in which he defended an anticolonialist agenda in the arts. In his lifetime, Valentim held 17 solo exhibitions both in and outside Brazil. After his death, his work continues to be exhibited frequently, with his pieces included in two hundred exhibitions in several different countries, among them the 1st World Festival of Negro Arts in Dakar (1966) and the 23rd Bienal Internacional de São Paulo (1996). In 1998, the Museum of Modern Art of Bahia (MAM) inaugurated a special room in his honor. His works are in the permanent collections of several museums both in Brazil and abroad.