Niemeyer directed the creation of Brazil's new capital, Brasília (1950-60), within Costa's master plan. His remarkable original work on this project brought him enormous acclaim, and it is usually considered his masterpiece. In later years, the city has been widely criticized as a mistake in urban planning, ill-conceived because it has no relation to its jungle site or, with its wide soulless spaces, to the patterns of life in Brazil. Nonetheless, the government buildings designed by Niemeyer—particularly the presidential residence, foreign ministry, and Supreme Court—continue to win high praise for their graceful moderninsm. Niemeyer's later buildings include the headquarters for the French Communist party in Paris (1965), the Mondadori Publishing House in Milan (1968), Constantine Univ. in Algeria (1969), and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Niterói, just outside Rio (1996). In 1988 Niemeyer was awarded the Pritzker Prize.
See his memoir, The Curves of Time (tr. 2000); biographical studies by S. Papadaki (1960) and R. Spade, ed. (1971); studies by D. K. Underwood (1994), M. Salvaing (2002), and A. Hess (2006).
See biographies by D. Taylor (1953), S. Green (1963), J. F. Cone (1966), J. Hammond (1970), and H. Fordin (1977); E. Mordden, Rodgers and Hammerstein (1992); S. Citron, Wordsmiths: Oscar Hammerstein 2nd and Alan Jay Lerner (1995).
Later he began writing for and editing periodicals, but his active literary career began with the publication of Lord Arthur Savile's Crime and Other Stories (1891) and two collections of fairy tales, The Happy Prince (1888) and The House of Pomegranates (1892). In 1891 his novel Picture of Dorian Gray appeared. A tale of horror, it depicts the corruption of a beautiful young man pursuing an ideal of sensual indulgence and moral indifference; although he himself remains young and handsome, his portrait becomes ugly, reflecting his degeneration.
Wilde's stories and essays were well received, but his creative genius found its highest expression in his plays—Lady Windermere's Fan (1892), A Woman of No Importance (1893), An Ideal Husband (1895), and his masterpiece, The Importance of Being Earnest (1895), which were all extremely clever and filled with pithy epigrams and paradoxes. Wilde explained away their lack of depth by saying that he put his genius into his life and only his talent into his books. He also wrote two historical tragedies, The Duchess of Padua (1892) and Salomé (1893).
In 1891, Wilde met and quite soon became intimate with the considerably younger, handsome, and dissolute Lord Alfred Douglas (nicknamed "Bosie"). Soon the marquess of Queensberry, Douglas's father, began railing against Wilde and later wrote him a note accusing him of homosexual practices. Foolishly, Wilde brought action for libel against the marquess and was himself charged with homosexual offenses under the Criminal Law Amendment, found guilty, and sentenced (1895) to prison for two years. His experiences in jail inspired his most famous poem, The Ballad of Reading Gaol (1898), and the apology published by his literary executor as De Profundis (1905). Released from prison in 1897, Wilde found himself a complete social outcast in England and, plagued by ill health and bankruptcy, lived in France under an assumed name until his death.
See his collected works, ed. by R. Ross (1969); letters, ed. by R. Hart-Davis (1962); complete letters, ed. by M. Holland and R. Hart-Davis (2000); notebooks, ed. by P. E. Smith 2d and M. S. Helfant (1989); biographies by R. Ellman (1988) and P. Raby (1988); studies by M. Fido (1974), N. Kohl (1989), and G. Woodcock (1989).