Vieira da Silva was born in Lisbon, Portugal on June 13th 1908. She took a very devoted interest in drawing at a young age. By the age of eleven she had started her studies at the Academia de Belas-Artes. Silva was quickly picked out due to her obvious superior talents and taken to study beyond the boundaries of the academic system with the Portuguese masters of the time. Among these masters included the painter Fernand Léger, the sculpture Antoine Bourdelle, and engraver Stanley Hayter.
In 1928, Silva was prompted to move to Paris in order to further study sculpture. Once in Paris however, this move triggered something in Silva to pursue painting over sculpture. By the time 1930 came around she was already exhibiting her paintings around the city. She was an instant hit because her thick complexly layered paintings were unplaceable for that time. In her work she dealt with the nuances of developing space and then destroying said space, as well as the existence of time.
At the outbreak of World War II, Silva and her husband Arpád moved to Brazil. There they stayed until 1947, all the while staying busy creating paintings upon paintings and exhibiting them throughout Brazil. Together they returned to Paris in 1947. Silva continued to be a relevant figure in the world of painting up until her death in 1992.