Exhibition: 2Oth century Art Collection - Bilbao Fine Arts Museum


2008-01-21 • 2008-03-02

2Oth century Art Collection

1st Floor - Contemporary Art

Art Collection 20 is an exceptional set of 63 artworks (48 paintings and 15 sculptures) by 46 leading 20th century artists, accompanied by a few works from the 19th and 21st centuries. The Collection belongs to a local collector who, while preferring to remain anonymous, has made the extraordinarily generous gesture of depositing it in the Museum for an initial, renewable, period of five years.

The importance of the collection may be gauged from the names of the leading artists represented, the roll-call for this representation including Alenza (hall 17), Sorolla (hall 25), Kandinsky, Torres García, Julio González, Picabia, Klee, Picasso, Blanchard, Gleizes, Léger, Braque, Metzinger, Gris, Chagall, De Chirico, Ernst, Miró, Dalí, Domínguez, Oteiza, Chillida, Palazuelo, Tàpies, Millares, Saura, Barceló, Gordillo, Cragg, Navarro, and Kapoor.

Besides being the most important private collection created in the Basque Country in recent decades, its arrival at the Bilbao Fine Arts Museum signifies the continuation of a tradition of art collection in Vizcaya that grew up alongside the turn-of-the-century industrial revolution in the province, and which led to the creation and growth of the Museum.

In its centenary year, the Museum seeks to pay tribute to everyone who helped to start, increase and enrich its collection, from its beginnings to the present day. Donations, gifts and deposits from collectors and institutions have made a decisive contribution to one of the finest collections in our cultural and artistic milieu, which in one hundred years has managed to acquire remarkable works from ten centuries of art history.

Having this extraordinary set of works by virtually all the great masters of the 20th century in deposit means we can now show our visitors works by great contemporary artists and, for the first time, albeit temporarily, paintings by Picasso, Miró and Dali, among others.

From the very first acquisition, Picasso's The painter and his model I, the collection has run along two basic lines: Spanish art from the 19th and 20th centuries, from Romanticism to the avant-garde, and international art of the 20th century. From the 20th century include some superb Cubist and related works, such as paintings by Jean Metzinger, Albert Gleizes, Juan Gris, Georges Braque, Pablo Picasso and Fernand Léger. Surrealism was the other great movement of the century, and is represented in the collection by works from the leading Surrealists, like Max Ernst, Francis Picabia, Giorgio De Chirico, Salvador Dali, Joan Miró, Óscar Domínguez and Marc Chagall. Two unclassifiable geniuses are Paul Klee and Vassily Kandinsky.

Returning to contemporary Spanish art, the abstract art known as Informalism covers Antoni Tàpies, Antonio Saura, Manolo Millares, and their influence on Miquel Barceló, while figurative art includes works by Luis Gordillo and the Equipo Crónica. In sculpture, the collection boasts works by Julio González, Jorge Oteiza, Eduardo Chillida, Pablo Palazuelo (outside of the Museum), Txomin Badiola, Miquel Navarro, Richard Serra, Anish Kapoor (the entrance of the Museum) and Tony Cragg.


In the image:
Pablo Picasso (1881-1973)
Le peintre et son modèle I, 1963
Oil on canvas
Deposit. Bilbao Fine Arts Museum