A museum you’ve never seen! The renewed Modern Art collection


We are reopening the first floor dedicated to Modern Art, after a process of renovation of the collections, the galleries and the museography. We have turned everything round in the museum so as to explain a new narrative and to provide a new way of looking at the collection. These have been six vibrant and hectic months to carry out the project. A project that the whole of the museum staff has worked on, in collaboration with other external professionals. We are happy to present it to you also with renewed enthusiasm.

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3 key ideas of the new presentation

■ It is the central project of the new period for the museum which started in 2012 and, in accordance with the Strategy 2017, has become key in placing the Museu Nacional in the artistic and cultural centrality of the country and also at an international level.

A new critical and complex narrative that avoids the mere succession of styles and names, and that includes all the artistic productions of the period:sculpture and painting, drawings and prints, photography, poster work, cinema, architecture and the decorative arts. With a greater presence of elements that will help you to understand the social, historic and artistic context, and highlight the international connections of the artists and movements Barcelona and Catalonia.

■ This new presentation of the collection for the 19th and 20th centuries, takes us as far as the 1950s for the first time, including the movement Dau al Set. (the first post-World War II artistic movement in Catalonia).

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4 notes about the content

The modern artist: a new approach to the figure of the artist over two centuries. A tour in sections such as portraits and self-portraits, learning in the academy and studio, the bohemian world, the bourgeoisie, and Orientalism.

Modernism and Gaudí find their home in the Museu Nacional. Our museum becomes the centre of reference for Modernism with the incorporation of a large space dedicated to the movement. A permanent new space has been created dedicated to Gaudí with more than 35 original works that will constitute the biggest permanent exhibition of the artist. Agreements with the Sagrada Família, the Jujol archive and other collections have allowed the large contribution of original works and the start of a new line of research work and international diffusion of Gaudí.

Photography becomes an essential part of the museographic discourse. More than 290 photographs are exhibited covering all the periods, starting with the daguerreotypes from the nineteenth century until the present day.

■ Civil War art has its own space: traditional arts – painting, sculpture, prints, and the new media – illustrated publications, posters, photography, photomontage, and cinema, are joined together in a mobilisation of propaganda and the commitment of the artists in the fight against fascism.

The director of the museum, Pepe Serra, and the chief curator, Juanjo Lahuerta, with the exhibition assemblers.

A few weeks ago the chief curator explained in this blog the background of the new formats and new narratives in the Modern Art collection.

Some facts and figures regarding the renovation

■ 4,000 m2 of exhibition
■ 2,000 works have been moved during the process, among works that have changed places, new acquisitions, works which have come out of the storage rooms, and works which have returned
■ more than 1,350 works exhibited. More than:
300 paintings
290 photographs
220 pieces of decorative arts
200 drawings
105 sculptures
75 posters
60 numismatic pieces
50 prints
4 films

■ 900 works have left the storage rooms (60% of the works have come out for the first time or had only done so on specific occasions for temporary exhibitions)
■ 280 works restored
■ 260 artists
■ 4 sections (distributed in 31 subdivisions) and 1 epilogue
■ 880 light projectors (spotlights)
■ 13,884 m2 of total area painted

The restoration team intervening in a work in the galleries.

As often happens with major projects, on the way some things have been dropped, either because of the schedule or due to the budget, such as managing to obtain more artworks, renewing frames of the collection or doing another reform of the spaces. For the near future we have in preparation the elaboration of interpretative elements such as the new museum guide in paper, new audio-guides or mobile apps. For the time being, the visit and complementary materials are only available on the website.

If you haven’t ever visited the museum, now’s your chance, and if you’ve already been, now’s the moment to come back! We’re eager to receive your comments here in the blog or on the social media.

Related links

Flickr album of the Museu Nacional with images of the assembly process

Photos: Marta Mèrida

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