The Fundacio's collection of contemporary art opens to visitors this month
April 2007 - The sleek white rooms of Fundació Suñol will open to visitors later on this month, giving Barcelona’s art buffs access to a contemporary art collection that has been hidden from the public until now. The collection includes works by Andy Warhol, Alberto Giacometti and photographer Man Ray, as well as a solid collection of works by Spanish and Catalan artists such as Picasso, Dalí, Tàpies and Gargallo.
The sleek white rooms of Fundació Suñol will open to visitors later on this month, giving Barcelona’s art buffs access to a contemporary art collection that has been hidden from the public until now. The collection includes works by Andy Warhol, Alberto Giacometti and photographer Man Ray, as well as a solid collection of works by Spanish and Catalan artists such as Picasso, Dalí, Tàpies and Gargallo.
The collection is the fruit of a 35-year collecting crusade by Josep Suñol, a Catalan businessman who keeps a determinedly low profile, giving few interviews and rarely appearing at glitzy art-world parties. However, since purchasing his artworks in the early Seventies—a group of pieces including a Tàpies and a Giacometti—Suñol has quietly amassed over 1,200 paintings and sculptures.
“Mr. Suñol is a very private person,” said Sergi Aguilar, the foundation’s director. “That’s why the collection has been such a surprise [since the foundation’s opening was announced]. When he bought many works, in the Eighties, he did it very subtly and over a long period of time.” Suñol’s highly personal choices of what to buy were always guided by his sense of the collection as a whole, according to Aguilar. “Ninety percent of the works he buys, he does so because they link to the others; there’s a very personal dialogue between the works for him.”
Suñol started the process of opening up his collection to the public back in 2002, when he started the foundation. Renovation work on the foundation’s premises, occupying two floors and the terrace of a Passeig de Gràcia building, started in 2003 but has taken a long time to complete. While the project has been in full swing, Aguilar said, Suñol has stopped buying new works in order to concentrate on supervising the project. “His creative energies have been directed at the building—when the renovation is finished he’ll be able to go on buying.”
The renovation, by young local architect Jordi Bordas, means that the challenging collection of paintings and sculptures is housed in a series of clean, carefully plain interconnecting spaces, with another large exhibition space beside the interior patio and a few sculptures on the terrace itself.
Around 100 works are on display at any one time; in Espai Zero, the large exhibition space by the terrace, Aguilar intends to stage temporary exhibitions of works by younger artists. “This space is reserved for avant-garde pieces, such as video art. It allows me to programme exhibitions with some artists I believe are extremely interesting,” said Aguilar.
A huge amount of care has been taken in the presentation of the works themselves. Rather than grouping artists by date, school or nationality, works are grouped together thematically, so that they explain one another and interact with one another. Thus, works by Picasso, Dalí and Miró face portraits of the artists themselves taken by Man Ray. Other rooms are organised by colour or, even more simply, by mood. In order to preserve the blank simplicity of the works’ surroundings, there are no signs indicating the artist or name of the works; these are given in brochures for those who are interested. The intention is to present the works in the purest possible context, so that the dialogue between them is highlighted.
Passeig de Gràcia 98
Tel. 93 496 1032, www.fundaciosunol.org