In the celebration of its ten-year anniversary, the Fortabat museum, home to the private art collection of Amalia Lacroze de Fortabat, will re-open its doors this Friday in Puerto Madero after having undergone a new and exciting transformation that all art fanatics have been waiting for.
A Bit of History
This two-story contemporary building, with a striking view of the river and docks, is home to over 230 pieces of work divided into seven different galleries over 6,000 square meters of indoor space. With high ceilings and light rooms, it’s an idyllic contemporary space to absorb some of the most impressive works of art to date, including pieces by Salvador Dalí, Gustav Klimt, and Andy Warhol.
It even has mobile aluminum awnings over the roof, which coordinate with the sun in order to ensure that the lighting is perfect in the gallery from opening time to closing. Baring this in mind, it isn’t then hard to believe that this private collection belongs to one of the wealthiest women in Argentina, the late, great “Amalita,” whose generous donations to the foundation granted Marcelo Pacheco, the renowned art historian, the artistic liberty to re-design the museum in celebration.
Who Was Amalia Lacroze?
Chairwoman and chief stock-holder of Loma Negra – the leading manufacturer of cement in Latin America – Amalia Lacroze de Fortabat lived from 1921-2012, and was known for being a major art collector and philanthropist throughout the 20th century. Granddaughter of Federico Lacroze, inventor of Buenos Aires’ first tramway line, and patron of the arts, she amassed a large collection, reportedly valued at US $280 million in 1999. To this day her gallery is one of the best in the city, with a value to match. Money was no obstacle for Lacroze, and she would spend large fortunes to fill her gallery – namely US $6.4 million in 1980 for J.M.W. Turner’s painting Juliet and Her Nurse (1836).
The Museum: What’s New
Separated into two distinct categories, International and Argentine, the classical and contemporary works will be spread across both floors, with a number of new artworks also being released. Here are the two biggest changes:
- What used to be the family gallery featuring a piano and Antonio Berni’s portraits of Fortabat’s grandchildren is now the international art collection. Berni’s paintings have been removed and replaced by the works of artists such as Maarten van Meemmskerck, Pieter Brueghel II and Willian Turner, to name a few.
- The Argentine gallery, decidedly named Alejandro Bengolea by the Fortabat family after the first grandson of Amalia Lacroze, will include the works of Alberto Greco, Jorge de la Vega, and of course, the renowned Alberto Berni. It aims to tell the tale of 19th-century Argentine painters and the tensions between modernism and conservatism, with the clash of time-periods being central to the newly curated layout.
Antonio Berni in the Spotlight
Ramona Espera, one of the most prestigious works of the Argentine figurative artist Antonio Berni, is just one of his many pieces that will be displayed in the exhibition opening on Friday. Commonly associated with the ‘New-Realism’ movement, a Latin American extension of social realism, Berni’s works include a series of Juanito Laguna collages depicting poverty and the effects of industrialization in Buenos Aires, which have been exhibited all around the world.
In an interview with La Nacion, Pacheco states that Ramona Espera is without a doubt one of Berni’s best works: “it is one of the most elaborate, bold, personal and original”. He argues that it “reflects the neurotic imbalances of a woman and her social condition, trapped by the web of consumer society”.
With free entry after 12 PM, the Fortabat will open its doors this Friday to this new exhibition, with celebratory drinks at 7 PM. No need to book, but make sure you get down on time to take in all that this astonishing gallery has to offer.
Fortabat Gallery | Olga Cosentini 141 – Puerto Madero | Tuesday – Sunday, 12 – 8 PM