Ponce Museum of Art

Ponce Museum of Art

The Ponce Museum of Art (Museo de Arte de Ponce) in Ponce, Puerto Rico, is one of the largest and most famous museums in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean. It was founded by politician and philanthropist Luis A. Ferré, and it was officially inaugurated in December 28, 1965. The museum holds an impressive collection of over 3,000 pieces distributed among fourteen galleries.

Museum History

The project of the museum officially began in 1956 when Luis A. Ferré traveled to Europe. There he bought copies of some masterpieces. Those first copies would encourage him to buy seventy one paintings in an auction in New York. In 1959, he opened a museum in a house in Cristina Street in Ponce. Some of these original paintings are still on display in the current museum.

Later, Ferré would obtain a section of land in Las Americas Avenue in Ponce, to build the museum and donate a portion of the land to the Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico. In April 23, 1964 the first stone was placed and the construction of the museum began. It was finished in 1965 and officially opened in December 28, 1965.

The building and architecture

The design of the building was made by renowned architect, Edward Durell Stone. One of the main features of the museum is its hexagonal galleries, which allow natural light to pour through its corners bringing a unique illumination to them.

The museum has a total of 14 galleries, two gardens, and an amphitheater. The main entrance with its bifurcated ladders is another of the main features of the museum.

The museum is currently undergoing a Renovation & Expansion project to restore and repair parts of the museum which have deteriorated due to time and several hurricanes which passed in the mid-1990s.

The Museum

The museum has an impressive collection of over 3,000 pieces that range from the 14th to the 20th century, Italian Baroque, British Pre-Raphaelite, Spanish Golden Age and contemporary Latin-American Art.

The main masterpiece of the museum is the Flaming June, painted by Frederic Leighton. Ferré bought this piece for $6,000 in London, and it was one of his favorites.

The Last Sleep of Arthur in Avalon, the final masterpiece of Sir Edward Burne-Jones is in the collection. The enormous painting was started in 1881 and left unfinished at the artist's death in 1898.

Both Flaming June and The Last Sleep of Arthur in Avalon are on loan to Tate Britain while the gallery undergoes a two-year refurbishment.

The museum has also housed several expositions of some of the best and most renowned artists of the world. In March 2006, the museum exhibited the work of renowned Mexican artist Frida Kahlo.

The Museum charges a small admission fee to the public, but most revenues come from substantial donations made by Puerto Rican individuals and business. Some have made single donations for the sole purpose of acquiring art to be exhibited in the museum, while others donate for the maintenance and operational expenditures of the museum. A bronze plaque placed in the front entrance, next to the information booth, recognizes these donors.

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