Private museums of renowned collectors are considered part of the richness of the artistic landscape and are destinations of true pilgrimages. Particular biographies are also manifested in this type of institution which adds greatly to their appeal. It is logical for art dealers not only to sell art, but also to informedly concentrate it within their own collections. This activity, however, does not attract as much attention save in exceptional cases such as the Beyeler Collection. Dealers such as Bärbel Grässlin, whose clan periodically grants the opportunity of discovering the family’s collection at the Kunstraum Grässlin in Schwarzwald, Germany; to which she contributes substantially, or Helga de Alvear, who found an adequate home for her collection in Spain, follow different models.


In central Caceres, far from her gallery in Madrid, Helga de Alvear found an ideal space for her Visual Arts Center. Nevertheless, when all seemed to have been in place, the ambitious project will require more time than had originally been planned. The latest objective was to complete the second part of the complex for late 2019 but now the answer given when Mr. Alberto Gallardo González de Castejón was inquired about the subject was the following: “we cannot guarantee it”. The extension building is under construction “and we hope it will open soon”.


The same could have been said two years prior. At the time, 2018 was the foreseen date for the opening. But the worksite is not even open to inspection. Apparently the delay is considerable. It is a shame. The dealer and patron, who was born in Rheinland-Palatinate in 1959 and married a Spaniard, created her foundation at 70 years of age and will turn 82 this year. Her collection includes close to 3,000 works she will bequeath to the Regional Government of Extremadura. It is about time this project came to fruition in the city of Caceres, a UNESCO World Heritage site.


From 2010 Helga de Alvear has been presenting temporary exhibitions in an impressive historical building, the Casa Grande, to which Emilio Tuñon is adding a new building costing ten million Euros, increasing exhibition space by 3,000 m2. In all, the art center will have a total surface of 8,000 m2. Tuñon worked with Rafael Moneo, opened his own studio with Luis Moreno Mansilla in 1992, taught at the Städeschule in Frankfurt am Main, among other places, and has built relatively small museums. When something is not going as rapidly as it should, Spaniards usually say “it is very complex”. As simple as that.


Dorothee Baer-Bogenschütz