Helga de Alvear was born in the city of Kirn/Nahe (Rheinland-Pfalz), Germany, in 1936. She studied at the Salem School near Lake Constance, and subsequently in Lausanne and Geneva, Switzerland. She furthered her studies afterwards in London for a year.
In 1957 she travelled to Spain to learn Spanish and met the architect Jaime de Alvear. They married in 1959 and she set up residence in Madrid. They have three children, Maria, Ana and Patricia.
In 1967 Helga de Alvear met Juana Mordó and began what would later turn into her art collection. She came into contact with artists from the Cuenca group and from the El Paso group and she became increasingly interested in the Spanish art scene.
In January 1980 she started to work at the Juana Mordó gallery: those were years of apprenticeship, both in relation to management and to honing her knowledge about international art scene, particularly thanks to attending art fairs such as Art Basel, the FIAC in Paris and the Cologne Fair. Furthermore, in 1982 art galleries took a step towards innovating the Spanish scene by establishing the ARCO art fair.
As time passed, Helga de Alvear’s involvement at the Juana Mordó gallery became essential until in 1984, when Juana died, she took the helm. Over the next 10 years she would follow in the artistic and professional footsteps of her mentor.
In 1995, however, she decided to take a turn in her career by opening a new gallery under her own name in a space measuring more than 900 square metres next to the Reina Sofía Museum. Her latest project championed international contemporary art with a special emphasis on photography, video and installation – at a time when these mediums were practically unknown in Spain.
Today, Helga de Alvear’s project is one of the best-established and longest-running art galleries on the Spanish scene and it has earned widespread international acclaim. Helga de Alvear has been awarded the Medal of Extremadura in 2007 and the Gold Medal for Merit in the category of Fine Arts in 2008, which is bestowed by the Spanish Ministry of Culture, the Medal of Cáceres in 2011 and the Bundervendientskreuz am Banden in 2014 to mention just a few.
While carrying out her professional duties Helga de Alvear has been able to give free rein to her grand passion: art collecting. At the present time her Collection includes more than 2,500 pieces by Spanish and international artists.