Lovers of modern art, Lisbon will now have to be reckoned with. The Berardo Museum, which has just opened on the banks of the Tagus in Belém, houses one of the richest private collections of contemporary art in the Old Continent. Nearly 900 works by great XNUMXth century artists are on permanent display there. We knew Lisbon for fado and saudade: it's time to discover it for its Andy Warhol, Jeff Koons or Yves Klein. An additional asset for the beautiful Portuguese city.
A new gem in Belém
At the mouth of the Tagus, the Belém district in Lisbon symbolizes the wildest dreams of the Portuguese. A national heritage monument, the Tower of Belém, by the river, has seen a number of ships departing for the New World. Today, the backpacker comes there to smell the sea air that made the local conquistadores so fantasize, but also to visit the magnificent monastery of Hyéronimites (where the navigator Vasco de Gama rests). The most greedy go on a pilgrimage to Belém ("Bethlehem" in Portuguese) to taste the delicious pasteis de nata (cream cakes), a kind of custard that is part of the local culinary pantheon.
On June 25, a jewel was added to the crown of Belém, the Berardo museum, which will undoubtedly be inscribed on the tourist map of Lisbon, but also in the world atlas of contemporary art. Located in the recent Centro cultural de Belém - which is to Lisbon what Lincoln Center is to New York - this new institution has been tailor-made to accommodate the collection of the wealthy Portuguese industrialist, Joe Berardo.
It is clear that friend Joe has taste. In twenty years, this shrewd collector has built up a lot of booty, which covers all the great artistic schools of the 4th century. Joe's treasure? Almost 000 works, signed by masters such as Andy Warhol, Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dalí, Marcel Duchamp, René Magritte, Joan Miró, Francis Bacon, Jackson Pollock, Yves Klein, Jeff Koons and many others.
Perhaps you have already had the chance to see some of these paintings which circulate in temporary exhibitions around the world. But that was not enough for Joe who wanted HIS museum. The cities of Miami or Paris were for a moment interested in the project. It was Lisbon that finally won the cup by offering to devote part of its prestigious Centro cultural de Belém to the colleção Berardo.
862 works, 70 artistic trends and more if they have any affinities
In all, 862 works can be seen in the museum's permanent collection, which will be supplemented by temporary exhibitions of other works from the Berardo collection. Some are already on display at the Museum of Modern Art in Sintra. The importance of the Berardo collection will allow rotations between works, many of which will not be on permanent display. This concept, which "wants to be dynamic, didactic and flexible", is somewhat reminiscent of the functioning of the Guggenheim museums which fully play the card of rotation.
Nearly 70 artistic movements are represented - and explained - at the Belém museum. Ideal for taking stock of movements as fruitful (and sometimes obscure!) As fluxus, neo-constructivism, lettrism, body art, De Stijl or arte povera. In addition to modern and contemporary art, the collection also includes art deco, Portuguese ceramics, African art and digital works. And yes, my Berardo is rich! Make the most of it...
Another asset for Lisbon
Lisbon, on the other hand, was not too much prayed for to welcome Berardo's nest egg. Indeed, if the Portuguese capital is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, it does not really shine on the international cultural scene. Of course, the artistic treasures of the Gulbenkian Foundation alone are worth the trip. But Lisbon lacks the equivalent of a Pompidou Center, a Tate Modern or a Reina-Sofia museum. The Berardo Museum fills this void to propel Lisbon among the great artistic destinations in Europe. A hell of a bet.
One more. Because, since Expo 98, the "sleeping beauty" on the banks of the Tagus has emerged from her torpor shrouded in saudade. On the banks of the river, precisely, between Baixa and Belém, the city is reinventing itself. In Bairro Alto and Chiado, it vibrates after dark. Lisbon, which is riding a fad, attracts Europe and not only, for clichés based on fado. Now we will also have to take into account the Berardo museum ...
Illustration: Andy Warhol (1928 - 1987), Ten-foot Flowers, 1967, serigraphy ink on synthetic polymer on canvas.
Berardo Collection Museum (Museu colleção Berardo)
Centro cultural de Belém
Praça do Império, 1449-003 Lisboa. Phone. : 213-612-913. Fax: 213-612-570.
Open every day from 10 a.m. to 19 p.m., Friday (and Saturday and Sunday in summer) at night until 22 p.m.
Admission: € 5, free on Sunday and from 18 p.m. to 22 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, for children under 18 and teachers. Reduction for students and over 65s.
Overview and history of the Berardo collection
To go to the Berardo museum
From the center, take tram n ° 15 or bus n ° 43 or 28 on praça do Comercio. You can also get to Belém by train from Cais do Sodré.