of Beaux Arts
The María Luisa Bemberg Collection will be exhibited at the National Museum of Beaux Arts.
This collection is constituted by twenty-seven artworks of Argentine and Uruguayan artists; it was donated in 1995. There are paintings by Barradas, Figari, Torres García, Xul Solar and Pettoruti. There is also a Penalba sculpture.
Finally, the María Luisa Bemberg Collection, constituted by twenty-six paintings and one sculpture, will have its own exhibition chamber at the National Museum of Beaux Arts (MNBA), as the late film-maker had longed for when on a sunny morning in March 1995, surrounded by her sons, daughters and a group of close friends, she donated to the most important art museum of Argentina her collection of Argentine and Uruguayan paintings.
It demanded ten years, since this donation was accepted by the then Secretary of Culture Mario O´Donnell and the Director of the Museum Jorge Glusberg, to meet this legacy so the Barradas, Figari, Torres García, Xul Solar, Pettoruti paintings and the magnificent sculpture by Alicia Penalba finally could find their place. Only the commitment of her sons Carlos, Luisa, Cristina and Diego, the timely mediation of the Minister Aníbal Fernández and the negotiation of the current director, Alberto Bellucci, made this a successful process: The donation can be visited as from the day after tomorrow on the first floor of the National Museum of Beaux Arts.
This ensemble is an insuperable example of the Río de la Plata art. The portrait of Bernabé Michelena signed in 1914 by Rafael Barradas, and one of the dearest paintings to the Miguens Bemberg siblings, greets the visitor. With almost no voice and wet eyes, confined on a wheel-chair in the last stage of a terminal decease, María Luisa gave away the artworks which were part of her life. The Bemberg chamber will be escorted by battle scenes painted by soldier-painter Cándido López, who left his imprint in art's history by painting with his left hand, after losing the right one in a battle and with it, his interest for still life paintings. María Luisa started her collection when her sons were teenagers, ten years before she started filming. She was born into a family of art collectors. Her father bought Academician paintings and owned a fine Canaletto. Her uncle Federico owned an impressive impressionist paintings collection and her brother George assembled a significant art collection which he donated to the Museum of Toulouse, in France; the country where he moved to long time ago. The first painting that María Luisa bought was Pelando la pava, a customary Figari. Yet, the jewels of the collection are Rafael Barradas' paintings, a painter who was able to take colours up to a vibrating intensity. María Luisa Bemberg's challenge was to assemble a coherent ensemble from heterogeneous expressions: Pettoruti's cubism; Torres García's constructivism, the light musicality of Xul Solar and the naive stroke of Figari. The ensemble is completed by an extraordinary sculpture by Alicia Penalba.
Bemberg's beau geste, continued by the mediation of her sons, recaptures the best tradition of the Argentine collecting practice, which laid the foundations of our artistic patrimony: The Guerrico, Rossi, González Garaño, Santamarina and Di Tella families, among others, were significant donors of art collections to the National Museum located in Avenida del Libertador. It is worthwhile to emphasize that this is not the first donation made by María Luisa Bemberg to the MNBA.
In 1985, President Raúl Alfonsín was in office, she donated "View of the Thames", by Alfred Sisley. The bureaucratic web left the painting in a daze longer than patience and logic could endure. The mediation of Teresa Anchorena, then National Director of Visual Arts, was required in order that the Museum formally accepted the donation and complied with the appropriate procedure followed by every museum in the world: To receive, to thank and to exhibit.
Alicia de Arteaga Diario La Nación, Culture Section – 30 November 2004.