Donations and long term loans at the Museo Reina Sofia

Donations and long term loans

Building the Collection is a major priority for the Museo Reina Sofía, and that is why the generosity of donors and lenders has such an important part to play in its growth. The Collections Departments is closely involved with the heads of cultural institutions, collectors, artists and artists’ families in a constant search for long-term loans and donations of works that will help complete the Museum’s Collection.

Incorporation by donation is defined as the receipt of an object for free, through inter vivos transfer, meaning the willing gift of the object by the owner during his or her lifetime to the institution. Gratuitous loan is another essential method of adding to the Museum Collection, and is defined as a contract by which the lender gives the Museum a cultural asset for the Museum’s free use for a set period of time (normally no less than five years), after which it must be returned.

Donations/Bequests  to the Museo Reina Sofia 2008-2016

The Reina Sofía Museo would like to express its gratitude for its acquisition of major works through donations by collectors, artists, private businesses and institutions. In the past eight years (2008-2016), the Museo Reina Sofia has accepted a total of 710 works and a significant quantity of documentation as the result of numerous donations, which illustrates the crucial role that such donations have played in the development and enrichment of the Collection.

Mention must also be made of the contributions made by the artists themselves, who year after year give major works of theirs to the Museo Reina Sofía. We would like, then, to acknowledge José Luis Alexanco, Antoni Mercader, member of the Grup de Treball, Jorge Ribalta and Juan Genovés and many others. Among the overseas artists, we would particularly like to thank Richard Hamilton, Fischli & Weiss, Leon Ferrari, Cildo Meireles, Chris Killip and Amos Gitai for their contributions. Representation of the most recent period of artistic output has been vastly improved by donations of works by artists including Tracey Rose, Asier Mendizábal and Danh Vō.

Similarly, we would like to give a special mention to the generosity of Lunwerg Editores, who in 2010 formalised the donation of a collection of 67 Spanish photographs dating from the 1970s to the 1990s that had appeared in the exhibition Cuatro Direcciones. Fotografía Contemporánea Española 1970-1990, the hundred Roberto Matta engravings donated by Germana Matta and the works by Emiliano Barral and Jesús Molina García de Arias, shown at the Spanish Pavilion at the Paris International Exhibition in 1937, donated by the artists’ families.

As well as donations, we must not forget the incorporation of many outstanding works through bequests in wills. Looking only at the past few years, we could mention the Brassaï photographs and drawings, bequeathed by his widow, and two extraordinary works by American artist Morris Louis, which came to us as a bequest from his widow Marcella Brenner.

The Museo Reina Sofía Collection houses over 5,375 works from donations and bequests, representing more than 25% of the total. The number of donations and bequests is a visible indication of how inestimably important their contribution is to the Museum and the development of its collection.

Offers of donations should be sent to the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Santa Isabel, 52, 28012 Madrid, Spain.
Further information: Collections Department, MNCARS (e- mail:

Long Term Loans at the Museo Reina Sofia  (2008-2016)

Along with purchased and donated works, a major part of the Collection’s acquisitions consists of gratuitous long-term loans. In order to improve the representation of certain artists or movements that are unavailable on the open market or difficult for the Museum to acquire, between 2008 and 2016 the Collections Department has built up the temporary deposits of a significant number of works.

Of particular importance among the long-term loans achieved through collaborative agreements are those of the Val del Omar Archive, who loaned the majority of the production and materials used by the artist in his experimentation, that of the Fundación Palazuelo and the one from the Easten Foundation, New York, with a selection of early works by Louise Bourgeois. In 2015 it was established the loan of 15 exceptional works of the Foundation Gandur pour l'Art, one of the most prestigious international collections of postwar European art, specialized in the period 1945-1962. 2016 also saw the incorporation of an exceptional collection of 32 pictorial works by artists such as Juan Gris, María Blanchard, Jean Metzinger and Albert Gleizes, among others, from Telefónica’s Cubist Collection.

Deposits acquired through the generosity of private collectors include the loan of 392 works from the Soledad Lorenzo collection, 35 Latin American works from the Patricia Phelps de Cisneros collection, the group of works from the Javier Lacruz collection and the group of Enrique Herreros works loaned by the Enrique Herreros Foundation.

Collaboration by artists’ families, the keepers of the artists’ bequests, is considered of paramount importance. Examples are the loan of exceptional groups of works by artists such as Oskar Schlemmer, André Masson, Luis Quintanilla, Ángeles Santos Torroella, Manolo Millares and Leon Golub, among others.

Similar to previous years, it is worth noting the bequests made by the Museo Reina Sofía Foundation, which number over one hundred works, primarily by Latin American artists, and feature such names as Victor Rebuffo, Felipe Erhenberg, Julio Plaza, Eduardo Gil and Marta Minujín.

We would like to express our gratitude once again to all the lenders for their exceptional and highly valued contribution to the Collection, and by extension to the Museo Reina Sofía itself.