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Museo de Arte de Ponce

Venus and Her Satellites, William Etty

The Virgin and Child with St. John the Baptist, Abraham Janssens

The Harbour of Delft, Daniel Vosmaer

Museo de Arte de Ponce (MAP), is an art museum located on Las Americas Avenue (PR-163) in Ponce, Puerto Rico.[4][5][6][7] It is considered one of the finest art museums in Puerto Rico.[8] It houses a collection of European art,[5] as well as work by Puerto Rican artists. The largest art museum in the Caribbean,[9] it has also been called one of the best in the Americas.[10][11][12] The museum contains one of the most important Pre-Raphaelite collections in the Western Hemisphere,[13] holding some 4,500 pieces of art[1][14] distributed among fourteen galleries.[15] It was the first of three [note 1] museums in Puerto Rico accredited by the American Alliance of Museums.[14][16] It was founded by industrialist and philanthropist Luis A. Ferré, and its current building was officially inaugurated on December 28, 1965. It was significantly enlarged in 2010 after a $30M expansion. The museum has been called "world class".[17]


The project of the museum began in 1956 when Luis A. Ferré traveled to Europe and acquired various European art pieces, including many pre-Raphealite works, which encouraged him to start a project for a museum in the city of Ponce, his birthplace. With the advice of two experts – Julius S. Held, specialist on Rubens and professor of Art History at Barnard College and Columbia University, and René Taylor, art and architecture enthusiast and professor at the University of Granada, Yale, and Columbia – Ferré compiled a collection of works of art based on their value instead of their popularity.[18] Ferré would state in a Forbes interview that "the scholars and critics all called it kitsch, everyone thought I was crazy to buy them."[19]

On January 3, 1959, Ferré opened the museum in a small wooden house at Cristina Street in Ponce originally with 72 works of art,[11] at what is today the Centro Cultural de Ponce (Ponce Cultural Center). Some of these original paintings are still on display in the current museum. As time passed and the museum gained popularity, more pieces of art were either donated to and acquired by the Museum. In 1962, the Samuel H. Kress Foundation donated 15 paintings to the museum.[11] By 1989, the museum's collection had grown to 500 pieces, with a then estimated value of $50 million,[12] equivalent to $95.1 million in present day terms.
Current museum

Fearing a fire in the Cristina Street building would destroy its collections, Ferré acquired a tract of land on Las Americas Avenue in Ponce to build the current museum, and recruited architect Edward Durell Stone for its design.[11] On April 23, 1964 the first stone was placed and the construction of the museum began. It was finished in 1965 and officially opened on December 28, 1965. One of the main features of the museum is its hexagonal galleries, which allow natural light to enter through its corners bringing an illumination to exhibitions. The museum contained a total of 14 galleries, two gardens, and an amphitheater, and its main entrance with bifurcated ladders.

Pinceladas en Vuelo (Brushstokes in Flight), a 28-foot-high aluminum structure created in 1984 by New York sculptor Roy Lichtenstein sits on the front yard of the museum, which was then considered "the largest public [display art] work in Latin America and the Caribbean."[1]

The museum was closed from 2008 to 2010 while undergoing renovations, re-opening in time for the celebration of its 50th anniversary on November 13, 2010, after a $30 million in improvements.[1][20][21] In the meantime, the museum held exhibitions in San Juan's Plaza Las Américas, and loaned some of its best pieces out to traveling exhibitions at fine arts institutions throughout the world.[22][23][24] The construction work was both a renovation of the existing structure and an expansion, increasing the size of the museum by more than 40%.[25][26] The $20-turn-$30 million renovation also included a new building to house a historic archive and a library.[27]

The new 37,745-square-foot (3,506.6 m2) annex to the museum’s main building houses an educational space, a library specializing in art history, the Don Luis A. Ferré Archives, a laboratory for the conservation of artworks, an artwork storage area, museum shop, a restaurant, and administrative offices.[14] After the expansion the total square footage of the museum came to 77,745 square feet.[28] The expansion allowed the museum to accommodate facilities for educational purposes, an art history library, a museum shop, and a restaurant.[29]

The thoroughfare on which the museum is located, a major road artery in Ponce, was renamed the "Luis A. Ferré Boulevard" in honor of the founder of the museum.[30][31]
Flaming June, by Fredric Leighton

The Museo de Arte de Ponce houses the most important collection of European art in Latin America,[11][32] with the Financial Times of London claiming that the museum holds "one of the most distinguished private collections in the Western Hemisphere outside the United States."[12] It has an important collection of almost 4,000 pieces of art that range from the 14th to the 20th century, Italian Baroque, British Pre-Raphaelite, Spanish Golden Age and contemporary Latin-American art.

Some of the artists whose paintings and works are exhibited at the museum are Peter Paul Rubens, Lucas Cranach, Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, Eugène Delacroix, and Sir Edward Burne-Jones, among others. The main masterpiece of the museum is the Flaming June, painted by Frederic Leighton. In 1963 Ferré In 1963, Luis A. Ferré was on a trip around Europe, engaged in purchasing paintings and sculptures for the museum and passing by The Maas Gallery, London. He was enthralled by the work, and paid £2,000 for the painting.[33][34]

The Last Sleep of Arthur in Avalon, the final masterpiece and crowning achievement of Sir Edward Burne-Jones is another of the main pieces of the museum's collection, originally acquired by Ferré for just 1,600 British guineas in 1963.[35] The enormous painting was started in 1881 and left unfinished at the artist's death in 1898. In 2009, both Flaming June and The Last Sleep of Arthur in Avalon were loaned to Tate Britain while the museum underwent a two-year refurbishment.[35] Other paintings were loaned to the Museo del Prado in Madrid.[36]

"Equally important is the Puerto Rican art collection, which ranges from the 18th century to the present day and includes great masters such as José Campeche, Francisco Oller, Miguel Pou, as well as the best contemporary talent such as Myrna Báez, Francisco Rodón, Antonio Martorell and Arnaldo Roche Rabell, among others."[37]

In March 2006, the museum exhibited the work of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo.

The Museum charges a small admission fee to the public, but most revenues come from substantial donations made by Puerto Rican individuals and business. Some have made single donations for the sole purpose of acquiring art to be exhibited in the museum, while others donate for the maintenance and operational expenditures of the museum. A bronze plaque placed in the front entrance and next to the information booth recognizes these donors.

The Museum of Art of Puerto Rico was listed as accredited by the American Alliance of Museums in the August 2013 report. The other two accredited museums are the Museum of Art of Puerto Rico [1] and the Museo de Arte y Antropología de la Universidad de Puerto Rico.


A punto de caramelo el Museo de Arte. Lissette González. La Perla del Sur. Ponce, Puerto Rico. 15 October 2010. Retrieved 15 October 2010.
Museo de Arte de Ponce, Re-Apertura Grandiosa!! 17 October 2010. Retrieved 6 August 2013.
Museo de Arte de Ponce announces exhibition of masterpieces from the Prado Museum. Art Daily. Retrieved 16 August 2012.
The Puerto Rico Channel. Discover Ponce's NeoClassical Buildings and Museums. Retrieved June 21, 2009.
Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Puerto Rico Tourism Company. Ven al Sur, page 20. San Juan, Puerto Rico, 2003.
Que Pasa!, Oct–Nov 2004, page 80. The Puerto Rican Tourism Company, San Juan, Puerto Rico
TravelPonce.com Top Five Ponce Attractions.
Offbeat Travel. Pleasures of Ponce, Puerto Rico.
Business Line: Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications. A Rich Port, Literally! April 15, 2002.
Autonomous Municipality of Ponce. Ponce en sus Dimensiones, page 2. Jorge Ariel Torres, editor, page 13.
Martinez, Marialba (30 October 2003). "Puerto Rico Grieves Over The Loss Of Its Premier Statesman Four Months Short Of His 100th Birthday". Puerto Rico Herald. Retrieved 4 February 2014.
Glass, Robert (8 October 1989). "Puerto Rican's 50-Year Goal: Statehood". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 4 February 2014.
Welcome to Puerto Rico. Ponce. Retrieved June 10, 2009.
MAP 2007 Annual Report Retrieved June 10, 2009.
Commonwealth of Puerto Rico Tourism Company. Puerto Rico FLy and Drive map.
"List of Accredited Museums: August 2013". The Museum Accreditation Program. American Alliance of Museums. Retrieved 23 February 2014.
Long Range Multimodal Transportation Plan: 2032 Puerto Rico Five Transportation Planning Regions. Long Range Transportation Plan. Strategic Planning Office. Puerto Rico Highway and Transportation Authority. Department of Transportation and Public Works. May 2012. Vol 2. Chapter 4. p.165.
Celia Quartermain. King Arthur Comes Home: How a key Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood painting by Edward Burne-Jones Ended up on a Caribbean Island. NewStatesman. April 14, 2008. Retrieved November 27, 2009.
Martin, Douglas (22 October 2003). "Luis A. Ferré Dies at 99; Pushed Puerto Rican Statehood". New York Times. Retrieved 4 February 2014.
In Transit; Art Museum Reopens After Major Expansion. Paola Singer. The New York Times. Travel Section. December 5, 2010. Retrieved 1 November 2011.
Con apertura este domingo: Se reinventa el Museo de Arte de Ponce. By Jason Rodríguez Grafal. Periodico La Perla del Sur. Week of November 10–17, 2010. Ponce, Puerto Rico.
The New York Times, June 7, 2009.
Phoenix Art Museum
Greenwich (CT) Art Museum
Museum Being Expanded
MAP: Informe Anual 2008
$20M Expansion
Renovation and Expansion Project: Project Objectives. Museo de Arte de Ponce. Retrieved 16 August 2012.
PONCE. Mark Chesnut. Passport Magazine. Retrieved 7 October 2013.
Buenos Señora Alcaldesa...Ponce: Maria "Mayita" Melendez Altieri. Nombre de Luis A. Ferré a avenida ponceña. By Darisabel Texidor Guadalupe. La Perla del Sur (printed edition). Ponce, Puerto Rico. 11 November 2010. (Week of November 11–17, 2010.) "Panorama." Page 47.
Rolón Romero, Ana María (November 10–17, 2010), Bautizan el Bulevar Luis Alberto Ferré., Periodico La Perla del Sur.
Explore Beyond the Shore: Stare in Awe at Our Masterpieces, Estado Libre Asociado De Puerto Rico. Compañia de Turismo. San Juan, Puerto Rico. 2003.
Ellis. "Featured Picture Details". www.maasgallery.co.uk. Retrieved 2015-08-20.
Brown, Mark (15 April 2008), "Pre-Raphaelite painting of Arthur returns", The Guardian, retrieved 4 February 2014
Del Prado a Ponce: la cita histórica. Carmen Cila Rodríguez. La Perla del Sur. Ponce, Puerto Rico. Year 30. Issue 1478. 28 March 2012. Page 22. Retrieved 30 March 2012.

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