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Ella Fontanals-Cisneros Will Donate Works to Spanish State, Establish Museum for Latin American Art in Madrid

Íñigo Méndez de Vigo and Ella Fontanals-Cisneros during the signing of the preliminary agreement.


Ella Fontanals-Cisneros and the Spanish minister for education, culture, and sports, Íñigo Méndez de Vigo, have signed a preliminary agreement that will see works from Fontanals-Cisneros’s collection of Latin American art go to the Spanish State. The agreement also calls for the establishment of an exhibition space, the Contemporary Art Collection of the Americas, to display works from the collection in Madrid.

The agreement’s final stipulations are still being determined, and according to a news release, announcements will be made in the coming months about the lists of works being donated and the institution that will partner with the state to care for the collection.

“I feel very happy because I’ve spent time thinking that the collection would need a home, a home that the public could access to all of this Latin American art that I’ve spent a long time collecting,” Fontanals-Cisneros said at a press conference. “For me, Spain is a second home.”

The Contemporary Art Collection of the Americas will be located in Madrid’s Tabacalera building, a former cigar factory that has been empty since 2009. The ministry is currently working to renovate the building, where more than 50,000 square feet will be given over to public exhibition spaces. The building’s second floor will go to Contemporary Art Collection of the Americas, while the rest of the Tabacalera will be made available for exhibitions of emerging artists and as a satellite space for the nearby Reina Sofia Museum.

Fontanals-Cisneros has been collecting since the 1970s and has appeared on the ARTnews “Top 200 Collectors” list since 2006. Much of her collection, which numbers over 3,000 works, focuses on collecting art from Latin America, particularly Cuban art, geometric abstraction, photography, video, and conceptual art. The news comes a month after Fontanals-Cisneros announced that she would close the Miami exhibition space of her art foundation.

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