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The Collection

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The collection of the Museo Universidad de Navarra is a living collection. It is articulated around two main axes: photography and the contemporary art collection. One of the Museum's main lines of work, which is supported by the collection, is the study of art and the construction of our image of the world. The collection, through its two main axes, allows the encounter between disciplines -photography, painting, sculpture-, which characterizes a large part of the most recent artistic production and is present in the Museum's artistic creation and research programs.

The evolution of the collection responds to a program initiated in the 90s of the last century around the interaction of our world and the photographic discipline. The collection is alive, it serves as inspiration to artists for their research and creation processes within the creation and artistic residency programs, but it also lives in each of the projects and programs developed at the Museum and is at the service of the University and society as a whole for study and research. 

The photography collection

The photography collection allows us to witness the evolution of the medium in Spain. With pieces dating from its creation to the present day, it includes schools, authors and works, as well as showing the development of the technique and themes over time.

The old Photographic Fund of the University of Navarra began in 1981 with the receipt of the legacy of José Ortiz-Echagüe, one of the leading Spanish photographers of the twentieth century. As a result of this first donation, the University proposed a project to create a collection of Spanish photography from the beginnings of this art form to the present day, and it was assembled through the purchase, donation and deposit of different works, collections and bequests. The Fund was inaugurated in 1990.

The photographs of José Ortiz-Echagüe's legacy include all the thematic groups that the photographer developed in his fruitful career: his first photographs taken in North Africa, and the series that make up his four fundamental books: España tipos y trajes (1929), España pueblos y paisajes (1939), España mística (1943), and España castillos y alcázares (1956), to which should be added the group of family images.  

This is a living collection, which currently has nearly 20,000 photographs and almost 250,000 negatives from the 19th century to the present day, including, in addition to contemporary artists, the main Spanish and foreign photographers who worked in Spain throughout the 19th and 20th centuries.The collection includes, in addition to contemporary artists, the main photographers, both national and foreign, who worked in Spain throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, such as the Viscount de Vigier, Alphonse de Launay, Gustave Beaucorps, Jean Laurent and José Martínez Sánchez in the 19th century, Alphonse de Launay, Gustave Beaucorps, Jean Laurent and José Martínez Sánchez in the 19th century, representatives of the 'new photography' of the 20th century, such as Pere Català Pic and Josep Renau, and photojournalists such as Robert Capa, Agustí Centelles and Henri Cartier-Bresson.

After the donation of the legacy of María Josefa Huarte, both bequests were united in a single collection, becoming the core of the activity of the Museo Universidad de Navarra.

The legacy of María Josefa Huarte

María Josefa Huarte shared with her family a great admiration for contemporary art. This led her to promote and sponsor various young artists of the time. A regular visitor to museums and art galleries, over the years she amassed an important collection of works by these artists, and pieces with which she felt a special connection. Over time, these unknown artists became essential figures on the Spanish art scene in the second half of the 20th century.

The collection is made up of around fifty pictorial and sculptural works by the most international Spanish artists of the second half of the 20th century. Its three main pillars, Pablo Palazuelo, Jorge Oteiza and Antoni Tàpies, are joined by other Spanish artists, such as Eduardo Chillida, José Antonio Sistiaga and Luis Feito, as well as three essential figures on the international scene, Marc Rothko, Pablo Picasso and Vasily Kandinsky. Pablo Picasso and Vasily Kandinsky.

Other legacies and donations

This initial legacy will be joined over time by other funds and collections, such as those of Juan Dolcet and Rafael Sanz Lobato, two of Spain's leading documentary photographers, or the collections of Víctor Méndez Pascual, Robert Hershkowitz, which contains a particularly valuable series of photographs from the 19th century, or Juan Naranjo, richer in contemporary pieces. As well as occasional donations such as those of Patty Cisneros, Bleda y Rosa, Carlos Cánovas or Javier Vallhonrat, among others.

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Live collection

Since 2002, the Museum has been developing a project of creation, research and artistic residency called Tender Bridges. This project proposes a dialogue between contemporary artists with the production of those pioneers in Spain in the 19th century and with the rest of the works in the collection, proposing, together with artistic creation, a theoretical reflection in the form of books, conferences and other educational activities that allow to give voice to works within a context that seems to reproduce a similar situation: the beginning of great technological changes and forms of communication. 

National photography prizes such as Bleda y Rosa, Joan Fontcuberta, Javier Vallhonrat as well as other artists such as Pierre Gonnord or Carlos Cánovas, among others, have participated in this artistic residency program. At present, Fernando Pagola, Antoni Muntadas or Vik Muniz are projecting their gaze on the Museum's collection by developing their own creative project.

Inspired by the knowledge acquired and the richness of the projects developed, starting in 2016, the Museum begins to adapt and offer the project to artists from other disciplines.

The performing, musical and performative arts, especially those that bring artistic disciplines into dialogue and are innovative, have a prominent place at the Museum. The Performing Arts and Music Artistic Residency Programs also focus on the creative process itself and the research it entails through conferences and publications. Cuadernos de creación is the editorial line that collects the different phases of its development, its findings, the decisions that have given rise to the final piece and the fundamental milestones of the creative process. The entire project is accompanied by a visual summary, the "making of" of the piece that is finally premiered at the Museum.

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