Famed Spanish artists such as Picasso, Dalí and Velázquez, among others, run the gamut of the 'isms' - Cubism, Impressionism, Modernism and Post-Modernism (to name but a few). But in Barcelona's museums you'll also find plenty of collections that span medieval times to the 1990s. Contemporary works by established and lesser-known artists are omnipresent too; and almost every museum organises temporary exhibitions that fill in the gaps (momentarily at least) in their permanent collections. Here is our list of suggestions...
The Mapfre Foundation, founded in 1988 with two offices in Madrid, opens its first space in Barcelona and moved to the emblematic Casa Garriga-Nogues. From the funds of the Foundation, which brings together works of art from the late nineteenth to mid-twentieth century, they include the collection of works on paper and photography.
Opened in 2007, the foundation's two floors house the contemporary art collection of businessman Josep Suñol. There are 100 works on show at a time, including painting, sculpture and photography, shuffled every six months (in January and July) from an archive of 1,200 pieces amassed over 35 years. The collection includes historic – and predominantly Catalan and Spanish – artists of the avant-garde: Picasso, Miró and Pablo Gargallo, with international input from Giacometti, Man Ray and Warhol.
Spain's largest cultural centre was opened in 1994 at the Casa de la Caritat, a former almshouse, built in 1802 on the site of a medieval monastery. The massive façade and part of the courtyard remain from the original building; the rest was rebuilt in dramatic contrast, all tilting glass and steel, by architects Piñón and Viaplana, known for the Maremàgnum shopping centre. The CCCB's exhibitions can lean toward heavy-handed didacticism, but there are occasional gems.
Can Framis was just another Poblenou factory at the end of the 18th century. In 2009 it was converted into a museum of contemporary painting, thanks to the Fundació Vila Casas. The walls of Can Framis hold some 300 works by Catalan native or resident artists, dating from the 1960s to the present day. Temporary exhibitions are held in the Espai A0.
In a controversial move, the Generalitat appointed new director Vicenç Altaió to pump up the lacklustre visitor numbers for this contemporary art space. Altaió has created 'a multidisciplinary centre for art, science, thought and communication', although detractors fear that the governmental hijacking of the management will mean diluted programming. After remodelling, the museum reopened to the public in spring 2009.