Profile - Museu d'Art Modern Tarragona

The Museum of Modern Arts was created by the Diputació of Tarragona in 1976 with the aim of preserving and showcasing its artistic patrimony.

The Diputació collections were actually started at the beginning of the sixties, upon acquiring the works of the sculptor Julio Antonio that had been previously cared for by his sisters. From that time on, and following the guidance of Lluís M. Saumells (director of the School of Arts of Tarragona) other collections were purchased, namely those of the sculptors Santiago Costa i Vaqué, Salvador Martorell i Ollé and the painter Josep Sancho i Piqué.

In 1943, annually at first, and bi-annually later on, the Diputació awarded the Julio Antonio Prize of Sculpture and the Josep Tapiró Prize of Painting, keeping the winning works in its collection. Some of them were kept as deposits in other institutions, and some were later sold for unknown reasons. For the most part, the winning works have been displayed in the Diputació premises. In 1976, and following the relocation of the Workshop and School of Arts From Calle Santa Anna to its new location in Sant Pere Sescelades, part of the Casa Martí, the previous seat of the school was made available.

THE MARTI HOUSE

This building, in its present shape is the result of the union of three ancient houses of the Old Town. The first once belonged to the Jesuit College of the Holy Kings but was seized by the Crown of Spain following their expulsion from the country in 1767. It was finally purchased by Antonio Martí i Gatell in 1772 from the local committee in charge of liquidating the estate of the religious order. After several improvements, the new owner set up residence in 1781.

Antonio Martí i Franquès, the illustrious scientist from Altafulla also lived here from 1798 until his death in 1832. In the 19th century, Gaietà Martí i Veciana, the grandson of Martí i Gatell, purchased two neighbouring houses and started the expansion and refurbishment of the original residence at once. The works were completed by the early sixties of the last century.

From 1976, and utilizing the available space in the house, the first steps were taken towards the creation of a new Museum. An inventory of the most important items was made and they were put on display.

Due to lack of space (the permanent exihitions area was too small) a number of temporary exhibitions were held, which eventually helped get the Museum closer to the general public. In 1983 the Diputació acquired the building in Calle Santa Ana and appointed architect Jaume Mutlló to its refurbishment.



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