Museo Plaza, 2

Phone: 0034 944 396 060
Fax: 0034 944 396 145

Museo De Bellas Artes De Bilbao

First mooted in 1908, the Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao was originally a joint initiative of the Diputación (Provincial Council) of Vizcaya and the Bilbao City Council. The new Museum eventually opened its doors to the public in 1914. The Fine Arts Museum was conceived as part of a more general drive to modernise turn-of-the-century Bilbao socially and culturally and to provide members of the local artistic community with the best possible historical models during their training. Directed by artist Manuel Losada, the new Museum was housed in what had been the city's School of Arts & Crafts.

Some of the guiding principles of the new collection were clear from its inception. Even today the close links with public institutions and society remain as evidence of the original, and continuing, desire to turn Bilbao into a cultural benchmark. A series of major gifts and legacies from institutions and private individuals alike made in the early years of the Museum's activity marked the future growth of the collection.

Another defining feature of the Museum is the desire to be fully contemporary, a desire which, in the early years, coincided with the concerns of the local artistic community. Ten years after the inauguration of the first Museum, the desire to keep up with current developments led to the creation of a new museum devoted to modern and contemporary art. The Museo de Arte Moderno, housed in premises belonging to the Provincial Council and directed by the artist Aurelio Arteta, opened its doors to the public in 1924.

Shortly after the end of the Spanish Civil War, it was decided to build a new home for both Museums, now uni... [ Read all ]

 Permanent Collection Highlights (13)

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Permanent Collection

The collection of the present Museum originated with the merger of the collections from the first Museo de Bellas Artes, inaugurated in 1914, and the Museo de Arte Moderno (Museum of Modern Art) in 1924. Contributions from local institutions, from private individuals and the Museum's own acquisitions helped to shape the essential profile of the collection and oriented its subsequent growth.

The original collection was a mixture of major legacies, bequests and donations such as the ones received from Laureano de Jado, Antonio Plasencia and Manuel Losada, together with contributions from a number of institutions.

Notable for the lengthy period it covers (from the 12th century to the present day) and the extraordinary variety of art works acquired since its inception, the Museum collection currently boasts more than six thousand works including paintings, sculptures, drawings, engravings and objects from the decorative arts.

Highlights of the collection include Cézanne’s Bathers (c.1896-98), Gauguin’s Washerwomen in Arles (c.1888), Goya’s Martín Zapater (c.1797), Francis Bacon’s Lying Figure in Mirror (c.1971), El Greco’s The Annunciation (c.1596-1600), Eduardo Chillida’s Around the Vacuum I (c.1964) and Antoni Tápies’ Great Oval or Painting (c.1955).


The Guest Work. The Slopes of Montjuïc, c.1896-97.
23 April to 24 June 2007

Joaquim Mir i Trinxet (Barcelona, 1873-1940) was an untypical character on the Catalonian art scene of his time. Blessed with a natural pictorial talent, he unconsciously synthesised within himself a series of stimuli and suggestions that took shape spontaneously in his extraordinarily original paintings.
The Slopes of Montjuïc (c. 1896-97) belongs to Mir’s early period. It is a realist oil painting and bright, following in the local footsteps of Mas i Fontdevila. His composition of the landscape with figures, one of which is in the foreground, links it closely with The cathedral of the poor, 1898, Mir’s masterpiece as a youth, although it does not have the social content of the latter.
Mir forged his own original way during his lone campaign in Majorca, he moved there in 1899 until 1904. Another work of his, L´Abre Gran. Sa Calobra (c. 1903) from The Santander Group Collection, is from this period. He began to interpret the landscape of the Camp de Tarragona and hat purifying process left his painting at the right point. From this brilliant period of Mir’s, The Santander Group Collection contains, between others, a masterpiece, Spring (c. 1910), Aigües roges (c. 1921) and L’Hort dels Escolanets (c. 1931), painted in Montserrat, a large size oil painting from Mir’s last period.

Previous Exhibitions

The Spanish portrait in the Prado. From El Greco to Goya.
5 March to 20 May 2007

The Guest Work. Oriental Landscape, Carlos de Haes. 1883.
5 February to 15 April 2007

Gutiérrez Solana in the MAPFRE collections.
12 February to 27 March 2007

Lectures. Museo del prado and contemporary art. The influence of the great masters of the past in the vanguard art.
17 January to 7 March 2007

Out! Serene shadows! The visual aspect of the Verdi spectacle.
16 January to 18 February 2007

Paper Art (IV). Carlos de Haes. Drawings and prints. Collection of the Bilbao Fine Arts Museum.
13 November 2006 to 28 January 2007

Zamacois, Fortuny, Meissonier
17 October 2006 to 28 January 2007

The Guest Work. Luis Paret y Alcázar. The Antique Store, 1772.
9 October 2006 to 28 January 2007

Zaindu. El Museo restaura.
December 2006

Urresti Collection
22 September to 5 November 2006

Paper Art (III). Creation of light. John Martin (1789-1854). Prints and Drawings from the Campbell Collection.
17 July to 1 October 2006

A multiple look.
30 June to 24 September 2006

The Guest Work. Flemish Manufacture. Alexander The Great´s History, c. 1575.
12 June to 17 September 2006

Kasimir Malevich.
10 July to 10 September 2006

From Herrera to Velázquez. The fist naturalist art in Seville.
20 March to 18 June 2006

La Guest Work. Beach at Portici, 1874.
7 March to 30 April 2006

The Guest Work. Saint Maurus saves Saint Placidus. Saint Benito and the miracle of the water. 1526-1532.
16 January to 31 March 2006+ [ Read all ]

Exhibitions (15)

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Forthcoming exhibitions

KISS KISS BANG BANG. 45 years of art and feminism.
11 June to 9 September 2007
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. 45 years of art and feminism will offer a look at the central themes of so-called feminist art from its beginnings in the 1960s up until the present time. From Yoko Ono’s first performances and the photographs of Cindy Sherman to Orlan’s ‘carnal art’ or the ironic actions of the Guerrilla Girls group, the exhibition will propose an analysis of the stereotypes regarding female identity. By means of a dialogue between the artistic works and current theories and social and political movements, which will be present together in the Museum, it is intended to acquaint the general public with the realities of feminist thought and art.

Paper Art (V). Picasso: The Vollard Suite. The Bancaja Collection.
Summer 2007
Bancaja possesses one of the finest collections of graphic art by Picasso and The box of remorse, which is from this collection, has already been exhibited in the Museum. Picasso was commissioned by the art dealer, Ambroise Vollard, to inaugurate the Suite in 1930 and close it six years later. The collection is of one hundred engravings and, although there are a wide variety of themes, there is one in particular which abounds and that is of the artist and his model. Also of great importance are the Minotaur and Rembrandt, a painter and engraver who Picasso greatly admired.

Between Picasso and Dubuffet. Jean-Planque Collection.
September to November 2007
The exhibition includes 130 outstanding works of the Swiss collector, Jean Planque (1910-1998), a passionate connoisseur who was assessor to the prestigious Beyeler Art Gallery in Basel. Among those repr...+ [ Read all ]


General: 5,50 €
Reduced: 4,00 € (students, unemployed, senior citizens).
Free: Children under 12, Museum Day (every Wednesday) and Friends of the Museum.
Bono Artean: 12 € giving admission to the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao and Bilbao Fine Arts Museum.
Audioguide: 2€ / 1,5€ Friends of the Museum.
Zinemateka: 3,00€ / 2,25€ Friends of the Museum

Opening hours

Tuesdays to Saturdays: 10 am to 8 pm
Sundays and public holidays: 10 am to 2 pm
24 and 31 December: 10 am to 2 pm
Closed Mondays (except extraordinary openings), 25 December, 1 and 6 January

Clearance of exhibition rooms begins 15 minutes before closing time.
*Sunday 20th May, extraordinary opening: 10 am to 8 pm

Getting there

Museo Plaza, 2
48011 Bilbao

Tel: (+34) 944 396 060
Fax: (+34) 944 396 145

Nearest Bilbao Metro station: Moyúa.
Bus: lines 1, 10, 13 and 18 stop in the Museum Plaza. Lines 13, 27, 38, 46 and 48 stop in Alameda de Recalde. Airport line stops in Plaza de Moyúa.
Train: Abando station (RENFE), Santander station (FEVE) and Atxuri station (ET/FV).
Coach station: Termibús (Garellano).


The Museum has a lift, toilets and ramps to facilitate visits by people with physical disabilities. There is an Information Point for the Visually Disabled.

Information and reservations: (+34) 944 396 137
English guided tours available.
Groups: (of 20 people maximum), day and time to be agreed (except Wednesday), 85€ (Museum ticket not included), reservation required in advance.
Individuals: (20 people maximum), temporary exhibitions or the Museum's permanent collection guided tours, Sunday 12.00 am, 4€ / 3€ (Museum ticket not included), Friends of the Museum and under 12s, free entrance.

The Museum shop offers a wide-ranging catalogue of Museum and other publications.
It also has a broad selection of exclusive products based on works belonging to the Museum collections.
Opening hours: the same as the Museum.
Tel: (+34) 944 396 143
(Closed Sunday evening and Monday)

The museum's new cafeteria offers a range of refreshments, pintxos (the Basque version of tapas) and sandwiches in pleasantly relaxed surroundings. Overlooking the adjacent park, the cafeteria also boasts a fine terrace in the summer.
Opening hours: the same as the Museum (in summer, open until nightfall).
Tel: (+34) 944 417 373

The Art Museum Library of Bilbao possesses a bibliographic and documentary collection with art as its speciality in the service of researchers and students of this discipline.
Tel: (+34) 944 396 142
Opening Times: Tuesday to Thursday 10.00 to 20.00, Friday 10.00 to 14.30
1 June to 30 September 10.00 to ...+ [ Read all ]

Museum internal and external photos (4)

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Since 1984, the Museum’s Department of Education and Cultural Action (DEAC) has concentrated chiefly on preparing activities and programmes for a broad range of ages and interests. Its main objective is to promote knowledge, understanding and enjoyment of the Museum collections.
Mush of the department’s energies go into preparing specific itineraries for children, young people and adults, courses for teachers and the preparation of teaching materials and workshops.


The following activities are based on the Museum’s permanent collection:
A pleasant and participative journey through the colours of a choice of pictures aimed at students in the second and third year of Primary Education. Amongst the objectives are to make children sensitive to the world of art and to encourage them to interpret what they see.

Initiation through a simple and motivating language, the formal analysis of works of art for students of compulsory Secondary Education and adults undergoing training programmes. On this visit, special attention is paid to encouraging dialogue about the works of art as a means of learning and affording an experience which may be transferable to another art museum.

A single theme tour, which is accessible and invites participation, for teachers and students from 12 to 16 years of age, 16 to 18 years of age and adults undergoing training programmes. The works of art, chosen in accordance with their period, subject and style, make it possible to contemplate and analyse old paintings and their corresponding location in the Museum.

A first encounter with the world of museums for schoolchildren from kindergarten and the first years of primary school. Part of its objectives are to stimulate observation and dialogue and to provide a view of the museum as a whole.

The following activities are based on the Museum’s temporary exhibitions:
Specially prepared workshops where groups, accompanied by a monitor, may experience different aspects related with the theme of some of the temporary exhibitions.

ACTIVITIES IN TH...+ [ Read all ]


The Friends of Bilbao Fine Arts Museum came into being in 1981 to offer local society the opportunity to take a more active and direct role in the life of the Museum.
For an annual contribution, Friends of the Museum obtain a series of privileges giving preferential access to, information about and participation in the Museum's activities. Membership categories include Student/ Over 65, Active Member, Family/ Dual and Protector.
For more information, email us on:


The Bilbao Fine Arts Museum proposes a Corporate Members programme to companies and institutions wishing to make a significant contribution to the museum and its activities.
The Museum offers a number of formulas for participation and guarantees public acknowledgement of the support these organisations give to the Museum.
Categories of sponsorship are: Friend Company, Collaborating Company and Trustee.

Venue hire

Dimensions: 470m2
Capacity: 150 seated/450 standing.
Uses: Receptions, presentations, cocktails, dinners and meetings (including p.a. system, projection of slides, opaque projection screen, digital image, video and cinema and technical staff).
When available for use: Mondays and other days outside the hours open to the public (from 20.15 onwards).

Dimensions: 150m2
Capacity: 175.
Uses: Receptions and cocktails.
When available for use: Mondays and other days outside the hours open to the public (from 20.15 onwards).

Dimensions: 130m2
Capacity: 50 seated/150 standing.
Uses: Receptions and cocktails.
When available for use: Mondays and other days outside the hours open to the public (from 20.15 onwards).

Stage: 47m2
Capacity: 206 seated.
Uses: Conferences, presentations, congresses and board meetings.
When available for use: Any day and hour (priority will be given to the Museum's programmes).

Dimensions: 130m2
Capacity: 150 standing.
Uses: Receptions and cocktails.
When available for use: Any day and hour (priority will be given to the Museum's programmes).

Dimensions: 295m2
Capacity: 110 seated/206 standing.
Uses: Receptions, presentations, cocktails, dinners and meetings (including p.a. system, projection of slides, opaque screen projection, digital image, video and cinema and technical staff).
When available for use: Any day or time.

Dimensions: 128m2
Capacity: 50 seated/150 standing.
Uses: Receptions, cocktails, dinners and meetings.
When available for use: Mondays and other days outside the hours open to the public (from 20.15 on...+ [ Read all ]