The Museum of Contemporary Spanish Printmaking (Museo del grabado española contemporáneo) is a small and sometimes forgotten art museum in the city of Marbella in Spain. This museum, despite being widely unknown, has pieces of artwork by some of the most famous Spanish artists of the 20th Century including Picasso, Dalí and Miró. It is also the only museum in Spain to be dedicated entirely to the art of printing.
The Museum of Contemporary Spanish Printmaking was opened in 1992 thanks to the fantastic contribution on behalf of Dr. José Luis Morales y Marín, a professor at the Autonomous University of Madrid. Dr. José Luis Morales y Marín was a collector of prints as well as being an expert on the etchings of Francisco de Goya's works, among other painters. This professor, after numerous conversations and meetings with the Culture Minister of Marbella's city council, José Manuel Vallés Fernández, donated his entire collection of prints which totalled over 2000 pieces of work. The professor therefore became the founder and director of the Museum of Contemporary Spanish Printmaking up until his death in 1998.
This collection of prints would therefore make up the first collection of work for the museum which was then housed, on the suggestion of the city council, in the old building of the Bazán Hospital. This building was fit for purpose as it was architecturally beautiful and therefore matched the aesthetics of the subjects within.
From the moment of its opening up until today, the museum has been a lively centre for the study and appreciation of art and particularly that of the contemporary period in Spain. Furthermore, this Spanish museum is a leader in the promotion and history of printing.
The museum's collection continues to grow, and even though it is not one of the most famous museums in Spain, it still manages to contain works by the big names in Spanish art such as Salvador Dalí, Joan Miró and Pablo Picasso, among many others.
The building that houses the Museum of Contemporary Spanish Printmaking is the former Bazán Hospital can be found in the old quarter of the city of Marbella, close to the 'Iglesia Parroquial de Nuestra Señora de la Encarnación' (Parish Church of Our Lady of the Incarnation).
Built in the 16th Century, the building was designed and constructed in a Renaissance style although it contains some more ancient elements pertaining from the early Gothic and Mudejar periods of architecture. It has two floors and has a typically Spanish-style tiled roof and white-washed walls.
It was chosen by the founder Dr. José Luis Morales y Marín for a number of reasons. Firstly, because he wanted to have the opportunity to restore the old 16th Century building. However he also liked the situation of the building, commenting that it 'was in the stars'.
Today the Museum of Contemporary Spanish Printmaking has a collection of over 4000 prints and this number is continuing to grow. The majority of these works have been donated to the museum by artists, private collectors and institutions as well from the National Competition for Printmaking which is held at the museum annually.
In the collection you can find examples of more traditional prints from the start of the 15th Century up to and including the latest artworks from contemporary Spanish artists. The pieces consist in lithographs, stencils, etchings and prints made by various artists.
The most famous works in the Museum of Contemporary Spanish Printmaking include prints by Picasso, Miró and Dalí which remain in the museum's permanent collection. Other well known artists in the collection include Eduardo Chillida, Pablo Serrano and Antoni Tàpies.
Besides merely displaying the many prints that are in the collection, the museum also offers its visitors the chance to try their hand at printing themselves in its various workshops. These workshops are designed to allow visitors to learn about the various different techniques involved in the production of prints in a more first-hand approach.