The San Diego Museum of Art at Balboa Park is fortunate to be the only city in the U.S. to house the impressive collection, From El Greco to Dali: Great Spanish Masters from the Perez Simon Collection. The exhibit opens Saturday and runs through Nov. 6.
From El Greco to Dali contains some of the world's most recognizable names in the history of art, some of which could only be viewed at world class museums like the Prado in Madrid until now.
The Perez Simon collection comes to San Diego's premier art museum unexpectedly after two scheduled stops. The collection was curated for exposition at the Musee Jacquemart-Andre in Paris last year, and the the Musee national de beaux-arts du Quebec, where it was displayed through early January.
This detour to San Diego was made possible due to the efforts of the Balboa Park museum’s new executive director, Roxana Velazquez Martinez del Campo, whose previous work in the arts in Mexico yielded a personal friendship with the owner of the collection, Mexican financier Juan Antonio Perez Simon.
Velazquez and her staff worked tirelessly to bring the monumental exhibit to San Diego, in an effort to make the works of art available to “the broadest possible audiences” on both sides of the
border before they headed back to their home in Mexico City.
A total of 64 pieces, only Spanish paintings and sculptures, adorn the Balboa Park museum's galleries and includes masterpieces from Picasso, Murillo, Dali, Miro, Goya, Sorrolla and El Greco.
“Seeing these paintings in proximity surely will allow us to enhance our understanding of artists, patrons, and audiences both of our times and those of the past,” wrote Velasquez in the massive catalogue translated from French to English for this exhibit. The tome details 500 years of history and the significance of each piece.
Perez Simon, speaking through an interpreter at a press conference held at Balboa Park, expressed his desire to share the treasures with the public. "When you own this art, it becomes a responsibility to show it to society so they can enjoy it as well," he acknowledged.
A large group of the art collector's relatives traveled to the museum for the unveiling of the masterpieces which, as he added, "belong to the family after all."
Perez Simon has been described as a modern J. Paul Getty – collecting art has been a passion he has pursued over 40 years. He also received an award for his contribution to fostering the spread of Hispanic art and culture.
His collection consists of approximately 1,700 pieces of Impressionist, Classical and Modern art, and is believed to be one of the most important privately-held collections in Latin America.
For hours and ticket information visit www.sdmart.org.