Works of the Spanish, Italian, German, Flemish, and French schools from the fifteenth to the eighteenth century, with artists who worked in the Gothic, Renaissance, mannerist, and baroque styles, including the transition to neoclassicism.
Of the Italian school: Alessandro di Mariano di Vanni Filipepi (Sandro Botticelli), pseudo-Pier Francesco Fiorentino, Bernardino di Betto (Pinturicchio), Filippino Lippi, the workshop of Leonardo da Vinci, Bernardino Luini, Giorgio Vasari, Giulio Pippi, Aurelio Luini, Giovanni Antonio Bazzi (Il Sodoma), Andrea del Sarto, Michele Tosini (Michele di Ridolfo or Michele Ghirlandaio), Jacopo Robusti (Tintoretto), Tiziano Vecellio (Titian), Paolo Caliari (Paolo Veronese), Artemisia Gentileschi, Francesco Bassano the Younger, Giacomo Guardi, and Francesco Guardi.
Of the Spanish school: Juan de Flandes, Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, Doménikos Theotokópoulos (El Greco), Jusepe de Ribera (Lo Spagnoletto), Alonso Sánchez Coello, Jan Kraeck, Francisco Zurbarán, Bernardo Llorente Germán, and Francisco Bayeu y Subías. Of the Flemish school: Lucas Gassel, Marten de Vos, Herri met de Bles, Pieter Brueghel the Younger, Pieter Baltens, Peter Paul Rubens, Anthony van Dyck, Frans Hals, Jacob Marrell, Jan Wyck, among others. Of the German school: Lucas Cranach the Elder and Lucas Cranach the Younger, and Daniel Gran. Of the French school: Trophime Bigot, Claude-Joseph Vernet and his workshop, Claude Michel (Clodion), Jean-Honoré Fragonard, and Gustave Doré.
Museo Soumaya possesses the largest collection of Rodin outside of France. It includes examples of his early work produced under academic influences, mythological pieces, portraits, and fragments depicting parts of the body, as well as the monumental Burghers of Calais and works related to The Gates of Hell: The Thinker, The Kiss, and The Three Shades.
Other artists in the collection include Honoré Daumier and Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux, Albert-Ernest Carrier-Belleuse, Camille Claudel and Émile-Antoine Bourdelle, Aristide Maillol, Alfredo Pina, Fritz Klimsch, and Alfred Boucher.
This part of the collection is made up of painters whose work defied academic standards. The Barbizon school is represented by Jean-François Millet, Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Gustave Courbet, and others, and the impressionists by Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Edgar Degas, and Jean-Baptiste-Armand Guillaumin. Landscape and portraiture are the genres most commonly represented, as in the late-nineteenth-century work of Vincent van Gogh and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. The following period began with Paul Signac and Maximilien Luce, as well as post-impressionists such as Gustave Loiseau and Hugues-Claude Pissarro, who drew on the teachings of their impressionist forebears. The art of painting was transformed by the handling of color of the first avant-garde movements, such as that of the Fauves: Georges Rouault, Raoul Dufy, and Maurice de Vlaminck. The museum also has works by Pablo Picasso, examples of the metaphysical painting of Giorgio de Chirico, and surrealists works by Max Ernst, Salvador Dalí, and Joan Miró, a painter who gave new meaning to primitive graphic symbols.
Women painters, who studied in private academies as a result of the gender discrimination of the age, produced works depicting the women’s world of home and garden: Marie Laurencin, Mary Cassatt, Eva Gonzalès, Berthe Morisot, and Virginie Demont-Breton.
The personal collection of the Lebanese-born artist gathers personal objects, letters, manuscripts (such as those of The Prophet and The Madman), annotated editions, videos, and photographs by Edward Steichen, George Harting, and Fred Holland Day, as well as oil paintings and drawings by Gibran himself, associated with the fin-de-siècle French Symbolist movement, and the death mask of the man known as the poet of exile.
The pre-Hispanic sculpture of western Mesoamerica is represented by masks, clay figurines, inscribed skulls, incense burners, and braziers of the pre-classic, classic, and post-classic periods, on loan to Museo Soumaya from the Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia de México (INAH). Also on display are prints and documents related to the royal expedition in search of antiquities undertaken by Luciano Castañeda in New Spain between 1805 and 1807.
Works by Juan Correa, Cristóbal de Villalpando, Miguel Cabrera, Nicolás Enríquez, and José de Páez, along with paintings, sculptures, inlaid mother-of-pearl work, and many other objects created by anonymous artists in the cultural crucible of New Spain constitute the artistic legacy of the viceroyalty to independent Mexico. The collection also includes works from the South American viceroyalties.
The collection illustrates three aspects of the genre of portrait painting in nineteenth-century Mexico: the production of the Academy of San Carlos, including works by Pelegrín Clave, Felipe Santiago Gutiérrez, and Juan Cordero; the provincial portrait, exemplified by the work of José María Estrada, full of character, honesty, and artistic freedom; and the popular work of Hermenegildo Bustos, who created portraits of striking psychological penetration. The tradition of portraiture in Mexico also included the genre of the Muerte Niña, representations of children who died in infancy, known as angelitos (‘little angels’).
Between 1825 and 1860, Mexico was visited by a series of artists who turned the gaze of the enlightened traveler on the Mexican landscape: Daniel Thomas Egerton, Conrad Wise Chapman, Jean-Baptiste Louis, Baron Gros, and Johann Moritz Rugendas, among others. The influence of these artists can be detected in the homegrown school of Mexican landscape painting, represented by Eugenio Landesio, Luis Coto y Maldonado, and José María Velasco.
The influence of European avant-garde movements was combined with the aspirations of post-revolutionary Mexico in the works of artists such as Gerardo Murillo (Dr. Atl), Diego Rivera, José Clemente Orozco, and David Alfaro Siqueiros. The museum also possesses two murals by Rufino Tamayo and a collection of self-portraits of Mexican artists assembled by the engineer and cultural entrepreneur Marte R. Gómez. The generation of La Ruptura is represented by artists such as Günther Gerzso, Juan Soriano, José García Ocejo, and José Luis Cuevas, among others, in addition to artists from Oaxaca such as Francisco Toledo and Sergio Hernández.
From the sixteenth century to the beginning of the nineteenth century, the art of printmaking was of a religious character. Copper engravings, woodcuts, etchings, and lithographs were produced by draftsmen and printers such as Joseph de Nava, Manuel Villavicencio, Baltasar Troncoso, and Ignacio Cumplido.
Reliquaries, miniatures in their tradition ivory supports, small-format oil paintings, wood carvings, works in wax, and feather work on paper or metal sheets. Works by masters such as Antonio Tomasich y Haro, Francisco Morales, María de Jesús Ponce de Ibarrarán, and Francisca Salazar.
New Spain was rich in precious metals, and the production of its mines served for commercial transactions all over the Americas, Europe, and Asia. Museo Soumaya possesses the collection originally assembled by Licio Lagos, made up of pieces from the sixteenth to the eighteenth century, and that of Don Bailey and Floyd Ganassi, which includes both coins and civil and military medals from opposing sides during the Second Mexican Empire and the struggle by the republican forces against the French intervention.
The museum’s collection of gold and silver coins constitute a numismatic history of Mexico. It includes the first coin minted in the Americas, known as the Carlos y Juana, in its two series or types. There are also examples of macuquinas, or hammered coins, bearing the image of Philip II, as well as the first circular coins, minted in 1732, during the reign of Philip V, known as El Animoso (‘the spirited one’), and coins from the reigns of Ferdinand VI and Charles III, the latter known as peluconas cara de rata (‘bewigged rat-faces’), in derogatory reference to the monarch’s profile and the common use of wigs in the eighteenth century. From the period of Mexico’s War of Independence there are reales del Sud and the first coins to bear the image of the eagle as a national symbol, minted by the Zitácuaro Junta (or Supreme National Governing Junta). Coins of independent Mexico include those from the First Mexican Empire, the republican coins of 1823, with the national seal on the obverse, those from the Second Mexican Empire, showing the first use of the decimal system, coins minted by the republican government of Benito Juárez, those minted under Porfirio Díaz, bearing the image of the scale, and the first coins dating from 1905 with the legend Estados Unidos Mexicanos imprinted on them. Finally, there are coins from the revolutionary period, as well as centenarios, aztecas, and hidalgos.
An enormous variety of objects of diverse materials, manufacture, and provenance moved through the viceroyalty of New Spain, a commercial crossroads of Europe, Asia, and the rest of the Americas until the beginning of the nineteenth century. Particularly noteworthy in the museum’s holdings is the collection of spoons assembled by Ernesto Richheimer, complemented by other kitchen utensils that date as far back as two thousand years. Also of interest are objects such as the Viennese toiletry bag of Ferdinand VII, a bracelet that belonged to the Empress Charlotte Amelia of Belgium and Mexico, pieces from the Royal Factory of San Ildefonso de la Granja, monstrances from New Granada, and a variety of furniture, escritoires, music boxes, screen, clocks, and jewelry.
Brocades, damasks, silks, satins, and velvets, including both women’s and men’s clothing, undergarments, accessories, and jewelry, as well as printed publications, covering the period from 1780 to 1950 and marking milestones in fashion, a concept generated by modern culture. In the area of religious and ritual attire and equipment, the museum’s collection includes garments decorated with brocade, sequins, and galloons, capes for Madonna and Christ Child figures, religious furnishings, and chalice veils.
The collection includes daguerreotypes, ferrotypes, and platinum, collodion, and albumen prints dating from as far back as the middle of the nineteenth century. The photographs portray politicians, artists, show-business personalities, and other celebrities, as well as the popular traditions of early-twentieth-century Mexico. Cameras, phototypes, gelatin silver, and other materials complete the collection. In addition to works from the photographic studios of Charles Jacotin, Hugo Brehme, Natalia Baquedano, the Compañía Industrial Fotográfica (cif), and the MRM company, there are also examples of older formats such as cartes de visite and postcards.
From the 1930s through the 1970s, Galas de México was the leading publisher of calendars and other commercial images in much of Latin America. These chromos were the result of a collaboration between painters, photographers, draftsmen, printers, and the clients themselves, who recreated the history, religious devotions, landscapes, traditions, folklore, and humor of Mexico, as well as transformations in modern urban life, sports, cinema, and feminine beauty. The museum’s collection constitutes an entire industrial archaeology, including machinery, oil paintings, prints, glass negatives, acetate films, and cameras.
Artists represented in the collection, active from the 1930s to the beginning of the 1980s, include Jesús de la Helguera, Antonio Gómez y Rodríguez, Jaime Sadurní, Eduardo Cataño, Jorge González Camarena, José Bribiesca Ruvalcaba, Conchita Pesquera, Manuela Ballester, Aurora Gil, Luis Améndolla, Ángel Martín, and Humberto Limón, among many others.