Museo Soumaya - Traveling Exhibitions

Traveling exhibitions

Rodin en México / Rodin en el Centro Histórico

This exhibition brings together the four major projects in the career of the French sculptor: The Gates of Hell, for the Musée des arts décoratifs in Paris, which marked the future course of Rodin’s artistic production; The Burghers of Calais, which sought to restore French national pride following the Franco-Prussian War; and Fragmentation and Movement, in which the artist experimented with body fragments to convey an impression of totality. Finally, The Inheritance introduces visitors to Rodin’s foremost disciples –Émile-Antoine Bourdelle and Camille Claudel–, exploring his legacy in the art of sculpture.


Curators: Gabriela Huerta Tamayo and Alfonso Miranda Márquez

La Era de Rodin / The Age of Rodin

This exhibition presents an essential collection: a selection of pieces, guided by the vision of critic Kenneth Clark, which exemplify the finest qualities of Rodin’s own work in sculpture and that of his age. It includes works by Camille Claudel, one of Rodin’s most famous disciples, and other artists who blazed a trail for the new visual arts of the twentieth century: Bourdelle, Maillol, Matisse, Degas, and Renoir, among many others. The Age of Rodin is a Museo Soumaya traveling exhibition that has visited numerous cities in Mexico, Central and South American, the United States, and Europe to great acclaim.


Curators: Cheryl Hartup (Museo de Arte de Ponce, Puerto Rico) and Alfonso Miranda Márquez (Museo Soumaya.Fundación Carlos Slim)

Tesoros de Museo Soumaya. Antiguos Maestros Europeos y Novohispanos

This showing was presented in the exhibition spaces of the Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria in Madrid, Spain. A selection of European Old Masters, Old Masters of New Spain, and nineteenth-century Mexican painting from the collection of Museo Soumaya. Thirty-five works created in a New World which had assimilated the knowledge, sensibilities, and subject matter of the Spanish, German, Italian, French, Flemish, and Austrian masters.


Curators: Alfonso Pérez Sánchez and Benito Navarrete (European Old Masters) and Gustavo Curiel (Old Masters of New Spain)

El Amor

The history of love is the history of humankind. Two of the most constant themes in art have been the love of God and the love between two human beings. In the realms of eroticism, sensuality, and mysticism, the spirit and the flesh are not divided. Comprising two hundred or so works, this exhibition explores more than five hundred years of amorous and religious raptures in painting, sculpture, apparel, the applied arts, photographs, and chromolithographs created for calendars.


Curator: Héctor Palhares Meza

México. Mito, muerte e inmortalidad / Myth, Mortals and Immortality

In the Mexican universe, a rich variety of luminous images and figures have created a cultural paradise. The jade and quetzal flowers of the indigenous cultures, flower and song of Nezahualcóyotl; the beauty of the mind in Sor Juan Inés de la Cruz; the arid fields and candid frankness of the faithful campesinos, inhabitants of the stories of Juan Rulfo; the Suave Patria of Ramón López Velarde, all the bounty of earth and air; the acknowledged solitude of Octavio Paz’s labyrinth, which imposes itself upon us and drives us to search. An exhibition that brings together paintings, sculptures, works of applied art, reliquaries, and clothing from the Museo Soumaya collection to explore the fascinating cultural mosaic of Mexico.


Curators: Mónica López Velarde and Héctor Palhares Meza

Del mito al sueño. Rodin...Dalí

During the transition from the nineteenth to the twentieth century, Auguste Rodin opened the way to a new representation of the human figure. He explored the body, fragmented it, and captured its movements in highly original works full of character, feeling, and sensuality. The reference of the surrealists is the human soul. Dalí would play with the absurd logic of the mind, creating soft clocks or bodies with drawers, expressing the hidden fears and shames of the soul. This exhibition explores the myths and dreams of modern man: Love, the allegories and expressions of lovers; Women, the beauty that inspired Rodin and unsettled Dalí; the Body, an expression of feelings and the discovery of the psyche.


Curators: Gabriela Huerta Tamayo and Alfonso Miranda Márquez

2300 Cucharas y utensilios. 2800 años

Human beings create, use, designate, and observe tools, extensions of their hands. With the development of agriculture, they began to have more time to prepare food and create utensils. At the same time, the process of preparing food became more sophisticated. The hearth and kitchen would become a meeting place in cultures of every age. The focus of this exhibition, the spoon, has been treated by different societies as utensil, cultural object, and symbol. It is seen here in a variety of ways: as a cultural artifact, devotional object, traveler’s companion, and source of amusement.


Curators: Monserrat Ugalde and Héctor Palhares Meza

Autorretratos. La colección de Marte R. Gómez

On 31 May 1946, a group of painters, sculptors, writers, collectors, and public officials gathered in Chapultepec restaurant to pay homage to a man who had sincerely appreciated the Mexican painting of the first half of the twentieth century: Marte R. Gómez. Thirty-four of the forty self-portraits presented to Gómez by the artists at this tribute are in the collection of Museo Soumaya: María Izquierdo, Dr. Atl, Olga Costa, Roberto Montenegro, Carlos Mérida, Raúl Anguiano, Miguel Covarrubias, Juan Soriano, Angelina Beloff, Germán and Lola Cueto, and many others.


Curators: Eva Ayala Canseco and Mónica López Velarde

Dalí. Juego y deseo

In his playful dream universe, Dalí expressed his fears and desires, phobias and liberations. His famous soft clocks, horses, and female figures emerged from the very depths of his psyche. Salvador Dalí went beyond painting, exploring the labyrinths of the unconscious without decomposing figures into splotches of color or abstract geometries. In each one of these works, a paranoid game is played out between dual and opposing concepts: soft and hard, inside and outside, light and heavy, logical and absurd, earth and air, Gala and Dalí…


Curator: Gabriela Huerta Tamayo 

Viento detenido. Mitologías e historias en el arte del Biombo

The screen is a furnishing used to divide and confine a space. It frames and provides privacy. It protects us and delimits an ambience. The screen also offers vistas: it is an open window, offering a glimpse of what is behind it, or a closed one, covering it up. The great cultural, commercial, and artistic interchanges opened up between Europe, the Americas, and the Orient by the routes of discovery gave rise to esthetic expressions such as the decorated screen, which combines the technical and artistic properties of a piece of furniture and a work of art. This exhibition unites the New World and the Old, presenting more than twenty beautiful screens of different styles and compositional types.


Curators: Ana Elena Mallet and Mónica López Velarde

De casa y de calle. El siglo XIX mexicano

This exhibition gathers fifty-six pieces that illustrate the uses and customs that marked the transit from public to private in the configuration of Mexico’s national identity. The public and private sphere interact through a careful selection of paintings, sculptures, lithographs, prints, miniatures, clothing, toys, and ex-votos. Traveler-artists such as Chapman and Egerton portrayed the diversity of the Mexican scene from a foreigner’s viewpoint, while masters such as Claudio Linati captured the multicultural character of Mexico in their lithographs and watercolors of popular “types” from different regions of the country. Finally, the more intimate palettes of Felipe Santiago Gutiérrez and José Agustín Arrieta offer us a glimpse nineteenth-century Mexican family life.


Curator: Héctor Palhares Meza 

Pudor y liviandad. Tres siglos de moda en México

While addressing the need to protect the body, clothing also developed as a safeguard for personal modesty and out of a respect for tradition. Clothing became a mark of one’s particular place in society, and fashion emerged as a constant search for the new in form and decoration. Fashion is most identified with apparel, but has also found expression in areas such as furniture, the applied arts, language and customs, tastes and ideas, artists… Covering the period from 1780 to 1930, this exhibition traces the evolution of clothing in terms of social norms, ephemeral details, and modes of seduction, as signs of modern civilization.


Curators: Eva Ayala Canseco and Mónica López Velarde

De corazón… Latidos del alma novohispana

Ever since antiquity, the heart has been considered the center of life, the seat of the will and the passions. Apostolic mysticism conceived of it as a dwelling place for the soul, the focus of divine love, fostering the embrace of the sacred hearts of Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary.

This exhibition presents a mosaic of ruddy, luminous hearts wreathed in thorns and protected by the angelic hosts, in allusion to the redeeming sacrifice of Christ and the presence of the divine in our own bodies. Welcome to a rapturous journey accompanied by the beating of the heart…


Curators: Monserrat Ugalde and Alfonso Miranda Márquez

José María Velasco

The genre of academic landscape painting culminating in Mexico in the figure of José María Velasco, an artist born in Estado de Mexico in the country’s central highlands. Heir to the compositional and technical lessons of Pelegrín Clavé and the Italian painter Eugenio Landesio at the Academy of San Carlos, Velasco reinterpreted landscape on the basis of his solid scientific training.


This exhibition presents the oils, watercolors, and charcoal drawings of the artist about whom art critic Raquel Tibol has written: Velasco began like all the naturalist and idealist painters of his time, with the difference that his cultural and scientific knowledge freed him from the whimsical intuitions that exaggerate idealism, rendering it artificial.


Curator: Mónica López Velarde

De lo divino y cristalino. Arte virreinal de los siglos XVI al XVIII

In 1492 Christopher Columbus opened up the frontiers of the known world and incorporated a new agent into the reality of the West: America. The encounter of two worlds gave rise to works by artists who combined newly-acquired European techniques and materials with the creative force of the Mesoamerican cultures, as well as African and Asian traditions. Presenting the work of various guilds in New Spain –painters, silversmiths, goldsmiths, embroiderers, and others–, this exhibition explores the great esthetic currents and concerns of viceregal Mexico.


Curator: Alfonso Miranda Márquez

Impresionismo y vanguardias

This exhibition presents thirty works whose techniques and subject matter originated in fin-de-siècle Paris and the open air painting movement in France. Little by little, light itself is broken up into vivid colors and restless brushstrokes: canvases that recreate the perceptions and subjectivity of the artists.


The main exponents of these audacious and exemplary innovations were Courbet and the early Van Gogh, whose landscapes nourished the realist movement; the principal impressionists –Monet, Pissarro, Renoir, Guillaumin, Degas, and Cézanne–; and the artists who followed them, in an overwhelming flood of visual metamorphoses: Loiseau, Luce, Signac, Vuillard, Rouault, Friesz, Vlaminck, Jean Dufy, and Hugues-Claude Pissarro.


Curators: Gabriela Huerta Tamayo and Héctor Palhares Meza

El Jardín secreto

In Arabic, an exchange of thoughts by means of flowers is designated by the word salaam, also used as a salutation. The Secret Garden is bedecked in flowers that are a symbol of life. Delicate and frail, they adorn, they wreathe one’s identity, and they are an offering of love, gallantry, and devotion. Captured by the brushes of the Flemish painter Jacob Marrell and the American Conrad Wise Chapman, flowers also live in the Mexican works of José Agustín Arrieta, Humberto Limón, Eduardo Cataño, and Jorge González Camarena. Reliquaries, miniatures, screens, shawls, dishes, cards, and other objects are also bearers of floral motifs, in which nature and human beings compile an anthology of love.


Curator: Héctor Palhares Meza

José Agustín Arrieta

Arrieta painted a great deal, signed his works very seldom, and rebelled against the academic subject matter of his time, which preferred historical scenes to the stuff of everyday life. Born in Tlaxcala, the painter grew up in the city of Puebla. He was probably a student at the Academy of Fine Arts in the City of the Angels at the time of Ximénez de las Cuevas. Arrieta was a master of popular scenes. The greater part of his work can be classified as still lifes, dining room scenes, and narrative paintings that take place in kitchens, at festivities, in pulquerías, or on the street. The china poblana is a favorite figure of Arrieta’s in these scenes. This exhibition presents Arrieta’s work in all its varied textures, lights, shadows, volumes, colors, and tastes.


Curator: Mónica López Velarde

La leyenda de los cromos. El arte de los calendarios en México / Mexican Art Calendars

From the 1930s to the 1970s, Galas de México played a larger role in Mexico’s graphic arts than any other publisher. The demand for wall calendars was all the rage, and production boomed. The chromos that decorated the calendars were the collective creations of painters, companies, and their clients. The idyllic images of Mexican culture have endured to the present day in the collective imagination. This exhibition, which has traveled throughout Mexico, as well as to the United States and Lebanon, gathers some of the more than five thousand oil paintings preserved by Galas de México, illustrating an branch of commercial art that has had deep resonance in Mexican culture.


Curators: Gabriela Huerta Tamayo and Héctor Palhares Meza

Juan Soriano. Santo y seña

Juan Soriano has been loved and esteemed as a model of the free man, and his work is an expression of that freedom. This exhibition is a tribute to Juan, to his presence as artist and friend. Paintings sculptures, and drawings that illustrate the principal creative periods of the artist, starting with his early years of rebellion, when he declared: I see other things than those my teacher claims to see. In his painting and sculpture, as well as through the experimental theater group Poesía en voz alta, Soriano belongs to that singular group of absolutely unclassifiable painters. He has bequeathed us the figure of an artist pure and simple. Perhaps that is why he felt like a bird… in full flight.


Curator: Mónica López Velarde

Paisaje, entorno y retorno

A source of poetic and costumbrista inspiration, landscape has been fundamental to both Mexican and European imaginaries. The genre shows human beings in dialogue with nature in a great diversity of latitudes, regions, and climates. This exhibition explores landscape from within, in terms of its changing aims, from the sixteenth to the twentieth century. It also reflects a dialogue between two continents, exploring open spaces as the essential setting for costumbrista and everyday scenes, from the European Old Masters to the impressionists and early avant-garde movements, in confirmation of Vincent van Gogh’s dictum: Art is man added to nature.


Curator: Héctor Palhares Meza

Retrato de familia

Human beings’ innate desire to observe images of themselves and preserve them over time has made portraiture one of the most ancient and enduring artistic genres. It seeks personal and social reaffirmation, consigning groups of people to castes, lineages, or other forms of relationship through the re-creation of physical and symbolic motifs. This exhibition clearly demonstrates some of the important ways in which the family portrait has flourished in Mexico: from a testimony to conjugal, maternal, or fraternal ties to an object of remembrance for relatives, including images of religious devotion, ex-votos, and the subgenre of the muerte niña (portraits of deceased children).


Curators: Eva Ayala Canseco and Mónica López Velarde 

Santuarios de lo íntimo. Miniaturas y relicarios

The portrait genre has always been of special importance to miniaturists. Often preserved in beautiful lockets, the portrait would become a piece of jewelry, an object worn as an ornament that at the same time evoked a feeling of longing.


Relics and devotional images are also safeguarded in the tiny spaces of medallions or lockets. Reliquaries contain the bodily remains of saints or of the objects they came into contact with. This exhibition offers new possible readings of a concrete artistic and historical fact. Religious fervor, epic and sentimental…


Curators: Alfonso Miranda Márquez, Eva Ayala Canseco and Mónica López Velarde

Estampa devocional. Imaginario de fervor religioso

Drawing from of one of the most complete Mexican collections of devotional prints ever assembled, this exhibition presents forty-six works, including woodcuts, stencils, and lithographs from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, connected with the devotions of Christ and the Virgin Mary.


The contemplation of art in a print is an invitation to inhabit the world. A set of portable images, works of this kind have always served as a visual catalogue for both experienced artists and novices seeking models of composition, iconography, contexts, figures, and objects. Religious prints have also been something for believers to cherish and worship.


Curators: Gabriela Huerta Tamayo and Mónica López Velarde


One of the enduring fascinations of David Alfaro Siqueiros was experimentation with different techniques and compositional methods that awakened new forms of visual interest in the viewer. Some of his most outstanding experiments are on display here: oils, piroxylenes, acrylics, and charcoals on canvas, wood, paper, cardboard, asbestos, and wax, among other techniques.


Abstract paintings, expressionist or figurative, all of them convey a feeling of ascension. Figures with open arms as a symbol of freedom. The exhibition includes studies that passed through the painter’s mind at the easel before being rendered on the spectacular asbestos. Works that march with a gesture of triumph into the posterity of the artist.


Curator: Alfonso Miranda Márquez

¡Cámara! 1915 – 1950

This traveling exhibitions of vintage photographs dating from 1915 to 1950 consists of forty-five portraits, testimonies to the nationalism fostered by family photographs and the postcard industry in the world of Mexican art.


The songs, the traditional costumes of the chinas poblanas and charros, and the rural settings are the first expressions of the identity gradually created for itself by Mexico from the beginning of the twentieth century. The themes: corridos and traditional ballads, accompanied by illustrated postcards, that gave birth to the genre of the twentieth-century ranchera song. A family photo album: individual and group portraits of people posing to be remembered, accompanies by a selection of photographs from the same period, grouped together like the vignettes of a story.


Curators: Gabriela Huerta Tamayo and Eva Ayala Canseco

Lo irrepresentable: muerte niña

Not only anonymous painters, but also the finest brushes in the history of Mexican art –Villalpando and Herrera in the viceregal period, Bustos and Espinosa in independent Mexico, Soriano and Siqueiros in the twentieth century–, as well as some outstanding photographers, have participated in the Catholic funeral rites that, ever since the age of humanism and the baroque, have expressed the enigmatic and irrevocable finitude of human life, paradoxically giving their subjects a sort of immortality in the process: a remembrance through images. This exhibition gathers images of the deceased children known as angelitos (‘little angels’), who, free of original sin, have been rendered eternal through this cherished artistic tradition.


Curator: Alfonso Miranda Márquez

Calendarios mexicanos

An exhibition that examines the industrial process of creating a chromolithograph: oil paintings, photographs, glass plates, acetates, proof sheets, machinery, prints, as well as the priceless oral testimonies gathered from the artists and employees of the great age of the calendar in the middle years of the twentieth century.


Patriotic themes, historical scenes, domestic and costumbrista settings, sports, children, humor, and feminine beauty were represented constantly on special and regular line calendars from 1933 to 1970. In the face of new image concepts generated by photography in the 1960s –children, pets, fruit, panoramic landscapes–, the formerly booming business of the illustrated calendar gradually drew to an end.


Curator: Héctor Palhares Meza

1900. París. La Belle Époque

In the year that was to end the nineteenth century, the World’s Fair in Paris would hold the most complete exhibition of modern art ever organized. Art at the crossroads: it was the age of the bohemians. Twenty kilometers from the City of Light is Saint-Germain-en-Laye, whose principal chateau was a residence of the kings of France until the seventeenth century.


In the group of six oils that make up the Panorama from the Terrace of Saint-Germain-en-Laye, Philippe Parrot-Lecomte showed different vistas of the Saint-Germain-en-Laye, depicting the landscape of the French countryside as well as the visitors to the locality and their activities.


Curator: Mónica López Velarde

El reino de las formas: Grandes maestros. Franz Mayer, Museo Nacional de San Carlos, Museo Soumaya

For the first time, the European collections of the Museo Nacional de San Carlos, the Museo Franz Mayer, and Museo Soumaya.Fundación Carlos Slim join forces in a common project. This exhibition of sixty paintings and sculptures explores the European legacy in the uses and customs of religious, secular, and allegorical art. The brushes of Zurbarán, Murillo, Bigot, Vaccaro, Giordano, Brueghel, Reynolds, and Hobbema, among others, generate new readings and discourses: an apparently distant reality in the context of western art, which is in fact a daily presence.


Curators: Marco Antonio Silva (Museo Nacional de San Carlos/INBA), Alejandro López Sandoval (Museo Franz Mayer), and Héctor Palhares Meza (Museo Soumaya.Fundación Carlos Slim)


This exhibition devoted to the American painter Conrad Wise Chapman, the creator of View of Mexico City from Lake Texcoco, consists of a selection of twenty eight works in different formats. Landscapes, still lifes, and portraits that exemplify the work of an admirer of Mexico’s natural surroundings and its people: the national landscape, with its splendid colors and clear highland air, in Valley of Mexico with Village in the Background, or Cholula. Works such as Still Life with Mexican Roses and Roses and Lilies celebrate the beauty of Mexican flora, accompanied by objects that evoke the style of the age.


Curators: Héctor Palhares Meza and Mónica López Velarde

Diego pintor, Frida modelo

In 1952 the Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes commissioned Diego Rivera to paint a mural for the exhibition Twenty Centuries of Mexican Art, which would travel to several European cities. Rivera included national symbols of the Cold War that made the Mexican organizers of the event uncomfortable. The mural was never exhibited as part of the original project, and Rivera made a gift of it to the Chinese government.


The splendid 4.5-x-10-meter tracing –a sort of sketch previous to the execution of the mural– is made up of ten fragments. It remained unknown to the general public for more than half a century, in the possession of Rina Lazo, one of Rivera’s assistants. It was put on sale in the United States and is now in the collection of Museo Soumaya. The work has been exhibited in part at the Museo de Arte de Ponce in Puerto Rico, at the Centro Cultural Borges in Buenos Aires, and at the Smithsonian International Gallery in Washington, D.C.


Curators: Mónica López Velarde and Héctor Palhares Meza

México 1810-1910-2010

Presented as part of the celebrations of the bicentenary of Mexican Independence and the centenary of the outbreak of the Mexican Revolution, this exhibition explores history, tradition, popular culture, and the colors and music of Mexico.


Chromos produced for Galas de México calendars dialogue with nineteenth-century works from the Museo Soumaya collection: oil paintings, photographs, works of applied art, miniatures, clothing, coins, and documents from the Centro de Estudios de Historia de México carso, including the Plan de Iguala, the Plan de Ayala, and the first edition of the national anthem. Two hundred years of Mexican history and the construction of a national identity.


Curator: Héctor Palhares Meza

Paisaje y otros pasajes mexicanos del siglo XIX

The genre of landscape painting is an invitation to contemplate the harmony of nature. Even as it portrays a regions or a country, it is also sometimes symbol or emblem. It may provide a setting for historical events, everyday occurrences, myths, or cultures . . . in short, for ourselves.


This exhibition presents twenty-four works of the nineteenth-century landscape genre which were popular not only in the Americas but in Europe as well, as a testament to their Romantic quality. Even as they provide a record of contemporary archaeological discoveries, these canvases take us back to nature, awakening our interest in exoticism and stimulating a passion for adventure.


Curators: Mónica López Velarde and Héctor Palhares Meza