Fundacion MAPFRE

Fundacion MAPFRE
Madrid, Spain

FUNDACION MAPFRE  through its Culture Department offers a broad and coherent programme that includes general-interest cultural projects in the fields of the arts; literature and history, targeted at audiences in Spain, Latin America, Europe and the United States.

FUNDACION MAPFRE has four galleries where it hosts a complete range of visual arts and photography exhibitions, which are complemented by encounters with artists and writers, lectures and seminars on a variety of themes held in the foundation’s auditorium.

Our goal is to reach the widest possible audience. To this end, we are firmly committed to promoting our activities in the international arena and hold exhibitions featuring our own art and other collections in museums and galleries around the world. One of our most important challenges is to develop long-term global projects. A good example of our work in this area is the Latin America in Contemporary History Collection, launched in association with the Santillana (Spain) publishing group, which involves the publication of more than 100 books and the organisation of 15 exhibitions over a five year period, to follow the project please go to

We believe to have laid the foundations for a solid initiative which will benefit countless people on several continents and which we hope to expand in the future with the invaluable collaboration and support of institutions and museums around the world.


In 1989 FUNDACION MAPFRE started to build up an art collection, which currently boasts over one thousand five hundred works on paper.  Since its inception, the collection has placed great emphasis on collecting and preserving works on paper that reflect the artist’s first and truest inspiration. With over a thousand drawings, the collection includes works by artists like Pablo Picasso, Gustav Klimt, Kurt Schwitters, Henri Matisse and Egon Schiele.

Incorporating photography was therefore seen as essential, given its status as a 20th-century language expressed on paper, capable of freezing and documenting reality like no other medium.

In 2007, we began a collection that focused exclusively on artistic photography from the second half of the 20th-century—primarily in the documentary tradition. The initiative sought to introduce audiences to major photographers whose work had not been previously exhibited in Spain, or was not part of other Spanish collections. The collection therefore acts as a counterweight to public collections that only minimally represent
photography from this period.

The complete The Brown Sisters series by Nicholas Nixon was the first major acquisition, thus setting the tone for a collection where portraiture is a cornerstone. The acquisition was designed to promote a new line of exhibitions that would not only focus on the works of great masters, but provide a window to internationally acclaimed contemporary photographers whose work had never had a solid retrospective in Spain.

Leading photographers who have most contributed to the development of the medium—including Eugene Atget, Walker Evans and Lee Friedlander—enjoy a prominent place in the collection, alongside younger artists like Anna Malagrida and Fazal Sheikh, who, despite their international acclaim, are still relatively unknown in Spain.

The year 2011 was an important year for the collection, with two major acquisitions: 111 works by Paul Strand were acquired, thus offering a
full profile of the artist’s career. Also, several works by Graciela Iturbide were bought, totalling 186 prints in the collection, which provides us with a truly full body of the artist’s lifetime work.

In 2012 we began a new trend  commissioning works from photographers featured in our programme; that is the case of Jitka Hanzlová, who  has been working on capturing new images in Madrid, some which will remain in the collection, and Emmet Gowin, who pursued a project in
southern Spain. 

FUNDACIÓN MAPFRE' s  collection holds works by the following photographers:
Robert Adams, Diane Arbus, Eugène Atget, Bleda y Rosa, Harry Callahan, Joan Colom, Walker Evans, Robert Frank, Lee Friedlander, Alberto García-Alix, José Guerrero, John Gutmann, Graciela Iturbide, David Jiménez, Helen Levitt, Anna Malagrida, Fernando Maquieira, Lisette Model, Fazal Sheikh, Dayanita Singh, Paul Strand and Garry Winogrand.

Today,we are proud to say that our collection continues to grow and that our exhibitions programme remains true to its original principles: this is a
work in progress in which we invest time, effort and devotion. It has proved to be a great source of joy and pride to make the art of
these photographers available for the public, both in Spain and beyond our borders.

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Centro de Documentación - Fundación MAPFREP.º de Recoletos, 23
28004 Madrid
Visit Fundacion MAPFRE's website
Opening hours
Monday9:00 AM – 2:00 PM, 3:00 – 5:00 PM
Tuesday9:00 AM – 2:00 PM, 3:00 – 5:00 PM
Wednesday9:00 AM – 2:00 PM, 3:00 – 5:00 PM
Thursday9:00 AM – 2:00 PM, 3:00 – 5:00 PM
Friday9:00 AM – 2:30 PM