The Museo de Arte de Ponce is a non-profit organization, recognized worldwide as an important center of European art in America, and continues to offer its visitors a rich panorama of Western art, from the end of the Middle Ages to the dawn of the 20th century. Two strengths within the European collection are Baroque art and Victorian painting.
The Museo de Arte de Ponce was founded by Luis A. Ferré (1904-2003), a Puerto Rican philanthropist, cement tycoon and future governor of Puerto Rico who felt passionately about culture and education. Ferré had the vision of bringing outstanding examples of European art to the island. Unlike other founders, who created museums out of personal collections, Ferré started buying for the institution from the outset by establishing first The Luis A. Foundation in 1957.
The Museum opened its doors to the public on January 3, 1959, in a colonial house in Ponce, Ferré’s hometown and a center of cultural life during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The current building was inaugurated on December 28, 1965, and was designed by American Architect Edward Durell Stone, who is acclaimed for projects such as MOMA in New York and the Kennedy Center in Washington DC. Both the building and its gardens are recognized as landmark designs in Puerto Rico’s architectural heritage. When the Museum opened, the collection consisted of 71 paintings; these have been added to over the years, both before and after Ferré’s death, and today they number approximately 4,500 artworks.