New Goya museum left an empty shell
Spain's austerity drive halts work in Fuendetodos, the artist's home town
By Javier Pes and Laurie Rojas. Web only
Published online: 08 August 2013
Building work on a E7m museum celebrating the work and legacy of Goya (1746-1828) stopped abruptly in July in the small town in the north east of Spain where the artist was born. The town of Fuendetodos, which has a population of less than 170, depends on income generated by its most famous son. Around 20,000 people visit Francisco de Goya's birth place, the Casa Natal Goya, a house-museum run by the Fundación Fuendetodos Goya in the town, which is is 44km south of Zaragoza, the regional capital of Aragon.
Work began on the new museum in 2009 because the collection had outgrown the Casa Natal Goya. Mayor funders are the Provincial Government of Zaragoza and Spain's Ministry of Culture. The Mayor of Fuendetodos, Joaquín Gimeno, says: “The [ministry], the organisation that has helped us the most to realise the museum, told us that there is no funding for museums in construction in 2013.” He says that the walls of the building, which has been designed by the Madrid-based architects Matos Castillo, are complete but "it needs to be sealed and finished inside". He does not know when building work can resume. “The day we get funding again we will keep working on the project.” But the ministry has not given the foundation or the major any indication when this might happen.
Called the Museo del Grabado, referring to printmaking, etching and engraving, the new institution will house a collection of Goya prints including four famous series, "Los Caprichos", "Los Desastres del Guerra", "La Tauromaquia" and "Los Disparates". The foundation's 4,000-strong collection includes historic and contemporary prints that have been donationed by individuals, artists and galleries. "We have never had funding for acquisitions,” says the mayor. Meanwhile, the foundation continues running workshops and organising exhibitions. Casa Natal Goya currently features the graphic work of the British-born, French-based artist and writer John Berger and his artist son Yves Berger (until 8 September).
The mayor told the Spanish newspaper El Pais that Fuendetodos's new museum is not an "airport without planes" stressing the strength of the collection. He was referring to the airport of Ciudad Real in La Mancha, central Spain. A symbol of municipal excess during Spain's building boom, the "ghost" airport, where no plane has landed, is now up for auction. Meanwhile, creditors are owed millions of euros.
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