The Outstanding Museums of Barcelona



The Arts




In Barcelona there are many museums and foundations that offer great exhibitions. The smaller private ones can be just as interesting as the larger ones. I explored the following on my trip. By buying the Barcelona Card, you have free admission to the best museums with discounts on others.

Fundacio Joan Miro: This was one of my favorite museums of the trip. It was good to see his early works as well as his more abstract works. I loved his blue triptych. I was bummed that you could not take pictures. It is located in a contemporary building in Parc de Montjuic.

Roca, Joan Guell 211-213: Though not a museum, make sure you stop into the show room of the this large maker of bathroom products like suites, sinks, toilets etc. No, this is not weird. I learned of their showroom from a Wallpaper* Magazine video. See the link we have provided. The building is all glass and looks like water. Inside, the video displays on the first floor are amazing. There are wall size videos of people using their sinks, and wonderful videos of water, bubbles and other similar images. I found these videos so much more appealing than many of the videos that I saw in the contemporary art museum the day before. They also had a gallery space on the lower level showing a good show of photographs of the Gulf oil spill in 2010.

CaixaForum: This is a cultural center near the Parc de Montjuic that offers temporary art exhibitions. I saw that a French Impressionist show was coming after I left town. There are other cultural offerings but language would be a barrier.

Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona, Plaça dels Angels, 1: I enjoyed seeing the architecture of the building and liked several of the pieces. I thought it was worth an hour to walk through the three levels. Again, the building is really exceptional.

Fundacio Antoni Tapies, Arago 255: I was not aware of Tapies before coming to Spain this trip. He is one of the most important contemporary artists. I really like his work which I saw in Barcelona and later in Bilbao and Madrid. He is still working and is in his late 70’s.

Museu Picasso: Located at Montcada 15-13, this was one of my favorite visits of my trip to Barcelona. There were many of his early works as a child and as a student growing up in Barcelona. There was some great information and work done after his first trip to Paris showing the impact of him being exposed to the styles of artists like Seurat, Van Gogh and Cezanne. My favorite rooms displayed his 40+ interpretations of Velazquez’s famous painting Las Meninas. They were abstract, colorful and amazing to study.

Centre de Cultura Contemporania de Barcelona, Montalegre, 5: Next door to the Museu de’Art Contemporani, I went to check out the current exhibition but decided not to see them as it did not appeal to me. You might find something you like when you are in Barcelona. The glass facade, seen from the interior court, is interesting to see.

Museo Nacional D’Art de Catalunya, Palau Nacional Park de Montjuic: This is a huge museum housing large collections of Catalan art. The museum has a large collection of Romanseque paintings that came from churches in the Pyrenees, Renaissance and Baroque Art and Modern Art from the he 19th century until the 1940’s. I really liked their focus on Modernisme (Catalan Art Nouveau). Some of the most outstanding artists included in the later period are Casas, Gaudi, Julio Gonzalez, Dali and Picasso.

La Pedrera/Casa Mila, Carrer Provenca 261-265: This is the famous apartment building finished by Gaudi in 1912; you can’t miss the famous wave-like stone exterior with iron balconies. The interior matches the exterior as there are no right angles. Make sure you explore the roof with its interesting architectural details and great views. Below is a museum which showcases Gaudi’s talents and how he built the building. You also get to walk through one of the apartments which is decorated in the modernist style. As you are walking be sure to take notice of the handrails, the tiles, the ceilings. This is a must see on your visit and it is one of the seven Gaudi buildings on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list.

Fundacion Francisco Godia: Located at Diputachio 250, this is a collection housed in a Catalan art-nouveau building which has some of the most important private art holdings in Spain. With 100 works on display, the collection spans a vast period in art history, from the 12th century to present day. It specializes in medieval art, ceramics and modern and contemporary paintings including Joan Miro and Miguel Barcelo. It is a small collection and well worth the walk through. I liked the ceramic pieces and many of the paintings and drawings the best.

Museu del Modernisme Catala, Balmes 48: This is a really wonderful museum specializing in the art and decoration of the Modernista period (Spanish  Art Nouveau). It has a large collection of furniture by Antoni Gaudi, Juan Busquets and Gaspar Homar and some wonderful paintings, sculptures and stained class downstairs in the lower gallery. Works were by Ramon Casas, Santiago Rusinol, Joaquim Mir, Joseph Limona and Eusebi Arnau. The lighting of the paintings was really exceptional. It was interesting to have eaten lunch at Casa Calvet and then to have seen Gaudi’s furniture he designed for the original house in the collection!! Make sure to look closely at the detailed work on the furniture!

Fundacio Sunol, Passeig de Gracia 98: This is a private non-profit organization which presents Joseph Sunol’s contemporary art collection. It has two floors of exhibition space. I saw two exhibitions including work by Warhol, Manola Millares, Antoni Tapies, and Miguel Barcelo and photographs by Man Ray.

Casa Museu Gaudi: Located in Park Guell this is where Gaudi lived from 1906 until 1926 and includes furniture, works, drawing and his personal items. The entire property is really wonderful to see. Make sure you see the plaza with Gaudi’s amazing mosaic tile work made of broken pottery.

DHUB/Disseny Hub Barcelona, Palau de Pedralbes Av. Diagonal 686: I chose this location of DHUB which has the Museu Textil or Textile Museum and Museu de las Artes Decoratives or Decorative Artes Museum at this location. The Textile Museum had a great collection of fashion over the centuries and there were beautiful pieces of furniture in the decorative arts collection from the area. In the same building is the Ceramics Museum or Museu Ceramica which had wonderful examples of Spanish tiles. The Museum is moving in 2014 to Plaça de les Glòries so check the website for details.

DHUB also has a location across from the Picasso Museum at Montcada 12. I did not do this location as it just had temporary exhibitions.