Located on the Art Walk, the Reina Sofía houses works by Dalí, Miró and Juan Gris as well as Picasso’s masterpiece: Guernica.
This passionate journey along the history of Spanish contemporary art is divided into three collections: ‘The Irruption of the 20th Century. Utopia and Conflict (1900-1945)’; ‘Is the War Over? Art in a Divided World (1945-1968)’ and ‘From Revolt to Postmodernity (1962-1982)’. The star piece of the museum is Guernica, one of Picasso’s most famous paintings. Exhibited by the Republican Government at the International Exhibition in Paris in 1937, this mural depicts the pain suffered by the victims of the bombing of the Spanish city of Guernica on 27 April, 1937.
The Irruption of the 20th Century. Utopia and Conflict (1900-1945)
The crossroads between the 19th and 20th centuries, between modernity and tradition, are represented perfectly by the works of Hermenegildo Anglada Camarasa, José Gutiérrez Solana and Medardo Rosso. The museum's permanent collection also includes pieces by Julio González, Pablo Gargallo and Juan Gris, artists that favoured the European avant-garde movements alongside Georges Braque, Fernand Léger, Sonia Delaunay and Francis Picabia, also part of the museum's collection.
Is the War Over? Art in a Divided World (1945-1968)
World War II put an end to the first avant-gardes of the artistic scene, as the second section of the museum explains. Creators shifted towards discourses that were more cryptic and existential. This context gave way to groups like El paso or Equipo 57, which disseminated Informalist language in Spain. Some of the artists who appeared during those times achieved great international acclaim, such as Antoni Tàpies, Jorge Oteiza and Esteban Vicente. This period can be better understood in the context of the European panorama, which is why the museum also displays works by such artists as Francis Bacon, Jean Dubuffet, Lucio Fontana, Henry Moore and Yves Klein. This part of the collection displays examples of Lettrism and Brazilian Concretism.
From Revolt to Postmodernity (1962-1982)
Since the 1970s, contemporary art has taken many different directions. Topics, forms and resources of today question the very nature of art. Critics, artists and spectators ask themselves ‘What is art?’, as they contemplate many of the pieces on show at the museum. The third part of the museum's permanent collection reflects upon issues such as gender, underground culture, mass culture or globalisation. The Zaj group, Hélio Oiticica, Luis Gordillo, Sol LeWitt, Dan Flavin, Gerhard Richter, Pistoletto and Marcel Broodthaers are some of the representative authors the visitor will encounter in this final section of their tour around the museum.
The Reina Sofía Museum is housed in the Old Madrid General Hospital, which was built by Francisco Sabatini. In the early 2000s French architect Jean Nouvel led an expansion project which saw the erection of an auditorium, a library and new galleries inside a huge red building made from zinc and aluminium, which is adjacent to the old edifice.
The Reina Sofía also has two other exhibition centres: the Velázquez and Glass palaces in El Retiro Park. They play host to temporary exhibitions and artistic installations devised specifically for these spaces.