It is a private collection that belonged to the mythical Argentinean businesswoman—a cement heiress—philanthropist and patroness of the arts Amalia Lacroze de Fortabat, better known as Amalita. Lacroze de Fortabat who died in 2012. She refused to use the word “museum” to define the scope of her extensive collection. To this day, the magnificent building, located in the exclusive neighborhood of Puerto Madero is not called a museum, but is popularly known as the “Amalia Lacroze de Fortabat Art Collection.”
The Fortabat Collection was presented to the public in October 2008. It features more than 200 works by national and international artists. The pieces in the collection were chosen by a team of specialists led by Lacroze de Fortabat.
During ten years, the billionaire entrepreneur chaired the National Endowment for the Arts, Argentina’s cultural body for the promotion of artistic, literary and cultural activities, and was a great connoisseur of the international art market.
The works on display can be classified into three groups: international art, Argentine art, and other collectibles.
The international artists include Peter and Jan Brueghel, Andy Warhol—who created a classic portrait of Amalita—Marc Chagall, Salvador Dalí, Pedro Figari, Auguste Rodin, Juan Manuel Blanes, Paul Gauguin, Edgar Degas, Joan Miró and Lawrence Alma-Tadema, one of Lacroze’s favorites.
Among the local artists in the collection, we should mention Antonio Berni, Juan Carlos Castagnino, Pérez Celis, Fernando Fader, Nicolás García Uriburu, Emilio Petorutti, Rogelio Polesello, Pridiliano Pueyrredón, Benito Quinquela Martin, Antonio Segui, Xul Solar, and Raul Soldi, among others.
The collectibles section is centered on the art from ancient Egypt and Greece.
Located in one of the docks of the old harbor on the Rio de la Plata in Puerto Madero—the steadily growing and most expensive urbanization in Latin America—the Fortabat building is one of Buenos Aires’ emblematic masterpieces, created by the Uruguayan architect Rafael Viñoly.
It has four levels and two large halls, a newspaper library, and a service area. The curved roof, featuring glass and aluminum sunshades—that open or close depending on the orientation of the sun—creates bright and spacious interiors, allowing visitors to admire the works while enjoying a privileged view of the city.
The West facade is entirely glazed on the first level. The East facade, facing the river, is made of solid concrete.
Viñoly’s main ideas were to maintain a permanent visual relationship with the city and to integrate the building to the repurposed English-style port docks.
A visit to the Fortabat Art Collection is an invitation to admire the building’s design and the splendor of its surroundings. ■