History of the Museum

As a museum and cultural activities centre, Artium is a reference model for the work it does both to safeguard the cultural heritage of Spain and to promote the the creation of today.

Inaugurated on April 26, 2002, since then it has developed an ambitious programme of one-man shows and collective exhibitions, including the works of major international artists, as well as an extensive programme of cultural activities closely linked to contemporary culture (film, music, talks, courses, seminars, dramatic arts, and so on), education and to the dissemination of modern art.

However, the history of Artium goes back to the last quarter of the twentieth century

In the mid-1970s, the Provincial Council of Alava took the first steps to establish what today is the Artium Collection.

orígenes del Artium

At a time when public art collections in Spain were seen as being little more than eccentricity, the provincial council began to purchase the works of some of the most relevant artists in the history of art, both Spanish and Basque: Miró, Picasso, Tapies, Canogar, Gordillo, Saura, Palazuelo, Gordillo, Millares, Asins, Zumeta, Ameztoy, Chillida, Basterretxea…

The adoption of an adequate, unswerving acquisitions policy led to the creation of a unique compilation of contemporary Basque art and one of the most relevant collections of contemporary Spanish art.

In the late 1990s, this publicly owned collection led a movement among the local population and institutions, especially the Provincial Council of Alava, to promote the construction of a museum for the conservation, exhibition and contextualisation of the collection under the best possible conditions.  In February, 2001, the ARTIUM Foundation was set up to manage the new museum and the following year it opened its doors to the public.

With the Artium Collection, its programme of exhibitions and activities, its educational project (which has become a reference model throughout Europe), and its widely-acclaimed documentation centre, the Centre-Museum forms an essential part of the cultural fabric of Vitoria-Gasteiz, Alava and the Basque Country and is one of the fundamental assets of the national art scene.

Director: Beatriz Herráez

Previous directors

Javier González de Durana (2001-2008)

Daniel Castillejo (2008-2018)

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