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MASP - Museum of Arts of Sao Paulo

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MASP, the Museu de Arte de São Paulo Assis Chateaubriand (São Paulo Art Museum Assis Chateaubriand), is the result of the adventure of two people who had a revolutionary vision for their time, and supported by a group of friends.

Assis Chateaubriand, lawyer, politician, founder and tycoon of Diários e Emissoras Associados (a pool of newspapers, still existing today, much weaker though; the best known newspaper of the pool today is Correio Braziliense, in Brasília), joined efforts with Professor Pietro Maria Bardi, a journalist and arts critic in Italy who had recently arrived in Brazil, created the most important collection of the southern hemisphere. The fortunate encounter of Chateaubriand and Pietro Maria Bardi aligned Brazil with the countries of the first world in the universe of the arts.

The project that had been cultivated for various decades obtained great success after its inauguration, amassing the necessary funds for the acquisition of works of art to form the museum's collections. In a Chateaubriand's biographic book called Chatô, the author relates how powerful the journalist eventually became, and how he used the power to persuade people to donate both money and art pieces to the Museum (read some comments about Chatô).

Assis Chateaubriand
Assis Chateaubriand

Lina Bo Bardi, a modernist Italian architect and wife of Professor Bardi

Pietro Maria Bardi
Pietro Maria Bardi

(they were already married when they hired the basement of a ship to bring their books and art pieces to Brazil, in 1946), architectonically conceived the current MASP building.
The plot of land on Avenida Paulista had been donated to the Museum with the condition that the viewing to the center of the city and Serra da should be preserved, through the Avenida 9 de Julho valley (which passes right under MASP); thus, Lina Bo idealized a building sustained by four pillars, thereby permitting passers by to view the city center withouth the building getting in the way (later on, the growth of the city ended up hiding the viw).
In civil construction it is unique in the world for its peculiarity: a main body resting on four lateral pillars with a free span of 74 meters. This free area became one of the most famous meeting points in São Paulo ("let's meet under the MASP"), and on Sundays it hosts the most famous antiques fair in town.

The building was opened in 1968. The video below shows images of the Museum.

MASP maintains an Art gallery, Library, Photograph gallery, Video gallery, Art Courses and an exhibition educational support service, the exhibition of films and musical concerts of artistic and cultural interest. Therefore, it is rated as the first cultural center in Brazil.

The visitor can appreciate the Avenida Paulista building, works of the Italian school like Rafael, Andrea Mantegna, Botticceli and Bellini; of such Flemish painters as Rembrandt, Frans Hals, Cranach or Memling; among the Spanish artists, Velazquéz and Goya.

The major part of the European art nucleus of MASP is of French painting. We can appreciate the four portraits of the daughters of Luiz XV, painted by Nattier, or the allegories of the four seasons of Delacroix. Of the impressionist movement, we encounter various works of Renoir, Manet, Monet, Cézanne and Degas. Of the post-impressionists, it is possible to appreciate various paintings of Van Gogh or Toulouse-Lautrec.

Lina Bo Bardi
Lina Bo Bardi

One of the highlights of the museum is the space devoted to the complete collection of the sculptures of Edgar Degas. A collection of bronzes, done in a series of 73 pieces, can only be fully seen at Masp and in few other museums such as the Metropolitan in New York, or the D'Orsay Museum in Paris.

The museum was created to be dynamic, with the profile of a cultural center. Therefore it has differentiated spaces where temporary exhibitions are held. Visitors always encounter a novelty during their visits, however frequent these may be. The temporary exhibitions present a broad range of topics or supports. National and international contemporary art, photography, design and architecture exhibitions alternate during the year, bringing the public a universe of images.

MASP also presents musical projects, cinema and lectures. The two auditoriums designed by Lina Bo provide a multiple space for these activities.

Practical Information

Address: Av. Paulista, 1578 - São Paulo - SP
Phone. (11) 3251.5644 / Fax. (11) 3284.0574
The easiest way to go to MASP is by metro, station Trianon/MASP.

Opening hours:
Thursdays: from 11 am to 8 pm.
Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and holidays: from 11 am to 6 pm.
Ticked box closes one hour early.

Ticket: free on Tuesdays; other days, R$ 15 (March 2008); students and elderly have discounts.
To check out current prices and opening hours, click here.

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