one of my favourites, Uruguayan Rafael Barradas "portrait" (1916/17)

one of my favourites, Uruguayan Rafael Barradas “portrait” (1916/17)

Buenos Aires has its MALBA for modern art, but the collection of the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, walking distance from the MALBA, is equally impressive.

The Museo de Bellas Artes – Fine Arts Museum – is located in a large building along Avenida Libertador, the wide road, lined with parks, clubs and expensive apartment buildings, that provides access to the city of Buenos Aires. The building itself it not particularly beautiful, and much of the international collection is interesting, but lacks top works; those with the opportunity to visit US and European museums won’t be impressed.

a quintesential Argentine painting, pool and barbeque on the roof terrace (Pablo Suarez, 1983)

a quintessential Argentine painting, pool and barbecue on the roof terrace (Pablo Suarez, 1983)

However, the gems of the museum are in the extensive Latin American impressionist and post-impressionist section, with great works of great artists the average US and European museum visitor has never heard of; nevertheless, they provide a fabulous overview of 20th Century art in Latin America – mostly Argentina and Uruguay. Emilio Pettoruti’s work reminds one of the cubism of Juan Gris, Tomas Maldonado and Juan Mele are clearly influenced by De Stijl from early 20th Century Netherlands, and several 1960’s works have post-WWII characteristics like perhaps Anselm Kiefer – yet, all with their own unique artistic value.

For anybody who wants to be surprised by excellent quality modern Latin American art, go and have a look, you won’t be disappointed (or check out the website of the museum, where the whole collection, it seems, is online).

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