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Serralves is a cultural institution located in Porto, Portugal, and one of the most important of all the country. It includes a Contemporary Art Museum, a Park and a Villa, each one an example of contemporary architecture, Modernism, and Art Deco architecture. The Museum, designed by Álvaro Siza Vieira, is now the most visited museum in Portugal (more than 300,000 visitors per year) and one of the most relevant in the contemporary art circuit in Europe.


During the immediate period after the 1974 revolution, the city of Oporto hosted several social movements that demanded the creation of an exhibition space in the city, in order to exhibit art produced at that time. The importance of several initiatives – in particular the Centre of Contemporary Art, that was managed from the outset by Fernando Pernes and which remained in operation until 1980 – played a key role in consolidating the artistic universe in Oporto. These achievements were recognized by the Secretary of State for Culture, Teresa Patrício Gouveia, when she chose the city as the location for the future National Museum of Modern Art.

The State acquired the Serralves Estate in December 1986 for this purpose. On this date, and prior to creation of the Serralves Foundation in 1989, a Founding Committee was constituted, whose members were Jorge Araújo, Teresa Andresen and Diogo Alpendurada. Serralves Park and Villa were opened to the public on May 29, 1987. The creation of the Foundation, via Decree-Law no. 240-A/89, of July 27, signaled the beginning of an innovative partnership between the State and civil society – encompassing around 51 public and private sector bodies at that time.

The Foundation signed a contract in March 1991 with the architect, Álvaro Siza, who was awarded the Pritzker Prize in 1992, to design the Museum building. The Museum was inaugurated on June 6, 1999.

To house the art collection of Serralves (estimated in more than 4,000 works in 2014), the Foundation promoted in 2008 an international competition for the architectural design of Pólo Serralves 21, a multifunctional building and museum branch in Matosinhos on the former grounds of EFANOR (Northern Manufacturing Company), owned by Sonae the company founded by Belmiro de Azevedo. The winner project was designed by the architects Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa of the Japanese studio SANAA (Pritzker prize in 2012). However, the project was canceled in 2010 due to lack of funding and agreement with the local government of Matosinhos.

In September 2014, an enlargement project was presented by Alvaro Siza to expand the premises of Serralves by transforming the garage of the Villa in the new Casa do Cinema Manoel de Oliveira.


Serralves Museum opened in 1999 in order to endow Porto with a space dedicated to contemporary art. The programming combines in-house production of exhibitions with co-productions with distinguished international institutions, enabling circulation of works by both Portuguese and foreign artists.

The exhibitions – normally three parallel exhibitions – are organized on a quarterly basis.

Since the inauguration of the Museum building in 1999 a total of 4.6 million visitors -of all ages and from all parts of Portugal and the world – have visited the various spaces of the Foundation. These results position the Foundation in first place amongst Portuguese Museums and amongst Europe’s most highly visited contemporary art museums with similar characteristics.

Serralves House

Casa de Serralves is a villa and museum located inside the park of Serralves. Owned by the Serralves Foundation, the house was built by the second Count of Vizela, Carlos Alberto Cabral and designed by the architect José Marques da Silva. It is a unique example of Streamline Moderne architecture in Portugal.

Casa de Serralves – in addition to serving as the Foundation’s head office – is an important extension of the Museum of Contemporary Art, used for presentation of temporary exhibitions. Originally designed as a private residence, the Villa – which is a unique example of Art Deco architecture – and the Park – inspired by the modernists – were commissioned by the 2nd Count of Vizela, Carlos Alberto Cabral. With its façade overlooking the Rua de Serralves and the main entrance located in the Avenida Marechal Gomes da Costa, Casa de Serralves is a significant example of Art Deco style. The building was constructed on the outskirts of Porto between 1925 and 1944, combining neoclassical, romantic and art deco elements.


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Source: Wikipedia


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