On display at the Lázaro Galdiano Museum is a large part of the private
collection of José Lázaro Galdiano bequeathed to the Spanish State. The Lázaro
Galdiano Foundation was established by the government in 1948. As well as
administering directing the museum itself, the Foundation manages an important
library, an archive, a study room containing prints and drawings and also edits
the prestigious arts magazine “Goya”.
The art collection includes an excellent picture gallery, which is
essential to the history of Spanish art and within which the work of Francisco
de Goya stands out. Important European paintings are also included and are
complemented by sculptures and decorative arts, dating from the 6th century BC
up to the first half of the 20th century.
The conceptual display on the ground floor offers
the key to understanding the collection, its origins and its importance in the
history of art, and what is more, to take an aesthetic stroll amongst its most
attractive pieces. The first floor is dedicated to Spanish art, the second
floor to the European schools. On the third floor, a study gallery has been set
up, holding the majority of the pieces from the collection, consisting of some
thirteen thousand objects.
José Lázaro y Galdiano (Beire, Navarre 1862-Madrid 1947) was an editor,
a bibliophile and art collector. He had studied law at Valladolid, Barcelona
and Santiago de Compostela and initiated a career in journalism. He began as an
art critic and chronicle writer for the Barcelona based newspaper “La
Vanguardia”. When he moved to Madrid, at the end of 1888, he founded his very
own editorial company, named La España Moderna, and started his art
collection, which had already become important by the end of the 19th century.
In Rome, 1903, he married an Argentine lady by the name of Paula Florido
y Toledo (1856-1932). The following year the newly married couple embarked upon
the project of the construction of the “Parque Florido” palace, the museum
in which Lázaro would shelter his collection, which was becoming ever more
enriched by continuous purchases that were made by Lázaro with the financial
support of his wife.
The outbreak of the civil war forced Lázaro to abandon Spain. He left
for Paris, where he resided and formed a new collection. In 1940 he moved on to
the United States, continuing there his purchase of art pieces. In 1945 Lázaro
returned to Madrid and began to install all those pieces acquired in Paris and
New York into the Parque Florido palace, alongside his former possessions.
Thereby, he had formed what is probably the greatest private art collection of