Postcard from... Madrid


Art fans in Spain are in luck. In a couple of weeks, arguably the most comprehensive assembly of Latin American art – the Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros – will be arriving in Europe for the first time, with some of its best modern works appearing at an exhibition in Madrid's Reina Sofia museum.

Some of the works coming to Spain include examples by artists as radically contrasting as Mira Schendel – a Brazilian known for her minimalist and often monochrome paintings – and the Argentinian designer Tomás Maldonado – renowned for bright, bold canvases.

The collection is named after Patricia Phelps de Cisneros, wife of one of South America's richest men, Gustavo Cisneros. The media magnate, who runs the Miss Venezuela contest as well as owning entertainment companies, conceived their Cisneros Foundation in the 1970s.

This exhibition will concentrate principally on the period from 1940 to 1970. It was during these three decades that, stylistically speaking, Latin American abstract and figurative artists began to branch away with a vengeance from their European and North American contemporaries.

"I want Spain to get to know Latin American art a lot better, demolish some of the clichés," Mrs Cisneros explained. It's a welcome partnership with the Reina Sofia, which has been placing increasing emphasis on Latin America's contribution to modern art under its director, Manuel Borja-Villel. "The Cisneros collection will allow us to understand that there is another version of the history of 20th-century art," he said.