In the walled city of Dalt Vila, in one of the most beautiful settings on the island and steeped in the history that lives on in every stone that makes up the island, are two of the most important art galleries on Ibiza: the Ibiza Museum of Contemporary Art (MACE) and the Puget Museum.
A tour of their rooms and a visit to their exhibitions are a must for those who wish to learn about the history of the island and its art in all its fullness, as they reveal the broad spectrum of art to be found in the city of Ibiza. Behind their doors, the most curious visitors can enjoy a day surrounded by the best painting, sculpture and architecture of the island.
MACE: Contemporary art with history
The Ibiza Museum of Contemporary Art, MACE, can be reached via a steep cobbled street or from various narrow alleyways affording stunning views of the surroundings. Located in the Sant Joan bastion and inaugurated in 1969, it is one of the oldest contemporary art museums in Spain. It is housed in the old Weapons Room of Ibiza, built in 1727, which was expanded in 2012 and reopened to the public with a completely renovated and avant-garde image. During the works, Punic remains from the 4th century BC were found and integrated into the reopened museum.
In the 1970s, intellectuals with strong links to art and the island turned this site into the headquarters of an unprecedented cultural movement. Renowned galleries and dealers such as the Grupo Ibiza 59, Ivan Spence and Carl van der Voort displayed the works of the most important artists of the time, while other creators with Mediterranean connections exhibited their paintings and sculptures in temporary exhibitions. Currently, the permanent exhibition features a selection of works by Bechtold, Floris, Broner, Micus, Zush/Evru, Flanagan, Vedova, Schlosser, Hausmann, Le Parc, Tàpies, Gordillo, Dmitrienko, Hinterreiter, Vallribera, Broto, Faber, Tur Costa, Echarri and Portmany. The temporary exhibition entitled “Focus III” will also be on display until 8 March. Its aim is to showcase the new artworks and archaeological pieces that are added to the museum’s collection every year.
The Puget Museum: a building with history
The Puget Museum, presided over by the impressive architecture of Dalt Vila and surrounded by the whitewashed walls of its narrow streets, is just a stone’s throw from the Cathedral Square, in a stately home, probably from the 15th century, named Can Comasema (after the family that fitted it out in the 19th century: Palau Comasema).
This art gallery houses costumbrista oil paintings and watercolours from the collection of 130 paintings by Narcis Puget Riquer and Narcis Puget Viñas that were donated by their family. Thus, where once this stately home housed Gothic architecture with Catalan influences, it now displays landscapes and scenes from everyday life in Ibiza in the early and mid-twentieth century.
There is no better way to learn about the culture, art and history of Ibiza than to explore its roots and observe its development.