TIGRE ART MUSEUM
The Tigre Art Museum (MAT in Spanish) opened in 2006. Located in a historical building on the Delta built in 1912, it used to be a sports and social club (Tigre Club). The museum features an outstanding collection of 19th and 20th century Argentine Art.
Since its creation, the MAT has become an important cultural attraction in the Northern area of Greater Buenos Aires. It was founded by Major Ricardo Ubieto (1933 – 2006), who put together the collection with the intent to show the landscapes and customs of Tigre and the Delta, as well as the presence in Argentine art of the different elements that shaped the nation.
The unusual geography of Tigre and its customs are recreated in the work of artists that visited us in the 19th century, such as Juan León Pallière, a French traveler who documented life on the Paraná islands and their exotic landscapes from a non-native’s perspective.
At the beginning of the 20th century, the Italian muralist Carlo Barberis, settled in Argentina, painted murals in churches alongside pleasant images of the Delta.
Other contemporary artists such as Horacio Butler, Jorge Larco and Fermín Eguía, who lived in Tigre and painted its nature, are part of the Museum’s heritage, together with the masters of another river, the Riachuelo, who belong to the La Boca school. Works of this school, strongly influenced by Italian migration, are on the museum´s collection, with pieces by Víctor Cúnsolo, Eugenio Daneri, Fortunato Lacámera, Alfredo Lázzari, Marcos Tiglio, Miguel Diomede, Benito Quinquela Martín and Miguel Carlos Victorica.
The 19th century collection includes a selection of watercolors, oil paintings and lithographies that constitute some of the f irst images of River Plate art. The works of Carlos Enrique Pellegrini, Juan León Pallière, Juan Mauricio Rugendas and José Aguyari depict urban and rural scenes from a romantic point of view. The MAT also owns remarkable pieces by Eduardo Sívori, Ángel Della Valle, Antonio Alice and Graciano Mendilaharzu, Argentine artists that were educated in Europe and instituted academic painting from life models in Argentina.
The works of Fernando Fader, Cesáreo Bernaldo de Quirós, Carlos Ripamonte, Pío Collivadino and Justo Lynch (all members of the Nexus group, 1905-1907) show how these artists, prior to the Nation’s first centennial, saw evidence of the national identity and its particular character in the landscape.
The collection includes important works from the 1920s onwards with pieces by Norah Borges, Valentín Thibon de Libian, Lino Enea Spilimbergo, Antonio Berni, Raúl Soldi, Juan Carlos Castagnino, Carlos Alonso and Raquel Forner, among others.
THE BUILDING’S HISTORY
The Tigre Art Museum is located in the former Tigre Club building. Inaugurated in 1912, the Club aimed to promote social recreation and sports, with a particular interest in rowing and tennis. In the late 1920s, a casino was set up in the Grande Salle. It was dismantled in 1933, when gambling became illegal in the vicinity of Buenos Aires city.
The original building project was carried out by the French firm Dubois and Pater, the same architects that built the family palace, which is now the French Embassy, in Buenos Aires. An outstanding example of late 19th century neoclassic architecture, its spacious and ornate halls hold an array of noble materials: iron gates, Carrara marble stairs and Slavonian oak floors, ornaments on bronze and golden leaves works. Great orchestras and enthusiastic dancers filled its ballroom and terraces during the Argentinian Belle Époque.
The Tigre Club building was expropriated in 1974 by Major Néstor Pozzi, and in 1979 it was declared of national and historical interest due to its distinctive architectural value. Years later, in 1998, the City of Tigre began its restoration to turn it into an art museum.
The ground floor consists of two great central halls and smaller halls on both sides. The hall on the first floor, originally a ballroom, is decorated with an arched oval roof covered with a ceiling painting by Spaniard Julio Villa y Pradés depicting a group of nymphs playing musical instruments. A magnificent European bronze chandelier with crystal fringes crowns the ballroom’s dome. On the opposite side of it, an idyllic passarella illuminated with iron lampposts elegantly spreads towards the bank of the Luján River. The Tigre Club was a magnificent palace for the porteño elite, who spent their leisure time there playing sports and enjoying social and recreational activities.