LivingTravelWhy do art lovers love the Ponce Art Museum...

Why do art lovers love the Ponce Art Museum in Puerto Rico?

Although Puerto Rico has been in the headlines for its devastating debt crisis, the island remains the most fascinating of the islands to visit in the Caribbean. It has beaches on both the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, a tropical jungle, a fantastic nightlife in San Juan and an excellent art museum in Ponce, “the noble city.”

Ponce art museum

Ponce resembles many colonial cities in Latin America, although the sounds and tastes are distinctly Puerto Rican. A few steps from the main square is the Ponce Art Museum. The collection is one of the most important collections of European art in the Americas with works ranging from the Renaissance to the 19th century with particular strengths in Baroque and Victorian painting.

The museum was founded on January 3, 1959 by Luis A. Ferré, an industrialist, former governor of Puerto Rico, and art collector whose hometown was Ponce. At first, it only showed 71 paintings from Ferré’s personal collection.

The museum as we know it today was originally designed by Edward Durell Stone and is an architectural landmark of the mid-1960s. Durell also designed the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington DC and the controversial building called 2 Columbus Circle, which was later modified to become the Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) in New York. In 2010, the Ponce Art Museum completed a renovation that was carried out to display more of its permanent collection.

The art collection

The museum has more than 4,500 works of art from the 9th century to the present, including paintings, sculptures, engravings, photographs, drawings, decorative arts, pre-Hispanic and African objects, Puerto Rican folk art, video, and sound art. His collection of Old Masters is particularly impressive and the Financial Times of London said that he had “one of the most distinguished private collections in the Western Hemisphere outside the United States.” The artists included in the collection are Jusepe di Ribera, Peter Paul Rubens, Lucas Cranach, Eugene Delacroix, and the Pre-Raphaelite painter Edward Burne-Jones.

The most famous piece in the collection is undoubtedly “Flaming June” by Frederic Leighton. In 1963, Ferré was on an art-buying trip in Europe and first saw Victorian painting at the Maas Gallery in London. The collector fell in love with it, but was advised not to buy it, as it was considered “too old-fashioned.” (At this time, Victorian art was terribly unpopular.) The image of a sleeping woman in a radiant orange dress embodies the philosophy of “art for art’s sake.” There is no narrative setting for the image, rather it was created to be a beautiful and sensual object created just for viewing pleasure.

Ferré bought it anyway for just £ 2,000. The rest is art history. Since then, the painting has been loaned to the Prado Museum in Madrid, the Tate Britain and the Frick Collection in New York and has been reproduced in countless prints and posters.

Modern legend has it that a poor young Andrew Lloyd Weber also saw it in the window of The Maas Gallery and asked his grandmother for the funds to buy it. She said no, confirming the widespread belief at the time that the Pre-Raphaelite painters were saccharine and of no aesthetic value. Since then, Weber has offered the Ponce Museum of Art up to $ 6 million for the piece, though they are content to keep their treasure just for museum visitors.

Another highlight of the collection is “The Last Sleep of Arthur in Avalon”, the final work of Sir Edward Burne Jones. Also acquired by Ferré for just £ 1600, this work has also traveled internationally.

Information on visiting the Ponce Art Museum

The Ponce Art Museum has an open door policy. This policy guarantees Ponce residents access to the museum regardless of their ability to pay. (See below for suggested admission prices.)


Cra. Las Americas 2325, Ponce, Puerto Rico 00717-0776


(787) 840-1510 or (toll free) 1-855-600-1510 [email protected]


Wednesday to Monday 10:00 am – 5:00 pm Closed on Tuesdays. Sunday 12:00 pm -5: 00 pm


Members: Free entry
Students and retirees: $ 3.00
General Public: $ 6.00

For groups of 10 or more, call to make reservations: 787-840-1510

What's inside the "Secret Cabinet" at the Naples Archaeological Museum?

In 1816, a scandalous guidebook with illustrations was passed hand in hand in France. Written by Colonel Fannin, its title was The Royal Museum of Naples,

Naples National Archaeological Museum

The most amazing collection of treasures that I have seen under one roof is in the National Archaeological Museum of Naples. Even more incredible, the museum

Villa Getty

I had always wondered what it would be like to see Pompeii before the eruption of Vesuvius that destroyed it in AD 79. C. Interestingly, that wish was fulfilled in