Spanish version

Lazaro Galdiano Museum

Lazaro Galdiano

Jose Lazaro Galdiano was born in Beire, Navarra in 1862. He studied Law at several universities and started writing articles as art critic and journalist in Barcelona.

While being there he participated in the World Fair of 1888 where he met the Spanish writer Emilia Pardo Bazan who introduced him to the intellectual groups in Madrid.

In 1888 he came to Madrid where he became member of the Ateneo de Madrid (1912-1918) and the Prado Museum. He was a great defender of Spanish art and the idea that it had to remain in the country. Therefore he tried to find all kind of art pieces that were in other countries to bring them back.

Although he was probably one of the richest men in Spain in those days, he was not accepted by many noblemen who did not consider him worth of being a member of their associations.

He wanted to become a member of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts, but his request was rejected because of this.

Lazaro Galdiano museum

In 1889 he founded La España Moderna, a publishing company and also a magazine with the same name. The most important authors of the Generation of 98 wrote in this magazine like Unamuno, Clarin, Perez Galdos or Menedez y Pelayo. Also foreign authors like Dostoievsky, Tolstoy, Balzac or Zola wrote articles for his magazine.

He also published many books and other magazines.

In 1903 Lazaro Galdiano married Paula Florido y Toledo, a rich Argentinian widow, who had lost her previous three husbands. She was also very fond of art and they both started travelling around the world and buying all kinds of pieces of art.

Paula died in 1932 and Lazaro Galdiano also survived his three stepchildren. During the Spanish Civil War he went into exile to Paris and New York, where he continued with his collections. After the War he returned to Madrid, where he died in 1947 after leaving his collection to the Spanish State.

His collections

Façade of the Museum

During his life he collect over 12000 pieces of all different kinds and styles, but all of them belonging to classical art. He did not like contemporary art, and preferred specially Spanish art pieces.
He had over 750 paintings and a great book collection with many first editions. He also collected sculptures, jewels, armors, furniture, etc.

Palacio de Parque Florido

The museum is located at Serrano, 122.

The palace was built by the architect Jose Urioste in 1903 and afterwards remodelled by Joaquin Kramer and Francisco Borras, all of them following Lazaro Galdiano´s instructions.

Urioste had become quite famouse as he designed the Spanish pavillion

for the World Fair in Paris in 1900. He defended a style that should remind us of the most magnificent days of Spanish Monarchy in contrast to the current French fashion. This idea of national regeneration pleased Lazaro Galdiano, but after several projects he was not satisfied with Uriostes´s work and asked Kramer to finish the building. But, again, Lazaro

Façade of the Museum

Galdiano argued with the new architect who did not want to continue with the building. Finally Borras finished it. Borras had already worked for Lazaro Galdiano, making the building next to the palace which housed his publishing company, La España Moderna.The palace was started the same year Lazaro Galdiano married Paula Florido y Toledo and he named it after his wife, Palacio de Parque Florido.

It is of neo-renaissance style with some classic elements. The ceilings were decorated by Eugenio Lucas Villamil with images related to the use of each room.

The palace was finished in 1909 and became a famous meeting place for intellectuals and artists of the time. It was considered an example of Spanish noble home in Alfonso XIII’s days.

Now all these rooms, where they used to discuss about politics or art are dedicated to house Lazaro Galdiano´s private collection.

It was inaugurated as museum in 1951.


The ground floor gives us a general vision of the museum and Lazaro Galdiano´s life with pictures of himself and his wife, some of his paintings and books, his work as publisher and collector.

The first floor is dedicated to Spanish art with quite remarkable paintings by ElGreco, Murillo or

Federico de Madrazo, which means that here we can see some paintings of Spanish art of the XIX century. One hall is dedicated only to Goya.

On the second floor we find European art with paintings by Hieronymus

Garden of the Museum

Bosch and Lucas Kranach.

The third floor shows all different kinds of items collected by Lazaro Galdiano like arms, art pieces made of iron and bronze or enamel, wooden furniture and small marble

chests, coins and medals, silver chalices and popular pottery or different kinds of fabric.

Outside of the palace we have a beautiful garden where we can imagine how Lazaro Galdiano and his wife enjoyed summer evenings sitting outside.

In any case, the visitor should not miss the opportunity to visit this museum. It gives us some hints about noblemen´s life in the XX century and is a wonderful example of what collectors were in those times. There are so many things to see, that only one visit will not be enough.

@Copyright 2008, 2009 Mª Dolores Diehl Busch. All rights reserved.
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