August 4, 2020

Collection of collections in the Roma colony | Culture


A typed draft of One hundred years of loneliness, of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, with the corrections Emmanuel Carballo; the Andean edition of 1925 of Inquisitions, of Jorge Luis Borges or the first editions of the entire work of Sor Juana Ines De La Cruz, are some of the 13,000 titles and 20,000 volumes of the personal library of Guillermo Tovar de Teresa, bibliophile, historian and chronicler of Mexico City who died in 2013, whose house has become the third Soumaya Museum, along with the Museum Soumaya of Plaza Loreto and Plaza Carso, of Fundación Carlos Slim.

Incunabula Americans as Mexican greatness of Bernardo de Balbuena (of 1604), The true story of the conquest of New Spain by Bernal Díaz del Castillo (of 1632) or The history of the conquest of Mexico Antonio de Solís (of 1684), together with the first autographed editions of The Labyrinth of Solitude, of Octavio Paz; The memories of the future, of Elena Garro; Balún Canán, of Rosario Castellanos they are others of the titles of the library of the precocious Tovar de Teresa, the old boy, as the historian described it Enrique Krauze, which accompany its collection of more than a thousand pieces of colonial art objects from New Spain, the Viceroyalty, of the nineteenth-century Mexican national conformation, of the Second Empire and Porphyry, among oils, engravings, lithographs, photographs, sculptures, antique furniture , applied arts and popular art.

"I could almost venture to confirm that, after the important collection that he made Franz Mayer (Mannheim, Germany, 1882), the next great collection that could be given with this level of quality, was that of Guillermo, because he achieved what Mayer did not achieve: to penetrate into the families that, from the own colony had sheltered objects of great artistic value Then Guillermo, who was practically a detective, found who had inherited what and was made of objects that had remained not only dozens, but more than 100 and even 200 years inherited within a family and managed to integrate them into his collection, "he says. interview for EL PAÍS his brother, Fernando Tovar and de Teresa.

The museum house located in Valladolid 52, in Colonia Roma, with 660 square meters of land and 990 square meters of construction, is divided into three rooms, which Guillermo Tovar, the most recent link in the large chain of Mexican collectors, who was an advisor to the architect Pedro Ramírez Vázquez (Mexico City, 1919) and President Gustavo Díaz Ordaz (Puebla, 1911), called as "yellow", "red" and "blue", given the color of their decoration; In the hall there is a monumental glass mirror from Puebla (ca. 1811), from Amozoc or the oil Archangel San Rafael, work of the novohispano painter Miguel Cabrera (1695-1768), one of the maximum exponents of the baroque painting of the viceroyalty; in the hall, a Virgin of Guadalupe of porcelain Old Paris, gift of the Empress Carlota to the ladies of her court, an engraving of the View of the Plaza de Mexico by Ximeno y Planes (1797), as well as an Italian glass Pegasus blue, made with the blowing technique, original emblem of Mexico City.

Typed copy of "One Hundred Years of Solitude" in the collection of the house museum of Guillermo Tovar de Teresa.
Typed copy of "One Hundred Years of Solitude" in the collection of the house museum of Guillermo Tovar de Teresa. The country

In the yellow room, there are five oil paintings by Hermenegildo Bustos (Guanajuato, 1832), the miniature in glass, an effigy by Vicente Guerrero, and the Novohispano votive, painted in oil on canvas, representing that dramatic political moment in which the French gave prison to Fernando VII, by a popular Queretaro artist in 1819. In the red room, the work The five gentlemen, of the painter and miniaturist Luis Lagarto (Seville, 1556); in the blue, the oil on copper that represents the Portrait of Don Juan de Palafox and Mendoza, by Miguel Cabrera (1764), famous bishop of Puebla, viceroy of New Spain, and founder of the fantastic library, which to date bears his name, also the oil on canvas known as The Immaculate Virgin, by Baltazar de Echave Rioja (AC. 1680) or the oil on copper of the Coronation of the Virgin with Saint Gabriel, San Juan Nepomuceno, Santa Teresa, San Francisco, San Ignacio and Santa Gertrudis la Magna, by Francisco Antonio Vallejo (ca. 1770).

After the death of the chronicler, which occurred just over five years ago, in November 2013, the arduous task of ordering Tovar de Teresa's collections began, led by his brothers Fernando and Rafael. First, they called the auction house Christie's, founded in 1766 in London, responsible for what may be the largest auctions of the eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth centuries, who, in a first stage, were responsible for organizing part of Guillermo's collection; for the photographs they relied on Gregory Leroy, an expert in authentication and evaluation of archives and photographic collections. For the books they approached Alicia Bardón, from the bookstore founded in 1947 by Luis Bardón, the grandfather of its current owners, whose specialty is the early editions, from incunabula (books published from the invention of the printing press to the beginning of the 16th century), to specimens from the 18th century.

Years later and with the catalog ready under his belt, Fernando de Tovar and Teresa approaches Carlos Slim, personal friend of Guillermo for more than 30 years. Lovers of art and collections, they conceived together the first Soumaya Museum in Plaza Loreto, "he [Carlos Slim] I understood very well that [sus colecciones de arte] they had to be exhibited publicly, which could not be only for personal enjoyment, "says Fernando. "[Carlos Slim] He went through the catalog in detail, we met again, and then, with great sensitivity, the engineer said: we are going to work to make it a museum. "

Interior of one of the rooms of the house museum of Guillermo Tovar de Teresa.
Interior of one of the rooms of the house museum of Guillermo Tovar de Teresa. The country

Self-taught, prodigious memory and careful collector, Guillermo Tovar de Teresa, author of 39 works in 44 volumes, as The City of Palaces: Chronicle of a Lost Heritage or Painting and Sculpture of the Renaissance in Mexico or The Pegasus or the neo-Hispanic baroque world of the 17th century, dedicated his life to the preservation of national heritage. He himself wrote: "Collecting is a cultural gesture necessary for the creation and collection of objects that, sooner or later, will be enjoyed by humanity; it is an intimate attitude that reflects the fineness of an eminent nature that knows how to recognize its value without taking into account its price and captures instead its true meaning ".

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