Ralli Museum was founded by Harry Recanati in 2000, years after he sold his banking company and decided to pursue his real passion: art. The collections are housed in five museums in three continents: Punta del Este, Santiago de Chile, two in Caesarea and Marbella. The Ralli Museum in Marbella, close to Puerto Banus, is a superb survey of the Surrealist Masters. It offers a vast collection of Latin American contemporary artists, a continent he frequently travelled to, along with works of great European painters: in particular, the eccentric Salvador Dalí, who once said: “I am not strange, I am just not normal.”
The highly evocative and influential Italian artist Giorgio De Chirico and Joan Miró, a painter known for his vividly coloured huge canvases, also feature: an artist that brought the essence of the Mediterranean sea wherever he went. Magic Realism, a movement that understands the magic in daily life, also occupies a significant presence in this collection.
The current eclectic show, titled Women’s Portraits, displays the different ways artists approached, and admired, the representation of the female body. It presents a unique opportunity to appreciate the works of European artists such as André Derain, the
co-founder of Fauvism with Matisse. Another French artist in the show is Marie Laurencin, a member of the Cubist movement that included Picasso: a true libertarian who developed a style pushing towards abstraction, while remaining a figurative painter. Lesser-known artists also being displayed are the French Cubist Louis Latapie and the Russian impressionist Nicolás Tarkhoff.
We asked Rosa Ruiz, the Museum Director, a few questions:
Where did the idea to set up the museums come from?
The passion for art by Mr Recanati led him to retire from the banking sector and entirely dedicate himself to an international cultural project: the creation of the Ralli Museums to spread contemporary Latin American and European art beyond its borders.
Can you introduce us to the current and upcoming exhibitions?
Most of the works exhibited in our museum are of Latin American origin, aiming to bring the Europeans closer to these lesser-known artists to us. Ernesto Deira, Carlos Alonso, Braun-Vega, Mario Toral, Manuel Pailós, Wifredo Lam, Carlos Revilla and many more. There is a range of artists showing the variety of styles that emerge from such a vast and multicultural continent. We also have a section devoted to European avant-garde art, with a strong presence of Surrealism. Salvador Dalí, Joan Miró, Giorgio de Chirico… also Sonia Delaunay, Alexander Calder and George Braque.
The current temporary exhibition, Women’s Portraits, shows a selection of European artists and the different ways they interpreted the representation of the female body throughout the centuries. We will open a solo exhibition by the Chilean artist Roberto Matta, one of the greatest figures of Surrealist art in South America, in June.
Most Ralli Museums are near the sea. Is there a special reason?
The location chosen for each one of the Ralli Museums is not accidental. We sought a privileged and easily accessible place; the fact of being near the sea brings to the surroundings of the museum an extra sense of beauty and serenity, something that all our visitors appreciate.
The artistic movements that have a major representation in the museum are Surrealism and Magic Realism. Why the particular interest in these movements?
Mr Recanati and his wife, Martine, have always acquired works that had an emotional impact on them. Their subjects and artistic quality were more relevant than the author’s fame.
The motives that guided them were wholly subjective, like art itself. Surrealism was one of their favourite styles, so this movement has a significant presence in the collection, and so does Magic Realism.
If you ever dreamed of a museum in which you can wander around just by yourself while appreciating beautiful and inspiring artworks, the Ralli is your space. It is a must if you find yourself in Marbella or in need of a great excuse for a trip.
Urbanización Coral Beach (between Puerto Banús and Marbella)
Carretera Nacional 340, km 176, Marbella
Opening hours: Tuesday to Saturday 10am – 3pm free entry