MEXICO CITY – The most ambitious cultural project undertaken to date by Carlos Slim, the richest man in the world according to Forbes magazine, is nearing completion, and in a few months will exhibit in an innovative museum “the best” of his private art collection, made up of some 66,000 works, chiefly from Latin America and Europe.
Construction of the new Soumaya Museum, designed by his son-in-law, the Mexican architect Fernando Romero, started on Mexico City’s west side in 2008, and its inauguration is slated for this coming April, its future curator Alfonso Miranda said on Friday.
The imposing edifice, with its soaring curvilinear structure and a facade covered with 16,000 hexagonal mirrors of varying sizes, will boast an exhibition space of 6,000 square meters (64,000 square feet) distributed on six floors.
Notable among the masterpieces chosen for display are works by Picasso, Rodin, Dali and the Mexicans Diego Rivera, Clemente Orozco and Rufino Tamayo.
Also on show will be works by European masters including El Greco, Rubens and Tintoretto, painters of the Spanish colonial baroque school such as Jose Juarez and Miguel Herrera, and 19th century Mexican landscapists.
Amassed for the public to see will be an unprecedented collection of 2,000 gold coins of the Viceroyalty of New Spain and 1,000 of silver from the Second Mexican Empire, which will constitute the largest treasure of coins of the 18th and 19th centuries ever put on display.
Other works never before shown to the public will be a series of vessels from Mesoamerica, created by cultures in the western areas of the Mexican states of Nayarit, Jalisco, Colima and Guanajuato.
The museum will also have an auditorium with capacity for 350 spectators, a library, cafeteria and 2,500 square meters (27,000 square feet) of storage.
“We’re really excited...these have been five years of great satisfaction and artistic, architectural and engineering challenges that we’re ready to share with the public,” Alfonso Miranda, for whom the museum will bring together “the best” of the 16 collections possessed by the Carlos Slim Foundation, said.
The new Soumaya Museum arose from the need to enlarge the gallery currently existing south of Mexico City, which will remain open with other artistic displays.