Fundación César Manrique
The building itself has considerable artistic value and significance as a work that embodies the essential characteristics of Manrique’s proposal to blend art and nature: ART-NATURE / NATURE-ART.
The home is built on a 30 000 m2 lot covered by a lava coulee formed during the volcanic eruptions that took place on Lanzarote in 1730-1736. César Manrique chose this property when he decided to re-locate permanently on Lanzarote after returning from New York. Construction on this two-storey home began in 1968. Built into and over five large natural volcanic bubbles, it has a net area of 1 800 m2, plus 1 200 m2 of balconies and gardens and a 2 900 m2 car park.
The upper storey draws its inspiration from Lanzarote’s traditional architecture, enhanced with modern functional elements such as spacious windows and large rooms. This was the residential area: living room, kitchen, sitting room (‘Espacios’ hall), a guest bedroom, the artist’s bedroom (‘Bocetos’ hall) and a bathroom dense with plant life.
The underground storey was built into the five natural volcanic bubbles which César Manrique conditioned into habitable spaces inter-connected by means of tiny hallways furrowed into the basalt coulee. A large ‘jameo’ (remains of a volcanic tube after the ceiling has collapsed) in the centre houses a generously landscaped recreational area (swimming pool, small ballroom, oven, barbeque…). The space immediately before the exit was the painter’s studio, which was enlarged when the building was remodelled to house the foundation. It is presently used as an exhibit hall for César Manrique’s paintings or the temporary exhibitions organised by FCM.
Artistically speaking, the two key characteristics of Taro de Tahíche are the harmonious symbiosis between a modern approach to architectural space and traditional island architecture, and the permanent and mutually respectful dialogue between building and nature. For its beauty and emblematic originality, the foundation’s headquarters constitute one of its most treasured assets.
Today the building serves essentially as a museum. The transformation, supervised nearly in its entirety by César Manrique himself, was geared to recycling the building for its new use as a museum open to visitors.
The original structure was maintained. The remodel entailed ‘cleaning’ the walls and indoor areas to hang paintings and display sculptures; inter-connecting the two storeys, which since March 1992 are joined by an outdoor balcony and basalt staircase designed to facilitate museum visits; and enlarging the artist’s former studio into a chamber large enough to exhibit some of his paintings. The outdoor garden was designed and the mural painted by César Manrique in late 1991 – early 1992 and all the changes were proposed and supervised by the artist.
The museum is home to the foundation’s collection of contemporary art, bequeathed by its founder. Three halls are devoted to César Manrique: public art (‘Espacios’ [space]); sketches for murals, designs, mobiles and ceramics (‘Bocetos’ [sketches]); and at the exit, an extensive selection of his pictorial oeuvre (‘Colección Manrique’ [Manrique collection]).
César Manrique Museum and Home. Haría
Sited in an extraordinary palm grove, the César Manrique Museum and Home is the most valuable example of the artist’s interpretation and re-creation of the values of traditional domestic architecture on Lanzarote. Starting from the ruins of a former rural manor, in his approach he applied modern criteria while exalting traditional local construction and its harmonisation with nature.
The Museum and Home affords visitors a glimpse of the domestic environment where César Manrique spent much of his time and the studio where he painted: a personal and intimate view of the artist through the furniture, objects, paintings and domestic articles amidst which he lived in the last few years of his life. These articles, taken as a whole, are an extension of his lifestyle and creative personality.
The interiors reveal unexpected construction and decorating details, as well as the dense plant life that characterises all his homes. Visitors will delight in the house’s original atmosphere, with its mix of works of art and sundry objects. The more functional of these, such as tables or lamps designed and compiled over the years by Manrique himself, portray the artist in his most domestic and human dimension.
In the studio, half-concealed on the edge of the estate at a distance from the dwelling, visitors discover the environment in which Manrique painted, surrounded by easels, pigment, tables with drawings… kept just as he left them on the day of his death in 1992.