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Fernando Zobel was a Filipino who was born in Manila in 1924. He was a member of a very prominent family. In 1946 he studied history and literature in Harvard and graduated magna laude in 1949. He started painting and was influenced by the works of Mark Rothko and took up modernism and abstract expressionism. Later he moved to Cuenca and painted landscapes by the Jucar River. He created the Museum of Spanish Abstract Art in one of the Hanging Houses in 1966. He was helped in this endeavor by the painter Gustavo Torner and Gerardo Rueda. The museum houses works of art by artists such as Antoni Tapies, Antonio Saura, Rafael Canogar, Jose Guerrero, Jose Maria Yturralde, Lucio Muñoz, Pablo Palazuelo, Manuel Rivera, and Fernando Zobel.
In 1980 Fernando Zobel donated his collection to the Juan March Foundation, who now runs the museum. The building is owned by the City Hall. Zobel died in Rome in 1984. In 1983 King Juan Carlos of Spain awarded Zobel the Gold Medal of Merit of the Fine Arts. In 2006 Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo gave Zobel a posthumous award, the Presidential Medal of Merit for his contributions in the arts.
The museum has attracted other modern art museums to the city of Cuenca and has made Cuenca one of the principal abstract art centers of Spain. The AVE station has also been named the Fernando Zobel Station, in his honor.
Museo de Arte Abstracto Español
Monday to Friday from 11 am to 2 pm and 4 to 6 pm.
Saturday from 11 am to 2 pm and 4 to 8 pm.
Sunday from 11 am to 2:30 pm.
Closed on Monday and public holidays (Jan. 1; Holy Thursday (afternoon); Good Friday; Sept. 18, 19, 20, 21; Dec. 24, 25, 31)