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Dolores Olmedo Museum
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Dolores Olmedo Museum
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Av Mexico 5843
La Noria
Mexico City
Mexico

gstecyk's picture

Contributor

The Dolores Olmedo Museum was the pet project of Dona Dolores Olmedo (known as Lola to her friends), a socialite, philanthropist and Diego Rivera groupie.

Lola met Diego when she was 17 and he was in his 40s, and posed nude for a series of sketches. No record exists of a sexual relationship, but with Diego being Diego, you can draw your own conclusions. Lola herself said she wanted to be remembered, “Just as I am, a woman who did whatever she felt like doing, and luckily succeeded at it.” So if she felt like doing Diego, we can be pretty sure she did. A jealous husband later forced her to give the sketches back to Diego, which Diego returned to Lola after she divorced said husband.

Lola, on the other hand, appears to have been jealous of Diego’s wife Frida Kahlo, and was accused of deliberately sabotaging Frida’s Legacy. She called Frida’s work “trashy” and bashed her bisexuality. Lola bought most of Frida’s most important works after her death for the absurd bargain of $1,600 dollars, which she claimed was a personal favor to Diego, who wanted to preserve his wife’s work in a single collection in her own country. Some intellectuals accused her of buying them (or stealing at the price) to deliberately suppress Frida’s legacy. Ironically, this is now considered to be the most significant collection of Frida Kahlo in the world, seen by thousands every year.  

Whatever her motivations, we have Lola to thank for a brilliant collection. In addition to the world’s most important collections of Diego and Frida, the Museum houses a premiere collection of Diego’s first wife, Russian-born artist Angelina Beloff. Hundreds of pre-Columbian artifacts and folk art pieces are also highlights.

The museum complex itself is picturesque and uniquely Mexican. The site was used for pagan rituals in Aztec times, and the primary collection is in a colonial hacienda dating back to the sixteenth century. The grounds also include Lola’s private rooms, lush gardens featuring indigenous plantlife, roaming peacocks and six adorable hairless Xoloitzcuilti dogs, an ancient Mexican breed.  This breed was a favorite of Lola, and the dogs are friendly to visitors, and according to the curious translation of the Museum website, “warm to the touch.”  So bring the kiddies for some puppy playtime.

Lola, who originally bought the property as a personal residence, loved to entertain, and donated the complex and collection to the people of Mexico so she could contunue to be a flamboyant hostess even in death. Dispite her reputation for monopolizing Frida’s work out of malice, she loved to share her joy of art. When the Museum opened in 1994, critics commented that the collection was badly hung in accordance with her bizarre tastes. She responded, “I lived with this art for most of my life…who knows better than me how it should be displayed.” We’ll take your word for it, Lola. Quirky or not, you certainly had fabulous style.

 

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Here is what Wikipedia says about Museo Dolores Olmedo

The Museo Dolores Olmedo (or the Dolores Olmedo Museum) is an art museum in the capital of Mexico, based on the collection of the Mexican businesswoman Dolores Olmedo.

History

In 1962, Dolores Olmedo acquired a property at La Noria, Xochimilco in southern Mexico City, which she would later convert into the museum named after herself in 1994. Donating her entire collection of art including pre-Hispanic, colonial, folk, modern and contemporary art, the Dolores Olmedo Patiño Museum hosts the greatest collection of Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, and Angelina Beloff artworks. Upon Olmedo's death in 2002, she left funds for taking care of her museum, now open to the public.

Check out the full Wikipedia article about Museo Dolores Olmedo.