The Dolores Olmedo Museum is an art museum in the capital of Mexico, based on the collection of the Mexican businesswoman Dolores Olmedo. The Dolores Olmedo Patiño Museum the name of the collector Dolores Olmedo Patiño and focuses mainly on the diffusion of the work of Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo, preserves a collection of approximately 3000 pieces, which are periodically rotated for exhibition. The museum’s collection includes approximately 600 prehispanic pieces from Mesoamerican cultures, such as the Olmec, Mixtec, Zapotec, Totonac, Mayan, Aztec, and West Mexican settlements.
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 host the greatest collection of Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera and Angelina Beloff. Upon her death in 2002, she left funds for taking care of her museum, now open to the public.
The five-building complex contains up to 150 paintings, including 145 by Diego Rivera, 25 by his wife Frida Kahlo (and some of their scripts and drawings), nearly 6,000 pre-Hispanic figurines and sculptures as well diverse living animals such as geese, ducks, six Xoloitzcuintles and Indian peafowls kept in the gardens of the museum.
The museum has 139 works by Diego Rivera and 25 works by Frida Kahlo, making it the largest collection in Mexico of the works of both. It also has 43 creations by Angelina Beloff and more than 600 prehispanic pieces. Among the main currents found in the museum are: cubism, post-impressionism, primitivism, symbolism, surrealism, magical realism and social realism.
The main value of the museum resides in the six artistic collections that it shelters, as it houses a wide collection of works by Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, Angelina Beloff, Pablo O’Higgins, Folk Art and Prehispanic Art.
The collection has been divided into several rooms, which follow a numerical order:
Room 1 Principal: Here are Diego Rivera’s works, such as The Chopper (1909), The Mathematician (1918), The Family (1934), as well as prehispanic pieces from the Mixtec-Zapotec and Olmec cultures.
Room 2 Mural Painting: dedicated to the mural work of Diego Rivera, in this section are works by the author such as The Execution of Maximilian (1935) and Frozen Wallpapers (1931), as well as prehispanic pieces of cultures that were developed in the Gulf of Veracruz.
Room 3 Maya: here are works allusive to the Mayan culture, also lie plastic works of Rivera and in particular The watermelons (1957), which was his last painting.
Room 4 Kitchen: there is a traditional atmosphere in the typical kitchens of the time of the Colony that shows a series of handicrafts.
Room 5 Portraits and self-portraits: here are paintings that Rivera made of the family of Dolores Olmedo, in addition to four self-portraits of the author of different times.
Room 6 Sunsets: here are paintings that Diego made in his stay in Acapulco, twenty works representing the port sunsets.
Room 7 Lithography: here are lithographic works of Diego: The Zapata peasant leader and The rural teacher, for example.
Room 8 Drawing: here are a series of sketches, such as Studies for market (1944) and Portrait of Pita Amor (1957), among others.
Room 9 Frida Kahlo: this room reflects the whole life of Frida Kahlo through her paintings and writings; Here lie paintings such as The Broken Column (1944) and Self-Portrait with Changuito (1945), among others.
Room 10 Cubism: here are pieces of Rivera that correspond to the 19 years he spent in Europe; Is reflected in the learning he obtained from European masters in works such as In the Fountain of Toledo (1913), Landscape of Normandy (1918), The Telegraph Pole (1916), among others.
Room 11 Fernando Gamboa: dedicated to the Mexican museographer and defender of folk art, he gathers crafts made of glass, ceramics, carton, wood and tin from different regions of Mexico.
Room 12 Angelina Beloff: dedicated to the Russian painter wife of Rivera, you can see works by this author, such as El soldadito de lead and El bebedero y la fábrica, and more rooms up to 32
The museum is surrounded by an ecological space where more than 20 species of Mexican trees and plants, animals such as peacocks, geese, ducks, turkeys and xoloitzcuintles dogs are preserved.
Recently new areas have been added to the museum, “her private rooms” where she kept original decorations of her house such as ivory, china, and artwork by artist whom she nurtured in her latter years including José Juárez and Francisco Guevara. The museum now holds a permanent exhibition of works by Russian-Mexican artist Angelina Beloff.
Located in Xochimilco, at Mexico City’s southern extreme, the Dolores Olmedo Museum is housed in a rambling stone structure, originally dating from the Sixteenth Century, formerly known as the Hacienda La Noria.
By donating her art collection to the people of Mexico, Dolores Olmedo Pati F1o (1908-2002) created a cohesive whole, where treasures of the fine arts were incorporated into colonial construction added during the Seventeenth Century, surrounded by lush gardens, shaded by singularly Mexican plant species, and inhabited by gorgeous animals like the magical peacocks–seemingly confected of living jewels and the enigmatic hairless Xoloiztcuintle dogs, a Precolumbian breed that is unique to behold and warm to the touch.
Since the museum opened its doors to the public in September of 1994, its greatest treasure is its painting. The world’s most important collections of works by Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo are housed here permanently and are adored by the legions of visitors who flock to admire them. There is, as well, a collection of the woodcuts and book illustrations by Russo-French painter Angelina Beloff, Rivera’s companion during his early years as a budding painter in Europe.
In addition, a privileged display of over nine hundred archaeological pieces provides interest and contrast, as well as a glimpse of the aesthetic of a number among Mexico’s diverse ancient cultures. Gilded wooden figures from the Colonial period create another contrast. And as evidence of Mexico’s ever-vibrant creative imperative, a collection of popular art presents the largely-anonymous masterpieces of ceramic, wood, tin, lacquer, papier mache and copper, that village craftsman have produced for generations, and that still serve as the utensils and implements, as well as the ceremonial offerings, of their daily lives.