The Collector’s Cabinet, Lázaro Galdiano Museum

The collector’s cabinet on the third floor, in which coins, textiles, weapons, medals, ivories, enamels are exhibited… In short, and as the name of this floor says, the rooms that we will see next gather a sample of all those collections.

Due to the large amount that José Lázaro Galdiano treasured, many of them are collected in drawers under the showcases that visitors open on their own to observe them. This also demonstrates the large number of objects with which it was made. Formed by objects that are well worth observing with everything detail And with this idea the exhibitors of the entire cabinet have been organized, where visitors can open most of the drawers to find in them a large number of pieces that make up this collection of collections.

Here exhibited the Lázaro Galdiano Museum. The paintings give way to other types of objects. The armory stands out in room 20, in which combat, hunting or white weapons are exposed.

The rest of the exhibit rooms preserves pieces of ivory, wood, coins, glass or ceramics. A collection of textiles from different eras and nationalities puts an end to the tour of the Lázaro Galdiano Museum, a sanctuary to which both art lovers and the curious who have a free morning during their visit to Madrid have to travel. Its exhibition allows you to enter the heart and spirit of a born collector who bequeathed all his heritage for the enjoyment of those who come to know it and, above all, admire it.

Room 20:
We begin with Room 20: “Armory”, where a good part of the weapons collection that Lázaro Galdiano treasured is exhibited. The pieces are ordered according to their use, thus being able to see hunting weapons (crossbows, dusters, arcabuces, machetes and knives of montería, etc.), white (daggers, swords, rapier, stilettos, etc.), of combat, oriental, civilians, etc.

Looking closely, we can see that some of them are stamped with noble shields, being others, also, made with rich materials by gunsmiths like Esquivel, Zuloaga, Usatorre and Zelaya, among others.

Room 21:
Enamels, irons and bronzes. Wood. Ivory
Here polychrome enamels, irons and bronzes, where the objects of sumptuary art prevail. Thus, we will see French pieces made in the Limoges workshop (civil and religious), such as several arches and a copy of the one known as the Saint Aignan Treasury Box of the Chartres Cathedral, in addition to five magnificent reliquary busts that were made for the Count of Monterrey in 1632, among other interesting works.

Secondly, there are objects made of wood, especially those destined for luxury art, such as several bas-reliefs that stand out for the beauty of the carvings dated between the 15th and 19th centuries, small pieces of furniture, sculptures, etc. It is worth mentioning that, although most of the objects are original, the collection also has some historicist reproductions. Likewise, you can also distinguish between some works from foreign schools and others made in the Spanish school.

Finally, in the center there is a showcase in which several pieces made in ivory are exhibited, which are mostly historicist replicas, although there are also some original works from different schools and eras. Of these, we can highlight the diptychs and different Marian images realized in the gothic school of Paris, as well as the so-called “Cup of the Arts”, several arches of Islamic origin and others of Byzantine style. Likewise, there are some pieces whose material is bone, such as a casket made with plates in the early fifteenth century in the Embriachi workshop, in Italy.

Room 22:
Stone materials and terracotta. Bronzes. Monetary. Medallero
There are two showcases that show works made of stone and terracotta materials, of which the portrait of Emperor Lucio Vero, from the second century stands out; a set of alabaster pieces; two neoclassical busts, one of them made by AJM Romagnesi; a head of faun Renaissance era; and several terracotta between the 18th and 19th centuries signed by Venancio Vallmitjana, Claude Michel Clodion and Jean Baptiste Carpeaux.

On the other hand, two other showcases exhibit a good number of works from the museum’s bronze collection, with pieces dedicated to the Iberian and classical world, as well as other objects made in this material, such as candlesticks, aquamaniles, a great Persian cup, etc. Among the works based on classical and Renaissance models, we can mention the “Perseus” by Cellini, or the “Madonna de Brujas” by Michelangelo. Likewise, there are also some original pieces of small size and Italian and French bronzes from the 19th century, among which there are works by Ferdinand Barbedienne and Louis Kley. Finally, it is worth stopping at the bottom shelf, where we will find the set “Le déjeuner fleuri”, which adorned the dining room table of Don José Lázaro Galdiano and Doña Paula Florido, made by Léo Laporte-Blairzy.

Next, there is the collection of coins, formed by more than three hundred pieces of gold and silver that go from the Greek world to the nineteenth century, among which those of ancient, medieval and Renaissance times stand out. The ordination that has been chosen for its exhibition has been by countries and times, being able to see almost the entire collection in the exhibitors and in the drawers, free of these to be opened by the visitors, where there are also other pieces, such as a good number of keys

Finally, we have the medallero, with around a thousand pieces that show us the special interest that Lázaro Galdiano had for commemorative type medals. Among them, those made by Renaissance artists, such as Mateo de Pasti, the Leoni, Guillaume Dupré, or Pisanello, among others stand out. As for the Spanish works, those of Tomás Francisco Prieto and Gerónimo Antonio Gil stand out.

Room 23:
Silver. Ceramics
The collection of silver objects, where both original and replica works of the nineteenth century are exhibited, such as imitations of Roman vessels from the treasures of Boscoreale and Tivoli. Some pieces of medieval and Renaissance times also deserve our attention: reliquaries, two chalices and other objects of religious art, as well as a civil set of glasses and cups, fountains, etc. from the 16th to the 18th centuries.

On the other hand, there is the ceramic collection, which, like the previous one, has originals and imitations of other models, such as Greek amphorae, majolica Italian, earthenware and ceramics from Teruel, Cataluña, Talavera and Alcora. Likewise, there are also some pieces of Islamic and Oriental pottery. If we open the drawers, we can see a tiling Granada and a selection of tiles made in Toledo, Seville and Valencia.

Finally, in the central showcase we will find several pieces of different table services that were used by the Lázaro-Florido family from 1909. On the one hand, elements of the so-called “green tableware” are exhibited; this one, realized in the factory W. Guérin (Limoges) towards 1903, counts on the initials of Don José Lázaro and Doña Paula Florido.

About the same year is the glassware, possibly from Saint Louis, and the cutlery, made by Arthus Bertrand & Beranger. On the other hand, the so-called “green crockery” is displayed, commissioned to manufacture Pillivuyt (Paris) around 1890, which shows the initials of Doña Paula Florido and her third husband, Don Rodolfo Gache. Beside it is the cutlery and a tea set, made by Christofle around the years 1890 and 1881-1888, respectively. A glassware made by Baccarat in the late eighties of the nineteenth century completes the set.

Room 24:
The set has been organized according to the different textile production centers that have been throughout the centuries. Of all this, the Spanish-Muslim and Eastern Mediterranean silks stand out; some pieces from Persia, China and Japan; and European fabrics from the 15th and 16th centuries. Likewise, a collection of textiles from the time of the Catholic Monarchs stands out, such as Italian-Spanish velvets and Nasrid silk. From this period, a velvet deserves our attention with the shields of Felipe “el Hermoso” and Juana I, the so-called “Prince Don Juan’s Capillo” and the so-called “Cardinal Cisneros Chasuble”.

José Lázaro y Galdiano (Beire, Navarre 1862 – Madrid 1947) was an editor, a bibliophile and art collector. He had studied law at Valladolid, Barcelona and Santiago de Compostela and initiated a career in journalism. He began as an art critic and chronicle writer for the Barcelona based newspaper “La Vanguardia”. When he moved to Madrid, at the end of 1888, he founded his very own editorial company, named La España Moderna, and started his art collection, which had already become important by the end of the 19th century.

In Rome, 1903, he married an Argentine lady by the name of Paula Florido y Toledo (1856-1932). The following year the newly married couple embarked upon the project of the construction of the “Parque Florido” palace, the museum in which Lázaro would shelter his collection, which was becoming ever more enriched by continuous purchases that were made by Lázaro with the financial support of his wife.

The outbreak of the civil war forced Lázaro to abandon Spain. He left for Paris, where he resided and formed a new collection. In 1940 he moved on to the United States, continuing there his purchase of art pieces. In 1945 Lázaro returned to Madrid and began to install all those pieces acquired in Paris and New York into the Parque Florido palace, alongside his former possessions. Thereby, he had formed what is probably the greatest private art collection of Spain.

Art Collector
The collections that José Lázaro gathered throughout his life include some 12,600 pieces of the most diverse artistic genres, always within classical art (Lázaro did not collect art of his time) and very focused on Spanish art, whose heritage fought for keep in Spain, in the face of significant pressure from international collectors and museums. In this facet of promoting Spanish art conservation, he maintains an interesting parallel with the American collector Archer Huntington, founder of the Hispanic Society of New York.

Stresses its excellent gallery with more than 750 paintings in which the representation of Spanish painting stands out with authors ranging from the Renaissance to Romanticism such as: Sánchez Coello, El Greco, Zurbarán, Ribera, Murillo, Velázquez, Carreño de Miranda, Mateo Cerezo, Claudio Coello, Luis Paret, Goya (of whom the collection is a very relevant reference) or Leonardo Alenza… and in which the collection of gothic tables and the first renaissanceSpanish can be considered among the best in the world.

The painting collection also includes an interesting representation of the English school: Peter Lely, Reynolds, Constable or Romney… as well as the Flemish and German primitives, with such important works as Meditations of San Juan Bautista de El Bosco. One of the most unique paintings in the art gallery is the anonymous Renaissance painting The Teen Savior, which although it is currently attributed to one of his disciples, went through many years to be the only painting by Leonardo da Vinci in Spain.

His bibliophile facet is reflected in notable pieces from his library, such as the incunable L´Antiquité Judaique de Flavio Josefo, dated between 1460 and 1470, the Book of Hours of Gian Giacomo Trivulzio, Milanese work of about 1500, or the Treaty of the Painting Sabia by Fray Juan Ricci, not forgetting one of the bibliographic jewels that he gathered: the book of description of true portraits, of Illustrious and Memorable men, autograph manuscript of Francisco Pacheco, teacher and father-in-law of Velázquez and one of the great Spanish theorists of century XVI. It should be noted that to his excellent library he added about a thousand books from that of his great friend Antonio Cánovas del Castillo, which he acquired after his murder in 1897, as well as his file.

Also important are collections of sculptures and other decorative arts such as enamels, ivories, goldsmiths, antique and Renaissance bronzes, jewelry, armor, furniture, ceramics and glassware.

Art Expert
José Lázaro used a new personal promotion strategy: the cult of artistic property as an aristocratic myth. Interpreting collecting as a noble intellectual construction, establishing ideological connections between social status and the collection of certain artistic or cultural artifacts, which would acquire symbolic value and serve to accompany certain social practices.

Regular of Biarritz, Deauville and fashionable thermal establishments, where the whole family moved, both spouses shared the exquisite passion for collecting, their knowledge of the international art market and their taste for valuable jewels.

Their important common fortune allowed them to build their home in Madrid in the Palacio Florido palace, in neo-Renaissance style (in flagrant contrast with the modernist style that José recently met in Barcelona). They decorated it with noble materials and became the headquarters of their collections of precious objects. Designed in 1904 by the architect José Urioste Velada, his plans were modified, according to laborious instructions of Lázaro himself, by the architects Joaquín Kramer and Francisco Borrás, which followed in the direction of the works until their conclusion in 1908. The ceilings of the main rooms were painted, at Oil on canvas, by Eugenio Lucas Villaamil. For the visitor he had the added attraction of having electric light and an elevator (unknown gadget in Madrid).

The Lázaro opened their halls to the overwhelming and competitive Madrid social life, offering continuous parties, even beneficial, to the opulent and idle society of the decaying Monarchist Restoration. The social reviews of newspapers such as La Época, El Heraldo and ABC are full of quotes to these Saragos in which art was admired, ate, drank tea, champagne and played bridge. The same day of its inauguration (May 29, 1908) yielded visit the king’s aunt them, Infanta Eulalia, accompanied by their children and a numerous courtship to admire their antiques.

Like the popes and some lay princes, the daily life of the Lazarus practically developed between precious objects and unique pieces, whose collection was justified not only by the effect of their intrinsic value but by the relationship that their owners maintained with them. In 1913 his collection of paintings had expanded to 466 works. Sculptures, weapons, medals, books, ivories, miniatures, furniture, tapestries, fans and all kinds of beautiful objects joined the paintings and drawings. He became infatuated with the sword of the Count of TendillaHe saw in an exhibition. Its owners, from Sallent’s house, did not want to sell it in Spain, so in 1912, 120,000 pesetas had to be paid to some dealers in Munich.

All this formed a bizarre collection, expensive and heterogeneous – “whose abundance is harmful to enjoyment” – as someone said but very consistent with the ornate pompier taste of the time. One of the most characteristic features of Lázaro Galdiano was his passionate incontinence of power: to possess, to treasure, even above the aesthetic emotion. As the Marquis de Lozoya once said:

It seems impossible that this could be the work of a single man, even if Providence was with him generous in long life, select tastes and vast means of fortune.
—Marques de Lozoya

Every collector needs to be informed about the object of their collections. Although Lazarus had a certain reputation as understood abroad, especially in the United States and France, where he became elected president of the XXIII International Congress of Art History in Paris (1921), his intellectual merit as an authority in art and antiques was not fully recognized among the Spanish institutional, political and academic staff. The control of matters of historical-artistic heritage was in the hands of the idle aristocracy, the high clergy and the deferent landowner, holder of the farms and monuments, who were not impressed and considered him a parvenuNewcomer to a world that belonged to them by natural right.

Lazaro was tempted by politics. In the parliamentary elections to the deputy of the courts of March 1914, he appeared for Madrid (Chamberí) with the Liberal-Romanists with the monarchical coalition, without obtaining a seat. Later he ephemerally replaced Manuel Ruiz Valarino as deputy for Orihuela (Alicante) in 1919 Between 1912-18 he was a very active member of the Board of Trustees of the Prado Museum where he carried out an important activity. Due to disagreements with some of its members because of his incuria, he stopped attending his meetings, presented his resignation and left him in 1920.

Art Protector
His figure also stands out among the columnists defending the Spanish artistic heritage, focusing his activity on the recovery of works that had left our borders and strongly opposing the mercantilist plunder of art. Since 1924, he has been a member of the Madrid Athenaeum (although he was not included in the art commissions). Instead it did not belong to the elitist Spanish Society of Friends of Art, which edited a quarterly magazine called Spanish Art Magazine. Always self-sufficient, between 1925 and 1928 Lázaro published on his own no less than eight erudition works. Without university credit, his request to enter the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando was not accepted, the Count of Romanones, then president of the Academy, and president of the Council of Ministers answered:

But you, Don José, what do you want to be an academic for?

The house of Messrs. Of Lázaro reached a unique profile as a point of reference in elegant Madrid, but the family care of Paula Florido caused the definitive closure of the halls and their disappearance of the “mundane” columns of the conservative press. First was the death of her first granddaughter Laura and the subsequent divorce of her eldest son in 1914, then the death in full youth of her son Rodolfo Gache, in 1916, when she had already shown signs of her educated artistic and literary hobbies and finally, the early disappearance of his sister Manolita Barros Vazquez in 1919.

In 1929 Paula Florido de Lázaro testified in Madrid by designating his only surviving son Juan Francisco Ibarra 62 and his grandson Nestor de Ibarra Saubidet as universal heir. Her husband José bequeathed the Parque Florido house with all its content:

To reside in it with the dignity, freedom and comfort you have had during your happy marriage, enjoying how many objects exist in that house and the house itself, everything that corresponds to the testator in said objects and works of art bequeathed.

The Collection
The Collection is the union of the three collections that Lázaro gathered for more than sixty years dedicated with determination and enthusiasm to the search for artistic works to form a Collection of collections of more than 12,600 pieces that the Museum has been keeping and exhibiting since 1951.

The Madrid Collection
To her belong the works acquired by Lázaro from his youth years in Barcelona until 1936, such as the paintings, drawings and graphic work of Goya, Murillo, Velázquez, El Greco or El Bosco, the collection of Spanish and Flemish primitives, among which the tables of Blasco de Grañén, the Master of Ávila, Benson or Isenbrandt, without forgetting the magnificent Lombard table of the adolescent Savior, the Sword of the second count of Tendilla or the monumental sculpture of Christ tied to the column, of the Florentine sculptorMichelangelo Naccherino.

The Paris Collection
Formed during the decade of the thirties, although purchases were accentuated from 1936, the year in which Lázaro moved to live in the French capital alternating with long stays in Rome, it is closed at the end of 1939. It is composed of paintings, pieces of furniture, books and artistic objects among which the set of Italian ceramics, some small bronzes, medals, firearms or enamels. Among the important paintings acquired by Lázaro in those years is the portrait of a young lady attributed to Sofonisba Anguissola, the San Lorenzo de Bernardo Cavallino or the portrait of Juan III of Portugal painted by Antonio Moro.

The New York Collection
Lázaro arrived in New York in December 1939 and will remain there until mid-1944. In this short period of time he formed a collection of more than a thousand works, mainly of artistic objects that he moved to Madrid in January 1947. The Cup belongs to it of Cardinal Ippolito Aldobrandini or Madonna Cernazai who was from the Hearst Collection.

In summary, in the Lázaro Collection, significant pieces of the history of painting and sculpture coexist, with important artistic objects that accentuate the variety of sumptuous arts, jewelry, textiles, silverware, archeology, furniture, numismatics, ivories… one of the Great values of the Collection.

Lázaro Galdiano Museum
The Lázaro Galdiano Museum, in Madrid (Spain), is a state museum of private origin, which houses a wide and heterogeneous collection, formed with encyclopedic interest towards all arts and techniques. This exceptional set, consisting of more than 12,600 pieces, was gathered by the collector and editor José Lázaro Galdiano, who when he died in 1947 bequeathed it to the Spanish State together with his Madrid residence, the headquarters of his publishing house Modern Spain and a library of 20,000 volumes
On display at the Lázaro Galdiano Museum is a large part of the private collection of José Lázaro Galdiano bequeathed to the Spanish State. The Lázaro Galdiano Foundation was established by the government in 1948. As well as administering directing the museum itself, the Foundation manages an important library, an archive, a study room containing prints and drawings and also edits the prestigious arts magazine “Goya”.

The art collection includes an excellent picture gallery, which is essential to the history of Spanish art and within which the work of Francisco de Goya stands out. Important European paintings are also included and are complemented by sculptures and decorative arts, dating from the 6th century BC up to the first half of the 20th century.

The conceptual display on the ground floor offers the key to understanding the collection, its origins and its importance in the history of art, and what is more, to take an aesthetic stroll amongst its most attractive pieces. The first floor is dedicated to Spanish art, the second floor to the European schools. On the third floor, a study gallery has been set up, holding the majority of the pieces from the collection, consisting of some thirteen thousand objects.