Temporary exhibition

An architecture of glance

Collection of Vicente Saavedra and Mercedes R. del Palacio
2 de marzo – 3 de junio


The gesture of collecting, capricious in itself, often obsessive, involves creating a personal constellation of elements in which, in one way or another, concerns, desires or interests are reflected. And despite the fact that nothing obliges any limit, it is not unusual to guess in them certain symmetries and obvious, or not so obvious, connections, from which one’s own view of time is constructed. Fifty years ago, Santa Cruz de Tenerife hosted one of the events that has had the greatest impact and repercussion in its life and cultural history, the First International Exhibition of Street Sculpture, which took place between 1973 and 1974 and has given the city a magnificent sculptural heritage, decidedly open to the contemporary world scene.

A key figure in its organisation was the Tenerife architect Vicente Saavedra [Santa Cruz de Tenerife, 1937 – 2021], an outstanding personality, not only for his extensive and meritorious professional career, but also for having been one of the protagonists of the renewal and cultural revival of the island in the 1970s, which had one of its most active centres of action in the College of Architects of the Canary Islands.

The intensity and depth of such an important activity also left its mark on the collection that Saavedra assembled over the decades (of which we present here a selection of paintings and sculptures, although it also includes graphic works, as well as philately and numismatics), a task that he undertook with his wife Mercedes Rodríguez del Palacio. The collection of works on display here is mainly centred on art from the 1960s to the 1980s, and provides a substantial overview of some of the most outstanding artistic proposals of that period, in which the search for a balance between tradition and aesthetic renewal was fundamental and of unquestionable creative power.

The presence in it of figures such as Picasso (whose death is now being commemorated on the fiftieth anniversary and whose work Saavedra was particularly fond of) and Joan Miró are significant and are clearly reflected in other pieces in the collection, which also includes essential names in that 1973 exhibition, as well as in the construction and revision of the artistic gaze and collecting in Spain during the second half of the twentieth century.

Eliseo G. Izquierdo



Imagen: Julio González, Personaje abstracto, 1941.