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Santa Inés Convent

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museo jose luis cuevas

 

The former Santa Inés Convent is today home to the Museo José Luis Cuevas. It’s dedicated to the work and collections of the artist of the same name. The museum is housed within the old Convent of Santa Inés which opened on September 17, 1600.

The complex was rebuilt at the end of the 18th century, with most of the project overseen by Manuel Tolsá. He is said to have called himself “The architect of the Convent of Santa Inés and its urban properties.” These were likely extensive as the convent survived primarily by charging rents from the surrounding apartments and storefronts.

With the Reform Laws, in 1861,  the building was expropriated. The nuns only briefly returned during the reign of Maximiliano, but the property was divided and sold soon after. Today the main patio remains and serves as the central courtyard of the museum.  This opened in 1992.

Today, the 20th-century artist, José Luis Cuevas is remembered principally as one of the enfants terribles of the high-modernist post-war period. The Museo José Luis Cuevas houses some 1,860 artworks. These are mostly from Latin American painters and illustrators of the same period.

The museum has benefited somewhat from the conflict it naturally created with the Academia de San Carlos, the closest Mexico City has ever had to an “academy” of official or elite-sanctioned art. That conflict still enlivens the street otherwise dedicated to the well-regarded Academia.

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