The creation of the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, in 1990, met the need for a museum project that reflected contemporary Spanish art in relation to the international context. Its initial collection comprised bodies of work from various sources, including the now defunct Spanish Museum of Contemporary Art and the collection of 20th-century art from the Prado Museum, which contained the important series of works by Pablo Picasso related to Guernica.
The Collection of the Museo Reina Sofía includes works produced between the late 19th century and the present day. It currently boasts over 20,000 works in every artistic medium: approximately 4,100 paintings, more than 1,700 sculptures, nearly 3,600 drawings, over 5,500 prints, 4,230 photographs, approximately 120 installations and 40 video installations, 400 film and video creations, over 100 pieces of decorative art and 35 architectural works. Only about 5% of these are on display as part of the museum collection, like artworks by Pablo Picasso, Joan Miró, Salvador Dalí, Juan Gris, José Gutiérrez Solana, Maruja Mallo, Brassaï, Jean Dubuffet, Robert Delaunay, Georges Braque, Yves Klein, Robert Motherwell, Antoni Tàpies, Francis Bacon, Richard Serra, Alexander Calder, René Magritte, Gerhard Richter, Luis Gordillo, Juan Muñoz, Antoni Muntadas, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Sol LeWitt or Marcel Broodthaers.
The current exhibition itinerary, which features numerous and important novelties, occupies a space of approximately 8.750 m 2 distributed between the Sabatini and Nouvel buildings and showcases around 1,000 works of art in a discourse that spans a period from the modern era to the present day.
As a counterpoint to the story of modern art, and starting with the series of independent movements and individual geniuses who went their own way, the new collection display contextualises the various artistic highlights of the history and material culture of the 20th and 21st centuries. The collection will no longer be arranged in a linear fashion; works by the same artist will not necessarily be shown together, and the itinerary will not be strictly chronological. The goal is to present mini-narratives, cosmologies that will help us comprehend the works and see their connections to other pieces thanks to an understanding of what was happening in each period both in Spain and abroad. This new presentation aims to offer an open vision of the art of our times from multiple perspectives, emphasising the intersecting nature of the discourses and the spectator’s role in shaping them.