Museu Calouste Gulbenkian

By Philippa Burne, UK, March 2012

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Sometimes just as interesting as a museum’s collection is the story of the collector behind it. Museu Calouste Gulbenkian is the legacy of Calouste Sarkis Gulbenkian, a Turkish oil mogul and art collector who traveled widely and lived in Constantinople (Istanbul), Paris, London, Lisbon and the south of France where he is buried. But it is to Lisbon that he left his art collection with a foundation to house it and develop it. Gulbenkian’s collection totals over 6,000 pieces including items from ancient Egypt, ancient Greece, Islamic art, European painting and sculpture. He called them his ‘children.’ He was famous for buying pieces from the Hermitage collection in Saint Petersburg after the Russian Revolution. Much of the collection was housed at his home in Paris and currently at the Lisbon gallery there is an exhibition of this house, Memory of the Place, on until April 7 2012.

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Photo courtesy of Sheila Thompson via Flickr.

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