Donation of photographs to the Bilbao Fine Arts Museum


The collection includes a chronology that spans from 1850 to 2010 and a list of 63 authors -some of them represented with more than one work- and 14 anonymous ones. In addition to the photographs, the donation includes the work Katamalo (2010), consisting of 12 charcoal drawings by the Bilbao artist Alain Urrutia.

Enrique Ordóñez and Isabel Falcón, collectors; Miguel Zugaza, director of the museum; and Gilermo Zuaznabar, curator of Design and Architecture at the museum.
Enrique Ordóñez e Isabel Falcón, coleccionistas; Miguel Zugaza, director del museo; y Gilermo Zuaznabar, conservador de Diseño y Arquitectura del museo.

The result of the interest in visual culture and the collecting passion of the San Sebastian couple formed by Enrique Ordóñez and Isabel Falcón, the collection was started at the end of the seventies of the last century with the aim of being shown publicly. It brought together nearly two thousand images - the vast majority of them period originals - which make up a quality compendium of the history of photography and a catalogue of the most diverse themes, styles and photographic techniques.

Happily, and in a new gesture of generosity by Enrique Ordóñez and Isabel Falcón, a good part of the works that made up both deposits have now been donated to the museum. In addition, a group of images has been added which adds value to the historical photography, extends the final chronology of the collection to 2010 and includes Basque and Latin American photographers in the repertoire.


The donation includes a first group of images that represents the evolution of photography during the 19th century and allows us to understand the work of those photographers who sought the technical development of the discipline - albumen paper, gelatin bromide, cyanotype, daguerreotype... - and its consideration as an artistic language.

This corpus also documents the importance that photography was beginning to have in bourgeois society in the second half of the century, its development as a professional industry and amateur hobby, and its fundamental role as an instrument for the perception of the world and as a repository of memory.

The wide variety of subjects - landscapes, urban views, portraits, nudes, still lifes, genre and documentary scenes, scientific images, travel and monuments... - shows the broad use that was made of this invention from its beginnings, while at the same time demonstrating the continuity of genres throughout its development.

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