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 Alan Gandy

Museo Casa Ibañez, Olula del Rio

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Last Saturday I finally got around to visiting Museo Casa Ibañez in Olula del Rio, Almeria. It’s somewhere I’ve been meaning to go for quite some time. To tell you the truth, it wasn’t actually my first visit. My first visit was three months ago but the museum was closed as it is every Monday, I’d stupidly neglected to check opening times on the website!

Back to the point, put plain and simple, I loved the place. Fantastic building, friendly welcome from the staff, and most of all I loved the work inside. Snr Ibañez most certainly has a new fan. I really, really, really liked work, his style resonated with me very strongly. The work is figurative and for me (as a photographer myself) has an almost photographic style. It would also seem to me that he shares my disdain for the ‘establishment’ and often pokes fun at the church, the monarchy and the political classes. In short, I felt we speak a similar visual language, I sensed a kindred spirit.

His paintings often pay homage to the styles of the grand masters he studied with his grandfather as stated in his biography. They can be emotive and thought provoking, and really struck a chord with me. There are a couple in the museum that almost reduced me to tears; it’s been quite some time since that happened. The last work that did it was a simple pencil drawing by Dali at The Tate in Liverpool some years ago. Whilst being incredibly beautiful, paintings many reveal a certain darkness in their subjects and their execution.

Museo Casa Ibañez has just become my favourite place locally to while away a couple of quiet hours of contemplation. Already I want to go back and spend more time drinking in the wonderful work of Andrés García Ibáñez. I’m kicking myself that I left it so long to visit the museum, and my next visit won’t be my last, that’s for sure. If you haven’t been yet, you certainly should.

Enough of my ramblings, here comes the factual information you probably came here looking for.

(We haven’t included any paintings for obvious reasons of copyright but you can click here if you’d like to see the work of Andrés García Ibáñez in a new window)

The museum and gallery

Museo Casa Ibañez houses one of the largest collections of contemporary art in Andalucia. The lovechild of Andrés García Ibáñez, the museum was officially inaugurated in November 2004. Since then, the museum has established itself as one of the most significant cultural properties in south-east Spain.

The museum and gallery are managed by the Fundación Museo Casa Ibáñez which was established in June 2005 and is owned by the municipality of Olula del Rio as well as the surrounding municipalities of the Almanzora Valley. On July 18 2007 the museum was added to the official registry of museums of the Ministry of Culture of Andalucia.

Currently, the museum houses approximately 1,200 works of art. The art is supplied by Andrés García Ibáñez of course, but it also hosts other artists for long and short term exhibitions. The collection encompasses modern and contemporary Spanish art from Goya to today. Alongisde Olulense artist Ibañez are works by Sorolla, los Madrazo, Benlliure, Benedito, Chicharro, Mateo Inurria, Benjamín Palencia, Pinazo, Tàpies, Saura, Golucho and Antonio López among many others. Alos featured are some of the most significant Almeriense artists of the twentieth century including Ginés Parra, Perceval, Capuleto, Pedro Gilabert and Pérez Siquier.

Museo Casa Ibañez is twinned with the Museo de Melilla, located in the Torredala Vela, which opened in September 2012 and houses 100 works of art donated by Andrés García Ibáñez.

The museum is currently comprised of 16 exhibition rooms, 14 dedicated to the permanent collection of the Museum and two for the temporary exhibitions that the museum produces throughout the year.

About Andrés García Ibáñez

Andrés García Ibáñez is a young and gifted contemporary painter, born on September 24 1971 in Huercal Overa hospital to his parents – Pablo García López y María Dolores Ibáñez Ceba – both residents of Albox. They registered the birth in Olula del Rio where they would soon live for a short time before moving in with María Dolores’ parents a few months later.

Andrés’ grandfather, José Fábrega Ibanez (1905-1992) was known to be a man of many skills, working as a craftsman, woodcarver, carpenter, painter, gilder, musician and inventor. He was known in his home town of Albox as “Pepe el Pintor” (Pepe the Painter). He tutored Andrés through the first six years of his life until the family returned to Olula del Rio… instilling a love of materials and teaching him the processes and skills of a master craftsman, beginning with drawing and painting. As inspiration, he used paintings from the Prado museum, great classical masters, that were stored in the workshop. Andrés was eventually able to visit the Prado for the first time in 1987.

1984 saw 13-year-old Andrés host his first exhibition. This was held in the social centre of La Loma district in Albox. In 1985 he began painting with oils which set him up well to embrace his inspiration by Goya, el Greco, Reubens and Rembrandt from 1986 until today.

As if Andrés undoubted artistic talent wasn’t enough, he moved to Pamplona to study architecture at the University of Navarra, although he continued to paint alongside and to exhibit. He continues to study and to paint to this day, and remains a humble and welcoming face at the museum… proud of his roots, proud of Olula del Rio and proud proponent of contemporary art.

Visiting Casa Museo Casa Ibañez

The museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday.

  • October to March: 11am – 2pm and 5pm to 7pm.
  • April-May: 11am – 2pm and 6pm to 8pm.
  • June to September: 11am – 2pm and 7pm to 9pm.

Entry is free, although a €2 fee is charged for groups with a minimum of 12 people. If booking a group, please phone (in Spanish) 950 441 027 during opening hours – giving a minimum of one day’s notice.

Ibanez House Museum.

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