In the Municipal Museum of Modern Art, you will find modern art from Latin America. The museum started with the donation of the most important paintings of Luis Crespo Ordóñez, an artist from Cuenca. It also has drawings, paintings, engravings, screen printings, lithographies, etchings, intaglios, sculptures, photographs, etc., from other artists. The museum organizes cultural events in its auditorium.
In the late 19th century, Cuenca experienced an economic boom due to exports of wool weavings and sombreros de paja toquilla (the so-called Panama hats). This resulted in an upswing in alcohol consumption. In 1876, to cure the growing number of alcoholics, a local bishop built the current museum building as a shelter and treatment center for alcoholics. At that time, its location formed the western boundary of the city. The building was designed by Juan Bautista Stiehle, who also designed the New Cathedral and several other buildings in Cuenca. It consisted of large rooms serving as collective dormitories and small cells for isolating extreme cases. In 1886 the shelter was closed after a vast number of inmates managed to escape.
From 1924 until 1939, the building served as a facility for the local Prison for Men. Due to neglect by the prison authorities, the building fell into serious disrepair. After this, the Social Welfare Board used the building as a shelter for the homeless and then as a shelter for the elderly. After being passed over to several other hands, the building became home to orphans and abandoned children. Due to a lack of space, various cells were joined together, and the building's chapel was turned into a games room.
To prevent further degradation of the monument, the famous Cuenca painter Luis Crespo Ordóñez proposed and supported the creation of a museum of modern art. In 1978 the Central Bank of Ecuador and the Cuenca City Council gave financial support to the restoration of the building and the creation of the museum. The museum was opened in 1981.
|Calle Coronel Guillermo Tálbot and Calle Mariscal Sucre, Cuenca, Ecuador|