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 Museu Coleccao Berardo| ©  Paolo Querci/Shutterstock
Museu Coleccao Berardo| © Paolo Querci/Shutterstock

Lisbon’s 10 Must-See Contemporary Art Galleries And Museums

Picture of Helen Armitage
Updated: 26 January 2017
Lisbon’s thriving arts scene is home to major art museums as well as smaller, independent galleries. You can see works by Portuguese greats like António Dacosta and Amadeo de Souza Cardoso alongside rising stars like Rui Pedro Jorge in these ten must-see contemporary art galleries and museums in Portugal’s capital.
Museu Coleçao Berardo © Adriano Farina
Museu Coleção Berardo

Museu Coleção Berardo was established in 2007 to provide a space for the very best of modern and contemporary art. The museum features a permanent collection and a series of regular temporary exhibitions that showcase a diverse range of contemporary artists. Museu Coleção Berardo’s extensive collection of over 900 works includes pieces by pop art-influenced Italian painter Valerio Adami, the late British painter and photographer Eileen Agar and American minimalist sculptor Carl Andre. Its recent temporary exhibitions included Portuguese artist Carla Felipe’s From Tail to Head, which was created specifically for the museum and is the culmination of research into Portugal’s railway history, and Amplitude by Brazilian artistic duo Angela Detanico and Rafael Lain. Their work references the Brazilian Modernist avant-garde genre while incorporating digital, sound and graphic elements.

Praça do Império,1449-003, Lisbon, Portugal +351 21 3612 878

Alecrim 50 Galeria de Arte

Alecrim 50 Galeria de Arte opened its doors in November 2006 in the trendy and vibrant Chiado neighborhood under the direction of owners Alexandra Serôdio Gomes and Pilar Norton do Reis. The gallery focuses on promoting artists in the early stages of their career whose artworks demonstrate creativity, talent and innovation, and showcases works from a variety of mediums including painting, photography, sculpture and installation, with six major individual or group exhibitions held each year. The gallery currently represents a number of talented Portuguese artists such as painter and illustrator André Almeida e Sousa, mixed media artist Luísa Jacinto, and ceramic sculptor Bela Silva. The gallery has curated exhibitions including Rosário Rebello de Andrade’s The Shadow of the Clouds, a series of paintings named after the seven holy virtues, and Lisbon born-and-bred Jorge Nesbitt’s series of drawings, What are Masterpieces?

50 Rua Alecrim, Lisbon, Portugal +351 21 346 5258

Centro de Arte Moderna

Set up in 1983 by the charitable organization Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, the Centro de Arte Moderna (or CAM as it is colloquially known) is devoted to showcasing its extensive collection of 20th- and 21st-century art to the public. CAM hosts various temporary exhibits annually featuring Portuguese and international artists and has a permanent collection of around 9,000 pieces, with a particular focus on early 20th-century Portuguese art. This includes early works by pioneering painter of Portugal’s surrealist movement António Dacosta and a number of work by Amadeo de Souza Cardoso, often considered the forefather of Portuguese modernism. The collection also features more recent works including a large number of paintings, drawings and objects by Paula Rego, the Portuguese visual storyteller whose art is informed by Feminism, Surrealism, and folklore.

Rua Dr Nicolau de Bettencourt, Lisbon, Portugal +351 21 782 3474

(1978) - Paula Rego (1935) | © Pedro Ribeiro Simões/Flickr

(1978) – Paula Rego (1935) | © Pedro Ribeiro Simões/Flickr

Galeria de Arte AFK

A new addition to Lisbon’s vibrant contemporary arts community, Galeria de Arte AFK was established in 2012 with the aim of promoting contemporary works by both home-grown talent and international artists. The gallery has a particular focus on photography and painting. Galeria de Arte AFK’s inaugural exhibition centered on photography by 14 different artists including the highly stylized images of Russian-born Olga Zavershinskaya, German Klaus Kampert’s photographical exploration of the human body, and French fine arts photographer Julie de Waroquier’s beautiful, ethereal imagery. The gallery has also exhibited solo projects by Portuguese photography collective DDiArte, whose work mimics classic scenes from mythology and Christian iconography with a distinct kitsch and parodic edge, and by American underwater photographer Christy Lee Rogers.

21A Rua Professor Fernando da Fonseca, Lisbon, Portugal +351 91 904 6376

São Mamede Galeria de Arte

An art gallery that focuses on the promotion of contemporary Portuguese artists, São Mamede Galeria de Arte was established towards the end of the swinging sixties in a historic Pombalino building on the edge of Lisbon’s Principe Real neighborhood. It has since opened a further branch in Porto. The gallery owns an extensive collection of works chronicling the breadth of recent Portuguese artistic talent including the starkly beautiful black and white photography of Alexandre Manuel, the surrealist paintings and sketches of the late António Areal, and the sleek, ultra-modern sculptures of Rui Matos. Despite its focus on Portuguese art, São Mamede Galeria de Arte has also exhibited a number of international artists including Japanese sculptor Shintaro Nakaoka.

167 Rua da Escola Politénica, Lisbon, Portugal +351 21 397 3255

Reportagem Evelina Oliveira - Exposição de Pintura, Galeria de Arte São Mamede | © Bruno CarreiraCruz/Flickr

Reportagem Evelina Oliveira – Exposição de Pintura, Galeria de Arte São Mamede | © Bruno CarreiraCruz/Flickr

Galeria 111

Founded in 1964 by the late Portuguese gallerist Manuel de Brito, Galeria 111 promotes contemporary international and Portuguese art. Since 2000, Galeria 111 has two exhibition spaces in Campo Grande, Lisbon. The gallery represents a number of Portuguese and international artists such as young, up-and-coming Lisbon-based painter Rui Pedro Jorge, Norwegian sculptor Lisbeth Moe Nilsen and Berlin-based Alex Flemming whose mix of paintings, installations, and prints explore personal history and the human body. In early 2014, Galeria 111 celebrated its 50th anniversary with an exhibition titled 50 Anos da Galeria 111, featuring works by Portuguese greats Ângelo de Sousa, António Charrua and Eduardo Luiz.

113 Campo Grande, Lisbon, Portugal +351 21 797 7418

Carlos Carvalho Arte Contemporãnea

Carlos Carvalho Arte Contemporãnea was originally established in 1988 as Ara Gallery, before undergoing a name change and relocation to new premises in 2005. The gallery focuses on exhibiting important contemporary artists in an effort to encourage further appreciation of and engagement in contemporary art. The gallery presents around seven exhibitions each year. It is a partner of the Arte Laguna Prize – an international art competition for artists working in painting, photography, sculpture, performance and video and digital arts – which currently represents some of Portugal’s most forward-thinking artists including photography and video artist Monica de Miranda. The gallery regularly exhibits at a number of preeminent art fairs such as ARCO Madrid and ParisPhoto.

Rua Joly Braga Santos, Lisbon, Portugal +351 21 726 1831

Mónica de Miranda, Falling (from Once upon a time series), 70 x 100 cm, 2013, Carlos Carvalho Arte Contemporãnea | Courtesy Carlos Carvalho Arte Contemporãnea

Mónica de Miranda, Falling (from Once upon a time series), 70 x 100 cm, 2013, Carlos Carvalho Arte Contemporãnea | Courtesy of Carlos Carvalho Arte Contemporãnea

Trema Arte Contemporãnea

Originally established in the early 1990s in the city’s historic Alfama district, Trema Arte Contemporãnea relocated to its current premises in the charming and picturesque neighborhood of Principe Real in 2009. Located in a beautiful old building on one of Lisbon’s trademark sloping streets, Trema Arte Contemporãnea focuses its operations on the promotion of Portuguese contemporary artists alongside exhibiting the works of modern art icons. The gallery has recently exhibited works by Portuguese painter Paula Damião, The Unruly Light, a series of haunting and captivating portraits, and the Olhâo-based artist Joana Rosa Braganca, whose fantastical and surreal works incorporate references to iconic works of children’s literature like Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are and The Wind in the Willows.

30 Rua do Jasmim, Lisbon, Portugal +351 21 813 0523

Museu Nacional de Arte Contemporãnea do Chiado

Located on the site of the old São Francisco da Cidade monastery, which dates back to the 13th century, the Museu Nacional de Arte Contemporãnea do Chiado was established over a hundred years ago and exists to showcase its extensive collection of Portuguese artworks produced from 1850 onwards. Amongst the museum’s more recent acquisitions are the distinctly Portuguese, yet pop art-inspired paintings of Sá Nogueira, Lisbon-based sculptor José Pedro Croft, and film and video artist Alexandre Estrela. The museum has also displayed exhibitions by leading contemporary Portuguese artists including Vasco Araújo’s Botanica, which used archival imagery to create sculptures commenting on 19th and 20th century colonialism.

4 Rua Serpa Pinto, Lisbon, Portugal +351 21 343 2148

Chunga I (1969) - Rolando de Sá Nogueira (1921 - 2002) | © Pedro Ribeiro Simões/Flickr

Chunga I (1969) – Rolando de Sá Nogueira (1921 – 2002) | © Pedro Ribeiro Simões/Flickr

Cristina Guerra Contemporary Art

Cristina Guerra Contemporary Art was set up in 2001 by gallery namesake and managing director Cristina Guerra. It currently represents over 20 contemporary artists from Portugal and overseas, including Bronx-born American artist Lawrence Weiner, who was at the forefront of 1960s conceptual art. Cristina Guerra Contemporary Art holds regular exhibitions that showcase the gallery’s talented artists, which has recently included German artist Tatjana Doll’s Recession II – a visual exploration of the signs and symbols of the social world’s imagery – and João Louro’s The Cold Man, including twelve canvases from the Covers series (2014) and the installation The Atomic Nature of Matter (2014). The gallery also represents its artists at various arts fairs, including Art Basel, Art Basel Miami Beach, ARCO and FIAC

33 Rua Santo António à Estrela, Lisbon, Portugal +351 21 395 9559