The northern Spanish city of Pamplona is not typically associated with art, however since the opening of the Museo Universidad de Navarra in 2015, things are slowly changing. Today, besides the museum, you’ll find a handful of small art galleries, as well as a few bigger museums and art centres in the surrounding towns.
Museo Universidad de Navarra
The Museo Universidad de Navarra is the best place in the city of Pamplona to see world class artworks. Split into two sections – art and photography, it features pieces by celebrated artists such as Pablo Picasso, Vasili Kandinsky, Mark Rothko, Eduardo Chillida, Jorge Oteiza and Antoni Tàpies. The photography section showcases 14,000 photographs from the 19th century to the current day, and includes works by contemporary photographers such as Joan Fontcuberta, Lynne Cohen and Roland Fisher.
Located right in the heart of the city, Canvas is an eclectic art gallery, showcasing constantly evolving styles and a mix of local talent. The artworks here are all for sale, meaning that visitors can return with a unique one-off souvenir from Pamplona. Canvas also holds regular exhibitions of works by up and coming artists from around Navarra and the Basque Country.
After a number of years located on Plaza Conde Rodezno with the name Galería de Arte Conde Rodezno, Galeria Michel Menenendez now has a new location in the Casco Viejo (Old Town) along with its new name. Like Canvas, the artworks are all for sale and they also host regular exhibitions by local artists. Works have been showcased here by Albert Sesma, Carlos Cigando and Bernardo.
An art gallery with a bit of a difference, Agurcho Iruretagoyena specialises in jewellery, as well as fine art and antiques. Run by antiquarian, gemologist and expert in vintage jewellery, Argurcho Iruretagoyena, the gallery opened back in 1988 and combines contemporary design with antiques and collectibles. The jewellery on sale ranges from elegant 18th century pieces to styles such as Art Deco and Chevalier, while the furniture and art also comprises pieces from the 18th century and Art Deco, as well as designs from the 40s and 5os, including many of French and Italian origin.
Situated in the small town of Huarte, just 4.5km outside of Pamplona, the Centro de Arte Contemporáneo de Huarte is one of the most important art centres in the region of Navarra. Having opened in 2007 in order to promote contemporary art, today it showcases and nurtures local emerging talent in the form of exhibitions, theatrical performances, residences, workshops and activities. The centre also offers activities centred around other art forms from graffiti to plastic arts, new technologies, and film.
Jorge Oteiza was a sculptor, and one of the most important and influential Basque artists of the 20th century. Born in Orio, a small coastal town west of San Sebastian in 1908, the artist spent a long period in South America before returning to Spain. His foundation museum, located in the small town of Alzuza, 9km from Pamplona, features 1,690 sculptures, 800 drawings, 2,000 chalk laboratory studies and 5,000 books from his personal collection.