FOUNDATION - HISTORY
Fundació Vila Casas history
The Fundació Vila Casas
was established in 1986 by its current President Antoni Vila Casas
to promote socio-sanitary research. In 1998 the foundation began to become involved in art and architectural heritage, which over the years have taken gained more dominance. Today the Fundació Vila Casas has 3 contemporary art museums and 2 spacious galleries for temporary exhibitions as well as continuing with its health research project.
Antoni Vila Casas
Antoni Vila Casas was born in Barcelona on November 27, 1930, into a Catalan bourgeois family connected to the textile industry. Despite this he studied Pharmacy and made his career in the pharmaceutical industry, a sector that in Spain in the 1960’s was in its infancy. Antoni Vila Casas progressed in the field and became involved in the setting up of a pharmaceutical company called Prodesfarma that later, in 1997, was to merge with Almirall, another Catalan pharmaceutical firm. From then on he dedicated himself full-time to his foundation, bringing together two sides of his personality: art and health.
is a member of the Reial Acadèmia Catalana de Belles Arts de Sant Jordi, the Reial Acadèmia de Farmàcia de Catalunya and ex-member of the Consell Social de la Universitat de Barcelona. He was awarded the Gran Creu de l’ordre del Mèrit Civil in 1996, the Creu de Sant Jordi in 1999, the Premi Montblanc al Mecenatge in 2004 and the Premi Consell Nacional de la Cultura i les Arts (CONCA) al patrimoni cultural in 2009.
Antoni Vila Casas’s growing interest in collecting contemporary Catalan art
, impelled by his desire to contribute to the enrichment of the culture and preserve the traditions of his country, first became evident in 1998 with the refurbishing of the Modernista building known as Casa Felip in the Barcelona district of Eixample, the first floor being headquarters to the Fundació Vila Casas. In the same year, in the village of Pals in the Empordà region of Catalonia Ca La Tona, a small sculpture museum which now no longer exists, was opened. These were the first artistic and architectural projects undertaken by the Fundació Vila Casas.
In 2000 Museu Art 2000 was opened to the public. It was located in the Palau Solterra, a small 15th century palace in the Empordà town of Torroella de Montgrí. To begin with much of the painting collection was exhibited there. Now it is known as the Palau Solterra Museum of Contemporary Photography
and currently houses the Fundació Vila Casas collection of national and international photography. Two years later, in 2002, Espai Volart, the foundation’s first gallery for the public in Barcelona was opened, for holding temporary exhibitions.
As the collection grew more exhibition space was needed, so in 2004 Can Mario, a disused cork factory in Palafrugell (Empordà), was converted into a museum for showing painting, sculpture and photography, taking over from Ca la Tona, the small museum in Pals. Today it is known as the Can Mario Museum of Contemporary Sculpture.
At the end of 2008 a second gallery for temporary exhibitions – Espai Volart 2 (adjacent to the Espai Volart) and a year later, in 2009, the Can Framis Museum of Contemporary Painting
, a converted textile mill in the Poble Nou 22@ district of Barcelona were opened.