The Four Season Hotel Ritz in Lisbon is a Palace right out of “Mad Men”. In the fifties, when Portugal was living under the dictatorship of Salazar, the owner has hired not only world-renowned architects and designers, but also commissioned the famous Portuguese artists to make this Hotel the most modern and contemporary of its time. We are talking Mid-Century Design at its best.
Today there are many other fine hotels in Lisbon and every year a new one opens, but I recommend going to the Four Season Hotel Ritz in Lisbon at least for lunch or a drink at the bar to visit this spectacular venue, and its art. You can even download an App on your iPad that guides you through the hotels collection with its magnificent tapestries, wall installations, sculptures and paintings. Definitely a Must-see in Lisbon!
We had a chat with Catarina Mendonça from the Ritz in Lisbon:
IRMA: What is the concept of the collection?
Catarina Mendonça: Back then, Portugal was living under a dictatorship. That said, the artists and their works somehow reveal the political and social panorama. The themes of the collection vary between representations of people quotidian (fishing vendors, boats arriving at the port, etc), landscape and mythology.
IRMA: How did the artists approach their work, did you gave them a space or could their choose and then work on a concept?
Catarina Mendonça: The place for each of the works was decided between the architect and design team responsible for the hotel.
IRMA: What is the most recent piece of art?
Catarina Mendonça: All date 1959
IRMA: Who is curating the collection?
Catarina Mendonça : The architect the hotel owner and the artists worked very close together. At that time, it was not about curating a collection, rather to build a magnificent place that represents the country.
IRMA: Are the furniture also especially made for the hotel or are they bought time after time?
Catarina Mendonça : Most of the furniture has been designed especially and or acquired when the hotel was build.
Please find a brief history about the hotel here:
The Portuguese contemporary art collection is extensive and eclectic, consisting of magnificent tapestries, sculptures, oil paintings and more. None of the artworks in the Hotel appeared by accident – from creation to curation, a careful process of selection involved a detailed collaboration with artists and property owners for the Hotel’s grand opening in 1959.
The collection includes dozens of works of art from some of Portugal’s most renowned artists, such as Almada Negreiros, Pedro Leitão, Estrela Faria and Querubim Lapa, among others, and which can be admired in the public areas of the Hotel with the help of the Hotel’s free iPad art app that boasts a number of interactive features and tools to enhance users’ experience.