The National Museum of Decorative Arts was established in 1937 when the national government acquired the residence and art collection of the family Errázuriz Alvear.
Both, the Errázuriz in Chile and the Alvear in Argentina, where very influential families. Josefina de Alvear and the Chilean diplomat Matías Errázuriz Ortúzar got married in Buenos Aires in 1897. They lived in Europe between 1906 and 1916 while Matías Errázuriz was in charge of a diplomatic assignment. During this time they acquired a valuable collection of European and Oriental art, most of which went into the collection of the National Museum of Decorative Arts. It was also during those years that the residence in Buenos Aires was planned and constructed.
The building, erected between 1911 and 1917, based on a design of the French architect René Sergent, is inspired by French neoclassic architecture of the18th Century. It is the only example open to the public of this kind of eclectic architecture developed in Buenos Aires at the beginning of the 20th Century. The decoration of its rooms, the furniture, as well as the European and Oriental art objects on display bear witness to the lifestyle of an influential group of the Argentine society of the time.
The greatest interest of the collection lies in its pieces of European and Oriental art, sculptures and paintings from the 16th - 20th Century, many of which belonged to the family Errázuriz Alvear. Another highlight is the collection of European miniatures from the 16th - 20th Century, the most important of its kind in America.
Besides the permanent collection, there are also temporary exhibition to be visited, organized by the museum, often in cooperation with partner institutions in other countries.
(From press information, and the museum's website.
© Translation from Spanish: Haupt & Binder)