Helga de Alvear Gallery
Helga de Alvear was born in the city of Kirn/Nahe (Rheinland-Pfalz), Germany, in 1936. She studied at the Salem School near Lake Constance, and subsequently in Lausanne and Geneva, Switzerland, and went on to continue her studies in London for another year. In 1957 she travelled to Spain in order to learn Spanish and met architect Jaime de Alvear. They married in 1959 and set up residence in Madrid. They have three children, Maria, Ana and Patricia.
In 1967 Helga de Alvear met Juana Mordó and began what would later become her art collection. She came into contact with artists from the Cuenca and El Paso groups becoming increasingly interested in the Spanish art scene. In January 1980 she started to work at the Juana Mordó gallery where she deepened her knowledge of gallery management and was able to broaden her understanding of the international art scene, particularly due to attending art fairs such as Art Basel, the FIAC in Paris and the Cologne Fair. Furthermore, in 1982, she was an integral part in the establishment of the ARCO art fair in Madrid; a step taken by several Spanish galleries towards the modernization of the Spanish artistic landscape. Helga de Alvear’s involvement at the Juana Mordó gallery became essential leading her to take over the gallery after Juana passed away in 1984. Over the course of the next 10 years she would follow in the artistic and professional footsteps of her mentor.
In 1995, after managing the Juana Mordó gallery for over a decade, Helga de Alvear decided to take a turn in her career by opening a new gallery under her own name in a 900 square meter space next to the Reina Sofía Museum. This project championed international contemporary art with a special emphasis on photography, video and installation – at a time when these mediums were practically unknown in Spain.
Today, Galería Helga de Alvear is one of the best-established and longest-running art galleries within the Spanish scene and has earned widespread international acclaim. Among other accolades Helga de Alvear has been awarded the Medal of Extremadura in 2007; the Gold Medal for Merit in the category of Fine Arts, bestowed by the Spanish Ministry of Culture, in 2008; the Medal of Cáceres in 2011; and the Bundervendientskreuz am Banden in 2014.
While carrying out her professional duties Helga de Alvear has been able to give free rein to her grand passion: collecting art. Currently, the Helga de Alvear Collection includes more than 2,500 pieces by Spanish and international artists.
Actualmente la de Helga de Alvear es una de las galerías más solidas y de mayor trayectoria del panorama español con un innegable reconocimiento internacional. Entre otros, Helga de Alvear ha recibido la Medalla de Extremadura en 2007, la Medalla de Oro al Mérito en las Bellas Artes concedida por el Ministerio de Cultura en 2008, la Medalla de Cáceres en 2011, el Premio de la Fundación Arte y Mecenazgo en la categoría Coleccionista en 2012, la Cruz de la Órden del Mérito Civil (Bundesverdienstkreuz am Bande) concedida por la República Federal de Alemania en 2014 en reconocimiento a las relaciones culturales establecidas entre España y Alemania, y la Medalla de Oro de Madrid en 2015.
Al tiempo que se desarrolla su actividad profesional Helga de Alvear ha dado rienda suelta a su gran pasión: el coleccionismo de arte. En la actualidad la colección cuenta con más de 2.500 piezas de artistas, tanto nacionales como internacionales.