C. Salvador Novo 88, Santa Catarina, Coyoacán, 04010 Ciudad de México, CDMX
55 5554 1801
“You no longer heard
The jingle bells or drums
The great lake is no longer there;
But here in Coyoacán
Are the painting made with the blooming water
Here they are held…here they will be!”
“Cantares del Museo”
Alfredo Guati Rojo
Mexico has had its fair share of passionate artists who have practiced and promoted their art against many obstacles, sometimes it may be the government or political opponents, or members of the press. But very few have been as ardent in their passion as Alfredo Guati Rojo. He studied arts at the prestigious San Carlos Academy (the first major art academy in the Americas, established in 1781) but developed a special bond with watercolor painting, or “acuarela” in Spanish. He and his wife, Berta Pietrasanta, amassed a collection of over 300 watercolors and eventually founded the Museo Nacional de la Acuarela in Colonia Roma with no help from the government even after they asked, they founded a society that raised money for the museum presenting shows and exhibits for two years.
The museum was unfortunately destroyed during the 1985 Mexico City earthquake and the couple was devastated. The city government was able to provide them with a new location, the house where it’s currently housed in Coyoacán, but advised them that they would not be able to help any further. Guati and his wife kept the museum going through his work and donations, and it’s nowadays the first museum of its kind in the world, an art institution completely dedicated to preserving and promoting watercolor paintings. Its permanent collection displays work from the pre-Columbine era in Mesoamerica up to the present day. The whole collection consists of seven rooms arranged in chronological order, displaying both Mexican and international works of watercolor art. The museum is completely free and is in the southern part of the city, a few blocks away from both “Miguel Ángel de Quevedo” and “Viveros de Coyoacán” Metro stations.
These seven rooms are located inside the main house and right behind it is the Berta Pietrasanta Temporary Hall, which as the name implies, holds temporary exhibits of watercolor paintings by Mexican and international artists. The Museo de la Acuarela also hosts and sponsors art classes, literary events, and talent contests, all with the objective of promoting watercolor painting, an art form which held a special case in Guati Rojo’s heart, even at a time when other museums or artists didn’t consider it a serious form of painting, as opposed to oil painting, for example. Guati Rojo and his wife Berta, through the Museo de la Acuarela, have eventually prevailed.