Tomás Llorens, first director of the Reina Sofía Museum, dies

Tomás Llorens (Almassora, 1936), promoter of the creation of the Valencian Institute of Modern Art (IVAM), first director of the Reina Sofía Museum and curator of the Thyssen Museum; has passed away at the age of 85. With Llorens, culture loses an art reference that leaves a deep mark, not only in the Valencian territory, but also beyond our geography. Placing art in a preferential place was the line that marked the prestigious work carried out by the researcher, art critic, historian and museologist from Castellón.

His career in charge of several museums describes the profile of a pioneer. He was the first director of the IVAM between 1986 and 1988. He was also the director of the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in its initial years, between 1988 and 1990. Later, he became the Chief Curator of the Thyssen Bornemisza Museum in Madrid, a work that he concurred with university teaching in the cities of Girona and Alicante, and from which he resigned, considering that the Thyssen museum had lost “the degree of historical-artistic credibility that should be expected from its nature.”

The path that the Valencian historian leaves drawn on the art map had started even before he began his successful journey in front of large art galleries such as those mentioned. Graduated in Philosophy, he was professor of Aesthetics at the Valencia School of Architecture between 1969 and 1972, and later went on to teach Theory and History of Modern Architecture at the School of Architecture at Portsmouth Polytechnic in the United Kingdom.

It is demonstrated that his teaching work leaves the seed of artistic knowledge spread among various generations of artists. Also the public management of culture had its presence. Between 1984 and 1988 he served as general director of the Artistic Heritage of the Generalitat Valenciana. It was during this period when he endorsed what would be a controversial project, the reform of the Roman Theater in Sagunto, an initiative that ended up in the Supreme Court.

Committed to creative art

The statements that throughout his life are collected in the newspaper library define not only that independent conception of art, but also the character of an authentic committed to doing creative and ultimately to society. It should be remembered that on the occasion of the awarding of the Honoris Causa by the University of Alicante, in December 2013, he emphasized the need to “not undervalue art, an essential luxury in a critical and insecure time.”

Tomás Llorens leaves written not only the words that will remain in the newspaper archives, but also those that are extracted from the lessons resulting from studies and research that have led him to publish more than two hundred articles in magazines and exhibition catalogs on issues related to Aesthetics , the Theory of Art and the History of Art of the 20th century.

The one of the one who was one of the founders of the Valencian Institute of Modern Art is a trajectory with recognitions among which it is worth highlighting the Gold Medal for Merit in Fine Arts. Since 1998 he was an elected member of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando.

Linked to the University

As a teacher, he taught the Architectural Composition subject at the Alicante institution, but his connection with university life was constant. He was professor of Aesthetics at the Polytechnic of València (1969-72), of History and Theory of Architecture at the Polytechnic of Portsmouth (1972-84), of Aesthetics at the Polytechnic of Barcelona (1978-80) and of Art History at the University of Girona (1996-98).

His role as a researcher in the fields of theory and criticism of art and architecture began as a support for different pictorial movements (Equipo Crónica, 1960s), passing through the proposals for the IVAM collections and their critical cataloging, the reordering of the collection of the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía (MNCARS) and the creation of the collection of collections of the Museo Thyssen-Bornemizsa, as well as the assembly of various traveling art exhibitions, the writing of rationale catalogs and conferences in different museums of all the world.

As a cultural manager, Llorens stood out for his role as patron, consultant or director of different museums, as well as for managing the recovery of Spanish art or the acquisition of artistic collections of relief, including that of the sculptor Julio González or that of paintings. for the Thyssen.


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