Guatemala City is home to the National Museum of Modern Art Carlos Mérida (Museo Nacional de Arte Moderno) which is situated in the museum complex of Zona 13. The trust of the museum was already founded in 1934, but it was not until 1975 that the actual Museum of Modern Art Carlos Mérida was opened at its actual location. The museum is situated in building number 6 of the Finca ‘La Aurora’, which was constructed under the reign of president Jorge Ubico (1930 – 1944). In 1999 the museum was baptised after Carlos Merida, when the Merida family donated art materials of the Guatemalan painter to the museum and the ‘Sala Merida’ was inaugurated.
The museum of modern art is dedicated to national Guatemalan art and artists. It shows the origin of the Guatemalan art over different decades in the 20th century. The exhibition is organised in a chronological order, referring to different political and social periods. Explanatory texts help you to understand the changing artistic expressions during different eras and how the political, social and historical situations influenced the painting styles and the themes of the paintings.
In total, the museum exhibits over 130 artistic works by Guatemalan artists. Among them are paintings of the indigenous artist Luis Rolando Ixquiac Xicara, who combines abstracts and naive art in his landscape paintings. You can also find works of the surrealist and cubist artist Max Saravia Gual and of the two mural artists Dagoberto Vásquez Castañeda and Juan Antonio Franco, painters of the Generation of the 1940ies.
The central space is dedicated to the Guatemalan artist Carlos Mérida, to whom the museum dedicated its name. This part of the museum is especially devoted to him and his life as an artist. You will enter a circular room with the wall full of his drawings. In this room, you will also get to look at his drawing and painting utensils and learn about his artistic work in the capital. Carlos Mérida was an important artist for Guatemala and especially for Guatemala City, even though he lived in Mexico most time of his life. He is an important ambassador of the Muralismo movement (mural paintings). In Guatemala he is famous for painting the facade of the Social Security building, of the Bank of Guatemala and of the town hall, all of them located in Guatemala City.