Private contemporary art foundations

We review some of the most important private art foundations in the world.

Private contemporary art foundations



The difference between private foundations and museums or other public institutions does not only reside in the origin of their funds. The missions of both in an origin were different, but have been approaching in recent years to the point that many foundations offer nowadays exhibitions at the height of the best museums in the world. The foundations, however, continue to maintain more freedom and power to offer more heterogeneous programs and carry out other types of actions to favor the art world, such as the granting of scholarships or the organization of residences for artists.

Inhotim (Brumadinho, Brazil)

The Instituto Inhotim is a Contemporary Art Center and Botanical Garden conceived by the Minas-born entrepreneur Bernardo Paz as a nonprofit private entity. It was opened to the public in 2006 and has been strongly committed with the development of the community in which it is included since then. The Institute participates actively in the making of policies for the improvement of the quality of life in the region, either in partnerships with the public administration and with the private sector or acting independently. 

Paintings, sculptures, drawings, photographs, videos and installations by over 100 renowned Brazilian and international artists from 30 different countries make up Instituto Inhotim’s collection. From a collection of over 1.300 works, about 500 pieces are currently on display. The pieces have been produced in Brazil and abroad from the 1960s to the current days and they are located outdoors on the Inhotim Botanical Garden or exhibited in galleries created specifically to receive those works.

Private contemporary art foundations

Private contemporary art foundations

MALBA - Constantini Foundation (Buenos Aires, Argentina)

The foundation was created in 1995 with the aim of carrying out works of a cultural, educational and formative nature. It is a private non-profit institution that in 1997 decided to create MALBA (Museum of Latin American Art of Buenos Aires).

MALBA arises from three determining facts: the donation of the Costantini Collection, until then in the hands of Eduardo F. Costantini; the acquisition of a land strategically located in the museum circuit of the city, and the construction of the museum.

The museum not only hosts exhibitions of plastic arts, but also has an important film program and an area of literature, through which it meets writers, courses, seminars, literary talks and book presentations. The area of Education and Cultural Action includes programs for children, guided tours and various activities carried out together with civil society organizations, and aims to offer all sectors of the community the possibility to enjoy, study and meet some of the leading artists and art movements of the last century.

Getty Foundation (Los Angeles, California)

The Getty Foundation fulfills the philanthropic mission of the Getty Trust by supporting individuals and institutions committed to advancing the greater understanding and preservation of the visual arts in Los Angeles and throughout the world. Through strategic grant initiatives, it strengthens art history as a global discipline, promotes the interdisciplinary practice of conservation, increases access to museum and archival collections, and develops current and future leaders in the visual arts. It carries out its work in collaboration with the other Getty Programs to ensure that they individually and collectively achieve maximum effect.

Since their inception, the Foundation's signature grant programs have made art history more interdisciplinary and international; created models for the practice of conservation emphasizing the importance of planning and training; increased access to museum and archival collections, most recently in digital form; and nurtured a generation of new leaders in the visual arts. To date, the Foundation has developed, assessed, awarded, and monitored over 7,000 grants in more than 180 countries.

Private contemporary art foundations

Private contemporary art foundations

Suñol Foundation (Barcelona, Spain)

The Fundació Suñol is a private non-profit making organization which opens to the public Josep Suñol’s contemporary art collection which in total has more than 1.200 pieces, on temporary exhibitions. The coherence and quality of the works of art which make up the collection give us a broad, representative vision of artistic creation from 1915 to 2006. Since the late sixties Josep Suñol has kept up a rhythm of continuous acquisition, bringing many new artists into the collection.

At the same time, monographic exhibitions of artists linked to the collection and projects in collaboration with other institutions are also scheduled. The foundation also promotes the encouragement of the production and diffusion of avant-garde art on his multidisciplinary space, known as Nivell Zero, which provides a kind of container for small exhibitions, debates, poetry sessions, concerts, conferences and workshops.

K11 Art Foundation (Hong Kong)

Founded by Adrian Cheng in 2010, K11 Art Foundation Limited (“K11 Art Foundation” or “KAF”) is a registered not-for-profit organisation that promotes the long-term development of the contemporary art scene in Greater China by providing support for emerging Chinese artists and taking them to the international stage. Not only does KAF nurture artistic talents, but it also serves as an incubator for professional practices of promising young curators.

Another undertaking of the Foundation is to host artist-in-residence programmes at the K11 art village in Wuhan, China. Equipped with studios, exhibition spaces, and multifunctional rooms, it makes itself an ideal place for all kinds of exhibitions and activities, encouraging creative practices and connecting art to life.

Through its exhibitions, partnerships, residencies, researches, publishing projects, and educational programmes, KAF has created countless platforms for the production, presentation, and interpretation of contemporary art in Greater China and beyond, piquing public interest in contemporary art and fostering the appreciation of art and culture.

Private contemporary art foundations

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