The National Museum of Print is dedicated to the history, preservation and promotion of Mexican and International printmaking and photography. The word “estampa” means “engraving” or “print” refers to works which have the quality of being reproducible and include seals, woodcuts, serigraphy (screenprinting) lithography and others. The museum was created in 1986 and located in a 19th century Neoclassical building located in the Plaza de Santa Veracruz in the historic center of the city. This building was remodeled both to house the museum and to conserve its original look.
The building houses both a permanent and multiple temporary exhibits. The permanent collection includes pre-Hispanic clay seals used for printing designs on fabrics, ceramics and other surfaces, printed material from the colonial period and more recent creations. More recent works are divided into periods such as the “age of the San Carlos Academy” (18th -19th century) and the “resurgence of the graphics arts” which covered the decades from the 1920s to the 1960s. The best-known works here are those of José Guadalupe Posada, the creator of “La Catrina” and numerous satirical comics. It also includes video programs on graphic techniques such as wood cuts, etchings and more.
Much of the museum’s space is dedicated to exhibits such as the 2003 exhibit of works from the Centro de Formación y Producción Gráfica del Antiguo Colegio Jesuita located in Pátzcuaro, Michoacán. This show had works from fifty artists including Francisco Castro Leñero, Mario Rangel Faz, Roberto Turnbull and Mónica Sotos. These exhibits are part of the museum’s mission to preserve and promote the printed arts in Mexico. Exhibits include works by both national and international artists from diverse periods from the 16th to the 21st century. The museum hosted ten exhibitions in 2009 and registered 34,578 visitors. These expositions included the collection of Alejandro Alvarado and an exposition called “Tauromaquia, Mano a Mano” (Bullfighting, hand to hand). The latter exhibition featured works from Francisco de Goya y Lucientes, Salvador Dalí, one work by Pablo Picasso and filmmaker Jean Cocteau.
The museum also supports activities related to research, but most of the space is designed to accommodate the highest number of visitors possible.
One of the main concerns of National Museum of Print or Museo National de la Estampa (MUNAE) has been adapting to its new role as a museum, and the museum context with society. The MUNAE seeks an open dialogue with artists, scholars, critics, theorists, collectors, but primarily with the visiting public. For this reason, its exhibitions meet this criteria, combining displays of works from its collection, along with the presentation of the most diverse collections of prints in Mexico and abroad (where works have been exhibited since the seventeenth century to new technologies).
As part of this dialogue with society, the museum has begun to conduct a continuing program of panel discussions, lectures and workshops soon.
The museum is defined according to ICOM (International Council of Museums) as a permanent institution, nonprofit and service of society and its development, which is accessible to the public and collects, conserves, researches, communicates and exhibits the tangible and intangible heritage of peoples and their environment to be studied and educate and delight the public.
The National Collection of Prints works in collaboration with Museo Nacional de Arte, which holds Mexico’s largest collection of prints now numbered at around 12,000 works, and is a representative sample of the national artistic heritage, demonstrating the great tradition of the Mexican print, with artists such as Jose Guadalupe Posada, José Clemente Orozco, Leopoldo Mendez, Julio Ruelas, David Alfaro Siqueiros and Rufino Tamayo among those represented.
The collections also has acquired prints by many great artists on the international scene such Jacques Villon, Mario Benedetti, Richard Serra, Barbara Kruger, Hans Richter, Josef Albers, Ilya Kabakov, Antoni Tapies, Pierre Buraglio, Peter Klassen, Klaus Rinke, and Antonio Saura, to name a few.
In 1527, the parish of Santa Veracruz came to be. During the sixteenth century, health issues and the consequent epidemics in Mexico City, together with the overpopulation, led officials to close aqueducts and cemeteries, including those that were in the vicinity of the Santa Veracruz.
As such the spaces eventually became as attractive land for the construction of two buildings. Starting in 1923 the then Directorate of Historical Monuments (now National Institute of Fine Arts) designated the parish of Santa Veracruz and the Church of San Juan de Dios as places of national heritage. In 1967, the then regent Alfonso Corona del Rosal Capitalino, designed the renovation of the Plaza de la Santa Veracruz and the old garden of Morelos.
The property remained in private hands until, in 1983, because of the clear abandonment of the area, the Federal Government through the Ministry of Human Settlements and Public Works (Ministry of Social Development), acquired the building with the intent of installing a building to represent the Government of the State of Colima. The restoration of the building the was handed over to architect Javier Villalobos. It was proposed to convert the building into a museum to house the collection of national art prints, and thus the site became the headquarters of the National Print Museum by Presidential Decree, for which the National Institute of Fine Arts purchased the buildings located at numbers 35 and 39 of the Avenida Hidalgo and opened the doors of the National Print Museum on December 17, 1986.
The MUNAE since its inception, has taken to address the study and reflection on the processes of the print, understanding them as a key part of the artistic and cultural development of society as a whole.
The National Museum of Print, Museo National de la Estampa (MUNAE), is part of the Instituto Nacional de Bella Artes.
The main aims of the Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes (INBA) are the diffusion and promotion of the Arts (Museums, Opera, Music, Dance, and Literature), the artistic education and research, as well as the safeguarding and conservation of the movable and immovable artistic heritage. As such they encompass the Institute of Scenic Arts, the National Company of Dance, National Symphony Orchestra, Bella Artes Orchestra of Camara, National Opera Company, National Theater Company, National Museum of Art, Palace of Fine Arts Museum, National Museum of San Carlos, Museum and Studio of Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo, Museum of Modern Art, Tamayo Museum of Contemporary Art, and others.
The National Print Museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., and is closed on December 25 and January 1, as well as on some National Holidays. Check with the museum to inquire as to specific hours and closings.
National Museum of Print, Museo National de la Estampa (NUMAE)
Av. Hidalgo 39
Plaza de la Santa Veracruz
Col. Centro Historico, Cuauhtemoc
Mexico D.F., 11560
Phone: 5521-2244 or 5510-4905