Visitors to the Serralves Villa step back to the 1930s and are treated to interesting insights into the history of the house that once belonged to Count Carlos Alberto Cabral. Along with the magnificent Art Deco architecture. Art lovers flock to the museum that occupies the grounds for the exhibits of contemporary art from famous and emerging young artists. The grounds include eighteen acres of magnificent gardens along with a restaurant, leisure facilities and a forest. The gardens also date back to the early 20th century and were designed by the architect Jacques Greber.
The villa and surrounding grounds were originally designed to be a private home as commissioned by the 2nd Count of Vizela, Carlos Alberto Cabral (1895−1968). It replaces his former summer house further from the centre of Porto. Construction took place between 1925 and 1944 under the guidance of architect Charles Siclis (1889−1944). However, it was José Marques da Silva (1869−1947, who built São Bento railway station, carried out the work.
Despite the efforts of design and construction Cabral and his wife Blanche Daubin spent only a few years living there before selling the estate to Delfim Ferreira (1888−1960) in 1955. Delfim Ferreira's descendants sold the property to the state and nine years later it was classified as a Building of Public Interest. It assumed its permanent role as a museum in 1999 dedicated to the works of contemporary architect Álvaro Siza Vieira. Siza was also responsible for restoration work carried out in 2004 and opened up exhibition space for more artists.
The house spans three floors, the basement which was once dedicated to the kitchens, service areas are where you can find the library, public conveniences and auditorium. The living rooms and dining rooms on the ground floor make up most of the museum space and on the second floor, there's a gallery and restaurant accessed from the large entrance hall. The large open spaces of the rooms are an epitome of the Art Deco style, the most notable example in Portugal.
The French furniture designer and interior decorator Émile-Jacques Ruhlman designed the dining room overlooking the garden, hall, salon, cloakroom and billiard room. Whilst Alfred Porteneuve, who worked in the same atelier, provided Serralves with its distinctive pink colouring. An ornate cast-iron screen designed by Edgar Brandt separates the original public spaces of Serralves Villa from the private quarters. René Lalique designed the large skylight of the main hall’s ceiling, on the first floor. The abundance of natural light makes it ideal for its adopted use. Albeit the fixings very little of the original furniture survives within the house and is dispersed in collections around the world, the furniture in the dining room are the genuine articles. After restoration items from the same period were added to replenish the furnishings.
As Porto's second most visited museum the Serralves Museum receives around a million patrons a year visit the various spaces of the Foundation. The museum's aim is to bring to Porto a world-class representation of Portuguese and international contemporary art. The in-house library has a large selection of various artists whilst the rooms serve as galleries for temporary exhibitions. There are no permanent exhibitions, but the museum hosts five exhibits from invited artists each year. The main focus is art starting from the latter part of the 20th century and covers all conceivable mediums. For up-dated exhibition information visit: Here
April - September: Monday - Friday: 10h00 - 19h00, Weekends: 10h00 - 20h00
October - March: Monday - Friday: 10h00 - 18h00, Weekends: 10h00 - 19h00
Combined Ticket: €20.00, Villa Only: €12.00, Museum Only: €12.00, Park Only: €12.00,
Concessionaery: 50% Discount, Concessionaery: 20% Discount
The thing which makes Serralves extra special are the 18 hectares of magnificent gardens. Starting at the striking façade of the museum and villa it stretches over 500 metres towards the river Douro. At the far end, there are steps that lead down to a Romantic lake set on a lower level. It was designed between 1932 and 1940 by Jacques Gréber (1882-1962) a French architect and landscape gardener who acquired recognition designing French-style gardens in the USA and Canada. Amongst the treasures found in the park are a rose garden, the Relógio de Sol (Sundial) garden, a camellia garden, exotic plants and trees and a farm. Art installations by artists from all over the world can be seen within the gardens.