The Eva Klabin Foundation owns one of the most important classical art collections in Brazilian museums, with over 1,000 items catalogued, drawn from four Continents – Europe, Asia, Africa and America and covering a time-frame stretching back almost fifty centuries. This Collection is on permanent display at its headquarters, featuring paintings, sculptures, furniture, oriental carpets, silverware and decorative objets d’art.
Gathering these items together was the lifetime dream of this collector, who devoted her time to this task from her girlhood through to the 1980s. The works were acquired from private individuals, antique shops or auction houses in Brazil and abroad, in cities such as Rome, Paris London, Zurich, Vienna, Madrid, Barcelona, New York, Buenos Aires and Hong Kong. During her many trips, Eva Klabin always set aside time to seek out new treasures that would form the core of a new section in the Collection, or expand some of its existing segments.
These items were bought little by little, as opportunities to acquire them opened up for this collector. After World War II, she placed greater stress on Italian items in general, including furniture, paintings, sculptures and the decorative arts. The English paintings collection began in 1952 in London and continued through to 1959, while the Dutch paintings collection was started in 1954 and continued through to 1962. During the 1960s and 1970s, Eva Klabin spent even more time seeking art items that would complete the Collection, bringing together the sets of items related to Ancient Times, the East and the decorative arts. Narrating the history of art from Ancient Egypt through to Impressionism, this Collection reaches the XX century, although with only a few examples from its first fifty years.
The scope and variety of this permanent collection gathered together by Eva Klabin offers many different classification possibilities. Here objets from different periods and cultures in a wide variety of materials and functions live together harmoniously, shaped by the taste of this collector. The fact that these works are housed in a museum that is also a home, with no rigid criteria for arranging them by collections, prompted us to present this Collection in sections based on the place of origin of the items, with a separate section for the Applied Arts – which are quite significant in this Collection – regardless of their place of origin.
The permanent collection is divided into the: Egyptian Collection, Greco-Roman Collection, Italian Collection, French Collection, English Collection, Flemish and Dutch Collection, Oriental Collection, Pre-Colombian Collection and the Applied Arts Collection, which includes furniture, silverware, carpets, decorative objets d’art, fabrics and clothing.