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A brush with art in Palma de Mallorca

Many artists have been inspired by Mallorca’s spectacular scenery and clarity of light, and travellers to the largest of the Spanish Balearic Islands will find art in abundance here – from dramatic sculptures on road roundabouts, to a local artist’s paintings for sale on the walls of a village café. For serious collectors or art enthusiasts, Palma de Mallorca is the place to be: the island’s cosmopolitan waterfront capital is said to have more art galleries per capita than any other Spanish city. It’s also the home of three annual art events of international interest. This year’s Art Palma Brunch is on 6th April 2013. Last year 17 galleries and museums participated, inaugurating exhibitions and offering a brunch, accompanied by Mallorcan wines, prepared by some of the island’s top chefs. Photographic art takes centre stage in around 20 of the city’s galleries and art museums for PalmaPhoto (27th June 2013). Steve McCurry and the award-winning Mallorcan Nando Esteva are among previous exhibitors. Nit de l’Art (Night of Art) is Mallorca’s most important art event, and is on 19th September 2013. It’s a night when galleries, art museums and artist studios stay open until midnight, inaugurating exhibitions where visitors can also meet the artists. Around 15,000 people take part in this atmospheric night – viewing paintings, sculptures, installation and performance art. Increasingly, serious art collectors are coming from places like Britain, Germany and Russia, for private viewings before the event opens to the public. If you’re visiting at other times, exploring Palma de Mallorca’s many art locations is easily done on foot. There are too many to mention here, but the following are centrally located and shouldn’t be missed: Es Baluard Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art Opened in 2004, Es Baluard is a superb museum built into part of Palma’s old city defences and is home to temporary art exhibitions and a permanent collection of works by the likes of Picasso, Miquel Barceló, Santiago Rusiñol, and Joan Miró. Casal Solleric Casal Solleric is an 18th Century palacio, opened in 1985 by Palma town council as one of the principal venues for art events in the city. It’s centrally located in the Paseo del Borne, and is home to both temporary and permanent exhibitions. Torrents Lladó Museum Tucked away in Palma’s fascinating old town is this intimate museum that was once the home and studio of 20th Century artist Joaquin Torrents Lladó. As you wander through the many rooms you can almost feel the late artist’s presence. Many visitors never discover this gem, which also has a good art bookshop. La Caja Blanca ‘The white box’ is the meaning of the Spanish name of this independent gallery, owned by siblings Eva and Amir Shakouri. The dynamic pair – who are also consultants to art collectors, museums and galleries around the world – specialise in producing projects by emerging artists. Past exhibitors include Katie Paterson, whose work has been seen at London’s Haunch of Venison and the Guggenheim, and the Guatemalan performance artist Regina José Galindo. Where to stay Hotel Can Cera is a convenient location for a stay in Palma de Mallorca: this 5-star boutique hotel in Palma’s old town is a sympathetically restored 17th century palacio, with 12 rooms/suites. It has a traditional cobbled and gated courtyard where you can enjoy tapas, a meal, or drinks, and a cosy spa which can be booked for exclusive use. Sixteen-room sister property Boutique Hotel Calatrava (5-star) opens nearby in April 2013, with views of the bay of Palma. Around a 20-minute drive from Palma is the 5-star Gran Hotel Son Net, which offers something of particular interest to art lovers: works by Hockney, Warhol, Chagall and others – from the hotel owner’s private art collection – can be seen in this boutique property, named ‘Most Excellent Hotel in Europe and the Mediterranean’ in the Condé Nast Johansens 2013 Awards for Excellence. It’s part of a substantial 17th Century estate and perched on a hilltop overlooking the village of Puigpunyent. At the foot of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Tramuntana mountain range, the views from its 31 bedrooms and suites could bring out the artist in anyone.

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