Baburizza Palace

The Valparaíso Fine Arts Museum, which is housed in the beautiful Baburizza Palace, is an institution that watches over the care, protection and diffusion of the important pictorial collection that the city of Valparaíso has been gathering since 1895, and which stands out within the four most important art collections in Chile.

Our Story


The Valparaíso Fine Arts Museum, which is housed in the beautiful Baburizza Palace, is an institution that watches over the care, protection and diffusion of the important pictorial collection that the city has been gathering since 1895, under the management of the great national expert Alfredo Valenzuela Puelma, and stands out among the four most important public art collections in Chile.

The Collection is composed by works done by great national artists, such as: Juan Francisco González, Pedro Lira, Alfredo Valenzuela Puelma and Nemesio Antúnez, to point out to some. Among these we can also highlight foreign precursors, including Thomas Jacques Somerscales, Johan Moritz Rugendas, Giovanni Mochi and Desiree Chassin Trubert.

There is also a collection of leading European artists who present the pictorial evolution of the 19th and 20th centuries. Authors such as Eugene Louis Boudin, Felix Ziem, Julio Romero de Torres, among others, swell the collection. The works of these last artists belonged to the personal heritage of paintings owned by Pascual Baburizza, a prominent businessman and philanthropist.

The Valparaíso Painting Museum, the first name with which it would be known, operated at the Victoria Theater until the 1906 earthquake. After that, the city was left without a museum. It is at the beginning of the 1940's of the last century and at the initiative of the painter Camilo Mori and the writer Augusto D’Halmar, that the museum is re-founded with the name of the Municipal Museum of Fine Arts of Valparaíso.

It includes the paintings that had survived the first museum, the donation of Pascual Baburizza and those brought together by Mori and D’Halmar. With them the main collection was structured. This operated in various places until 1971, when it moved permanently to the Baburizza Palace.

The Palace

It was built in 1916 commissioned by businessman Ottorino Zanelli. Its authors were the architects Arnaldo Barison (1887-1949) and Renato Schiavon (1883-1970), from Trieste, when that Croatian-Italian region was under the domain of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. After studying at the Industrial School of Trieste, they were trained in Vienna under the influence of the artistic movement known as La Sezession. The palace was designed following the postulates of Art Nouveau, Art Deco and Modernism. Mister Pascual Baburizza acquired it in 1925 for his residence. It has more than 2,000 square meters built on five floors or levels. It was acquired by the municipality in 1971 from Baburizza's descendants and destined to be the headquarters of the Municipal Museum of Fine Arts of Valparaíso. In 1979 it was declared a National Monument.

Ottorino Zanelli and Pascual Baburizza


The first owner of the Villa on Cerro Alegre was the Italian businessman Ottorino Zanelli, originally from Savona. Italian emigrant initially based in Tarapacá, dedicated himself to the food industry and had a partnership with his brothers. He married a second time with Margarita Morales, who was born in Valparaíso, with whom he had seven children. He commissioned the construction of the palace, and at his death his widow sold it to Baburizza.

Pascual Baburizza Soletic (1875-1941) was born in Kolocep, Dubrovnic region, when the kingdom of Yugoslavia was subject to the Austro-Hungarian Empire. He was the forth of five brothers. He arrived in Chile at age 17, devoted himself to trade in saltpeters and in the ports of Antofagasta and Iquique. He owned saltpeter offices, and then later, based in Valparaíso, he dedicated to commerce, the countryside and banking (Yugoslav Bank of Chile). Lonely man without direct descent, made many social and philanthropic donations. He was decorated by the government of Yugoslavia, but never returned to his homeland. At his death he yielded through his testament all his European painting collection to the city of Valparaíso, which had been acquired during his numerous trips to Europe.



Between 2001 and 2007, CREA, Center specialized in documentation, conservation, restoration and enhancement of heritage assets and collections of visual arts, carried out the recovery of 244 works of the museum's collection, focusing on the first stage of the analysis of oils on fabric and wood, watercolors on paper and other mixed technics.
The preliminary study showed that uncontrolled environments, previous interventions, xylophage attacks and oxidation of varnishes, had been the main causes of deterioration.

According to current technical, clinical and artistic criteria of international level and respecting the fundamental principles of scientific restoration, treatments aiming at preserving the originality of the work were carried out. Today we can appreciate the work done, in our permanent exhibition.

In the same way, the property underwent an important restoration during the years 2010 to 2012, a process led by the Valparaíso Urban Recovery Program, PRDUV, and was in charge of the outstanding architect Mario Pérez de Arce.


Publication of the work process and catalog of restored works.
Book: ““The Valparaíso Fine Arts Museum’s Collection – The Restoration””.
Edited by the CREA Center, Art Gallery of Jorge Carroza López and Compagnia Italiana di Conservazione.