Tomás Llorens (Almassora, 1936), who directed the Reina Sofía Museum and was chief curator of the Thyssen and promoted the creation of the Valencian Institute of Modern Art (IVAM), has died at the age of 85. With the death of Llorens, Spain loses a benchmark for art that leaves a deep mark. Llorens defended the need to “not undervalue art” and place it in a preferential place guided by the prestigious work carried out by the Castellón-born researcher, art critic, historian, and museologist.
The news of the death was announced this Thursday by the president of the Generalitat Valenciana, Ximo Puig, who, during the control session in Les Corts, sent his condolences to the family and lamented the loss of a “great intellectual and a great Valencian ». These words have raised the applause of the entire chamber.
His career in charge of several museums describes the profile of a pioneer. He was the first director of the IVAM between 1986 and 1988, but also premiered the direction of the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in its initial years, between 1988 and 1990. Later, he became the chief curator of the Thyssen Bornemisza Museum in Madrid, This work was combined with university teaching in the cities of Gerona and Alicante, and from which he resigned, considering that the Thyssen museum had lost “the degree of historical-artistic credibility that should be expected from its nature.”
The path that the Valencian historian leaves drawn on the art map had started even before he began his successful journey in front of large art galleries such as those mentioned. Graduated in Philosophy, he was a professor of Aesthetics at the Valencia School of Architecture between 1969 and 1972 and later went on to teach Theory and History of Modern Architecture at the School of Architecture at Portsmouth Polytechnic in the United Kingdom.
In this way, it is demonstrated that his teaching work leaves the seed of artistic knowledge spread among various generations of artists.
Also, the public management of culture had its presence. Between 1984 and 1988 he served as general director of the Artistic Heritage of the Generalitat Valenciana. It was during this period that he endorsed what would turn out to be a controversial project, the reform of the Roman Theater in Sagunto, an initiative that ended up in the Supreme Court.
The most common opinion coincides in pointing out that the great contribution made to the city of Valencia is the IVAM, a proposal that, according to Tomás Llorens himself, was born with a “very clear idea from the beginning.”
His was a great gamble, typical of someone deeply knowledgeable about what he was up to. The IVAM, he said, saw the light with a “Valencian perspective, but with an international projection.”