Grau House Museum

It had been the home and workplace of Maestro GRAU from 1987 until his death in 2004. After 3 years of complete abandonment, his Foundation recovered it and managed its restoration with the support of the Ministry of Culture.

In 2008 it was inaugurated as a museum house and cultural centre, from where the task is undertaken to maintain the Maestro’s memory and work alive and spread it among admirers and new generations; The house/museum is a place where entrepreneurs can also develop training activities, hold business, professional and personal meetings and activities.

In addition to all of those, it is also a cultural centre that hosts lectures, small film festivals, painting exhibitions and certification of the master’s work etc.

Maestro Enrique GRAU

The Maestro, although from Cartagena, was in fact born in 1920 in Panama, this was by the choice of their parents, as they sought better medical and hospital care there. His childhood and adolescence were spent in Cartagena, his maternal grandmother, Concha, helped a lot in the development and formation of his culture.

Grau was born an artist, he was a scenographer, screenwriter and film director but above all, he was basically a painter. He is considered among the 5 greatest painters of the contemporary Colombian era, along with Obregon, Botero, Ramirez Villamizar and Negret, he is the only one that has a House Museum at present. He went to New York in the 1940s, was granted a scholarship by the Presidency of the Republic and lived there off and on for quite a long time. He had an apartment in Greenwich Village and the Aberbach Gallery bought all his works while he was living in that city. He also lived in Italy where he studied muralism and other techniques. Grau travelled the world, was a great intellectual and an immense lover of life.

At the end of 2004 he was confined to bed and sadly he died on April 1 of that year. He left to his Foundation, his house and his collections, both of his works, as well as that of third parties, along with his books and other collections.


art facing the sea

Enrique Grau

“Cartagena de Indias breathes like an enormous fish, like a mural made of rocks in front of the ocean, like a yellow-eyed bird or an almond-eyed great-tailed grackle, with a smile that reveals the playful soul of an ancient city that reinvents itself, from the illuminated shadow of its own memory. Enrique Grau (1920 – 2004), maker of forms and volumes, with colors and portraits that forever capture the soul of the city. There is not a single one of his paintings, a sculpture or ensemble, that does not remind us of a corner of Cartagena de Indias. Grau painted and sculpted, dreamed and lived, with vocation of eternity. He took the city with himself, like a snail of unusual rainbows.

He interpreted it with its duels and carnivals, its secrets and submerged miracles, and perpetuated each of its events, riddles, masquerades, in the wooden faces of its women and the iridescent wings of its great-tailed grackle, guardian birds of its waters and the clouds. There is also no place in Cartagena de Indias that does not evoke its artist. Within the walled heart, you will find the footprints of the artist sculpted in Pedro Claver’s pupil, on the dome of the Adolfo Mejia Theatre (former Heredia Theatre), in its nine muses of the arts and sciences, and the hands that always offer a bouquet, adorned with Caribbean flowers, facing the immense light, water and stone canvas that depicts the city, reflected on the stage curtain.

His soul also resonates in the old warehouse of the colonial port, at the Cartagena Museum of Modern Art, thirty years of tangible existence and more than three hundred works. Shortly before leaving in 2004, his dream was to found a great cultural center that would house all his esthetic miracles.

Everything in his work is gestures, expression, movement, feeling, an ability to decipher the void and the gaze that appears. Beauty of the tangible and the intangible, like malice, thirst and lust, the sophistication, the elegance and the dance sequence of the “El Vals” sculpture, the disturbing mystery of “La Adivina”, that seems to realize love’s destiny in a card. Grau is everywhere, and now this suite that bears his name, with a discreet balcony that looks out into infinity, and the flapping of wings of a giant grackle, which keeps some of its images and deepest memories, in the same enchanted cloister of the Poor Clares, transformed into a five-star hotel and where in 2000 it was embroiled in light, forging a retrospective in that same ancient stage, beautiful and timeless.

The suite chosen for Grau at the Sofitel Legend Santa Clara is a tribute to one of Cartagena de Indias’ and Colombia’s greatest artists. Its environment, forged with the delicateness of its soul under the rigorous care of the Grau Foundation, takes us back to the balm of its intimate greatness and its insatiable capacity to invent a reality that always competes with that of every day. Its artistic work is a living wonder that transcends in time. In a blink, the colors of its flowers wake up, and its grackles flap their wings again, and the symphony of its waves resonates incessantly.