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Library and archive

conservación y restauración


Special timetable until further notice: Monday to Friday 9 am to 2 pm.

Entrance by appointment only with limited capacity.

Before visiting, contact the library by email or by phoning 944 39 61 42.


The library today is an essential stop for anyone researching subjects in art. Created in 1985, the library, which specializes in Basque art, has compiled a major collection of more than 35,800 essays and some 311 periodical publications and journals. It possesses single-subject essays, exhibition and auction catalogues, museum collection catalogues, handbooks and reflections on museology, art theory, artistic techniques, conservation and restoration, works of art history and movements in art, architecture, sculpture, the decorative arts, drawing, design, painting, the graphic arts, photography and film, and the Museum's own publications.


  • Reading and consultation room
  • Bibliographical information and user orientation
  • Reproduction of documents
  • Acquisitions request
  • Inter-library loans
  • Publication exchange
  • Accessibility

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Basque Art Database is a Museum project associated with our general mission to promote research and the furtherance of artistic endeavour in our area. A benchmark resource for specialists and researchers in Basque art, ARTEDER has amassed a significant corpus of information on the leading figures in Basque art, and work continues to improve and enlarge the collection.

Access to Arteder


The Bilbao Fine Arts Museum Archive was created in response to the need to gather, conserve, classify and divulge the contents of the documents generated by Museum's many different Departments over its hundred-year-old existence.

Thus, it satisfies the requirements of current laws of the Basque Autonomous Community, such as Basque Cultural Heritage Law 7/1990 and Decree 232/2000 by dint of which Archive Services and other regulatory norms concerning Basque Documentary Heritage are approved and regulated. Preliminary studies are currently being carried out prior to implementing an integral documentary handling system.

The Collections mainly comprise minutes of the Boards, annual reports, registries of works of art, annual inventories, general correspondence and a large and varied collection of photographs, the majority of which depict the Fine Arts Museum building. Those Collections related to the activities of the Modern Art Museum are rather more limited. A large percentage of these documents is currently in the process of being digitalised and computerised.

In addition to the documentation generated purely by the Museum itself, the Archive also conserves documents of historical and artistic interest from different private donations or acquired by the Museum itself with particular attention being given to documents concerning Basque artists. In this particular field, the following stand out: the Gutiérrez de Zubiaurre Collection that has gathered correspondence between the brothers Valentín and Ramón and sister Pilar de Zubiaurre and work undertaken by Bilbao art critic, Ricardo Gutiérrez Abascal during his exile as Professor of the National School for Architecture at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, but who is perhaps better known under his pseudonym of Juan de la Encina. Another outstanding donation of documents is that related to the painter, Balerdi that includes correspondence, photographs, slides, etc., the majority of which deal with exhibitions of the artist's work. In the field of acquisitions, the Uranga Collection includes some quite extraordinary collected letters covering correspondence with artists such as Ignacio Zuloaga, Francisco Durrio, Darío de Regoyos and Manuel Losada, amongst others.

Collections are at the complete disposal of researchers who previously confirm the reasons for their consultations.

Tel. 94 439 61 42

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