The relics of Barça that remain in the shadows

BarcelonaIt’s raining and tourists flock to the Barça Museum. The beach will be left for another time. It is a working day in the second half of August and the accumulation of people makes it seem impossible to imagine that, not long ago, the coronavirus pandemic left empty what is the jewel in the crown of the Barça club on the days there is a party This Wednesday 9,500 people visited the museum cull, a figure that is quite close to the pre-pandemic, when thanks to this asset alone the entity received 42 million euros per year (six of which came from the photographs that are bought at the site). Tourists account for 85% of the museum’s visitors and only one in four is a Barça supporter, according to the club. The rest are either football fans in general or are interested in visiting an emblematic point of the city.

During their stay they can see the organization’s trophies and the Golden Balls of its stars, make a tour around the Camp Nou, live a virtual reality experience with the new Barça Virtual Dream and enjoy four works of art that are part of the fund owned by Barça, made up of dozens of pieces by great artists. The four works exhibited on the first floor of the Museum are the official posters made to commemorate the 25th, 50th, 75th and 100th anniversaries of Barça, the work of Josep Segrelles, Sebastián Rey Padilla, Joan Miró and Antoni Tàpies, respectively. “For the 125th anniversary (it will be in 2024) we will commission another painting from an artist with links to Barça”, Jordi Penas, the Museum’s director, explains to ARA.

But not all of Barça’s charms shine. This is the case, for example, of the commemorative lithography of the 75th anniversary of the entity made by Salvador Dalí and the prize-winning works at the Art Biennales that the club organized in 1985, 1987 and 1999. Nor can see the pieces by Pablo Picasso, Antoni Clavé or Josep Maria Subirachs that are in this extensive collection of Barça art. Yes, they were exhibited until the last major remodeling of the Barça Museum, which took place in 2010 to give importance to the audiovisual section and new technologies. Where did they end up? “Most of these works are kept in various warehouses in the Camp Nou and in external warehouses. And there are also some in the club’s offices”, informs Penas. But he adds that, in the new museum that will be built with Espai Barça and that will be buried in the tribune esplanade, “some of these works will be exhibited and others may appear in the traveling exhibitions that will be held”.

The works of this art fund are not the only Blaugrana wonders that rest in the shade. The club also has in its warehouses many of the organization’s museum pieces, such as the coaches’ bench at the les Corts stadium, a Barcelona flag from 1911, the bronze bust of César Rodríguez and the shirt of the player Pepe Rodríguez from 1910, the oldest that the club keeps. In total, between the exhibited and non-exhibited material, Barça has catalogued, both physically and digitally, more than 3,000 articles (and there are even more because some collections are counted as a single article) than Joan Anton Maragall, president of Barcelona’s Sala Parés, was in charge of appraising. But the club prefers not to reveal the total figure of its value.

Johan Cruyff’s NFT

“The Barça Museum must be culture, entertainment and leisure. Therefore, in the new museum all this must be combined, being leaders in new technologies”, considers Penas. In fact, the temporary museum that will be there for two years from next summer on the ice rink while the Espai Barça works are being carried out will have an immersive experience that will seek to make up for the fact that visitors then will not be able to tour of Camp Nou. “They will live a 360-degree experience that will virtually transport them to the stadium’s turf”, explains Penas. On the other hand, ARA has learned that the Barcelona club is working on the creation of a virtual museum that can be visited from anywhere in the world.

Meanwhile, Barça is working on the acquisition of new pieces of value. One of the intentions is to exhibit the NFT of Johan Cruyff that in July was sold for 678,000 euros at a Sotheby’s auction in New York. The club has already spoken to the owner and he has given the go-ahead. In addition, Barça is about to solve two important gaps that its museum has had until now: Ronaldinho’s Ballon d’Or in 2005 and Rivaldo’s in 1999. The Barcelona club has already agreed with the two former players to solve the matter the next time they visit Camp Nou. The one that is already on display is Leo Messi’s seventh Ballon d’Or, despite the fact that it was given to him as a player for Paris Saint-Germain. Barça asked the family to make a replica.


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