The Chillida-Leku Museum has requested a temporary labor force adjustment plan and has agreed to close the museum starting on January 1, 2011. This decision is attributed to the recurring deficit that, along with practically all art museums, the museum has had to endure due to the general economic crisis which has risen to a level unsustainable for the private institution
“One day I dreamt of a utopia: finding a space where my sculptures could rest and where people could walk among them as if walking through the woods”
Chillida-Leku is the culmination of one of the artist's lifelong dreams: to create a space for his work where it could be on permanent display. This monographic museum is a faithful representation of the sculptor's fifty year long artistic career. Chillida-Leku is the perfect setting to enjoy the full magnitude of this internationally-known artist. The museum is divided into three areas: A 12-hectare hillside (nearly 30 acres) with beech trees, oaks and magnolias studded with over 40 sculptures. A service area featuring an auditorium, with images of the artist at work projected continuously, a rest area, and a gift shop. And finally, the centrepiece of the museum is the Zabalaga farmhouse, which houses the smaller format pieces in corten steel, alabaster, granite, terracotta, plaster, wood and paper.
Chillida-Leku is a sculpture in itself - another work of art in which the sculptor perfectly captures and renders his vision of shape, space and the passing of time. Chillida’s questions become answers as visitors make their way through the museum grounds.
Eduardo Chillida and his wife, Pilar Belzunce, visit the Zabalaga estate for the first time in 1983 and are immediately impressed by the size and presence of the farmhouse built in 1543. In 1984 the Chillida Belzunce family purchase a piece of the estate which includes the farmhouse, essentially in ruins. Chillida finds the farmhouse ideal for storing his sculptures while they are in the final oxidation stage. When the sculptures are ready, the idea is to send them to exhibitions and galleries around the world. With support from architect Joaquín Montero, Chillida goes about restoring the farmhouse and slowly turning Chillida-Leku into a sculpture garden. All the while, Chillida loses interest in selling off his work. Thus, the idea of creating a museum takes shape. The family continuee to purchase adjacent pieces of property, until the estate comprises a total of 12 hectares (neary 30 acres).
Since the project was funded exclusively by family assets, Chillida has free rein to work as he envisaged the project.
Visitors are invited to touch all of the sculptures in the garden; however, we ask you not to touch the artwork on display inside the farmhouse.