Five years after the death of the prominent Mexican historian and art collector Guillermo Tovar de Teresa, his dream of sharing his collection with the public was finally realized. The house museum was opened in December 2018, and a treasure trove of historic Mexican art was discovered inside.
In his lifetime, Tovar de Teresa amassed an unusual collection of over 1,000 pieces that can now be visited for free. The first jewel of the visit is his house itself, built in 1910 in the heart of Mexico City’s dignified Roma neighborhood, where the collector lived for most of his life. Born in 1956, Tovar de Teresa was a precocious child who by the age of 13 was serving as an art adviser to the president, and later in life became the official chronicler of Mexico City.
Among the most unusual pieces in the collection are two 19th-century portraits of dead children pretending that they are alive; a cabinet made of ivory, mother-of-pearl, and tortoiseshell; and a collection of coco chocolateros—glasses carved in cocoa beans for drinking chocolate—including one that belonged to Emperor Maximilian. Another gem of the house is the collection of lithographs by Thomas Egerton, a British artist who spent the latter part of his life in Mexico painting landscapes of the country. He was murdered for being a spy during the North American intervention, and it was said that his landscapes were sold to enemy armies so they could study the Mexican terrain.
The visit to the house concludes in the verdantly planted Victorian gardens that open up to the ground floor.
Know Before You Go
The historic house and collection are the newest branch of the Soumaya Museum, after being acquired by the Carlos Slim Foundation in 2018. The house museum is open daily from 10:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.