Museo de Bellas Artes (Palacio Baburizza)
The Museo de Bellas Artes (Paseo Yugoeslavo 166, tel. 0322/252332) has been undergoing a prolonged renovation, with its collections in storage; the building itself, with remarkable details in its woodwork, wrought iron, and central turret, is a true artifact of its era. Presuming the restoration ever ends, its theoretical hours are 10 a.m.–6 p.m. daily, but the grounds are accessible even if the building is closed. Admission is free.
Designed by architects Arnaldo Barison and Renato Schiavon, this sprawling art nouveau chalet (1916) on Cerro Alegre bears the name of Croatian-born nitrate baron Pascual Baburizza, who began his career selling meat and fish in the oficinas around Iquique, and who lived here until his death in 1946; the city acquired the building, now a national monument, in 1971.
Fortunate enough to cash out of the nitrate industry before its crash, Baburizza donated more than 90 19th- and 20th-century paintings to the municipal art collections, among them historic Porteño landscapes by Thomas Somerscales and Alfredo Helsby, but there is little contemporary work on exhibit.
© Wayne Bernhardson from Moon Chile, 2nd edition