The Alfredo Gutierrez Valenzuela Museum, located in a colonial home on the corner of Plaza 25 de Mayo
in Sucre, houses many pieces of great value collected by Mr. Gutierrez Valenzuela and other long-established families of the Sucre
area. It contains works of art, statues and figurines of porcelain, alabaster and other luxurious materials, antique furniture, chandeliers, crystal, mirrors, vases, and many other priceless works of art. The museum was founded on 6 June 1992 and was officially inaugurated on 6 June 1994.
One of the most interesting pieces is a large altar that used to belong to the prince and princess of the Castillo de La Glorieta, an eclectic castle located just a few minutes from downtown. The altar, which stands at about 8 feet tall, shines golden, but is actually made of copper.
The museum is named after a diplomat from Chuquisaca who throughout his lifetime, collected beautiful works of art belonging to his and other families in Sucre. Over the years his collection grew to be quite impressive. The museum demonstrates what the traditional homes of the upper class would have looked like near the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th century, as well as the refined tastes of its inhabitants. There are some pieces from the Louis the 14th, Louis the 15th, Louis the 16th, Napoleonic, and other periods, demonstrating the opulence with which elite families of the period lived.
The collection is considered one of the largest in Sucre and includes beautiful pieces worthy of palaces, castles and European museums. For example, you'll see a tear drop chandelier that once belonged to former president of Bolivia Aniceto Arce Ruiz; an onyx table encrusted with precious stones; an alabaster sculpture of "the woman with the veil"; an elaborate mantle clock created by Leroy, Louis the 16th's preferred goldsmith; the imposing mirrors of the French Duke Louis Philipe d'Orleans, marble and bronze statues; and some of the finest porcelain from Europe by Sevres, Limoges, Rossenthal, Meissen, Saxe, and others.
When Dr. Alfredo Gutierrez Valenzuela died, his descendents decided to donate a major part of his collection to the San Francisco Xavier University of Chuquisaca.
The home itself is built in a delicate modernized French colonial style. The university purchased the home from the Linale family in order to establish the museum here. It first opened its doors on June 28, 1992 and is one of the most representative of the Republican era museums of Sucre.
The museum also has numerous pieces that once belonged to La Glorieta. The castle's owners died childless and their more distant relatives eventually sold most of what they inherited from the castle, which today, is one of Bolivia's main tourist attractions. One of the most impressive pieces is the neo-Gothic style altar, mentioned above, that once occupied their private chapel.
The home the museum occupies, formerly belonged to the grandmother of our friends Fernando Linale and Mónica Ballivián Linale, who today own and run the Hostería El Recreo, a beautiful bed and breakfast located on the property adjoining La Glorieta. Pay them a visit and they'll tell you much more about the history of this home that is now a museum, plus amusing anecdotes about life in the home when it was "grandma's house".
The Gutierrez Valenzuela Museum is open Monday to Friday from 8:00 - 12:00 and from 2:00 - 6:00. Admission is Bs. 8.