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MAXAM Foundation
MAXAM Collection. Spanish Painting since 1900

MAXAM Foundation - MAXAM Collection - MAXAM Collection. Spanish Painting since 1900

Panama. 2016.15.11/2017.23.04

Panama Interoceanic Canal Museum.


MAXAM Collection. Spanish Painting since 1900”  presents a selection of 59 works from a collection which started out in 1900 to illustrate the company's calendars, and which, at the rate of one work and artist per year, forms a unique collection that shows the evolution of Spanish society and painting.
  • The collection has been put together since 1899 by adding one work per year. The purpose of each artwork is to illustrate the company's calendar, the first one being in 1900.
  • The artwork is commissioned to publicly and critically renowned artists.
  • Over a hundred works which bring together some of the most important Spanish painters of the 20th and 21st centuries: Arturo Mélida, Cecilio Plá, Manuel Benedito, Julio Romero de Torres, Eduardo Arroyo, Rafael Canogar, Luis Gordillo, Isabel Quintanilla,…
  • Our exhibition presents “We Were in the Panama Canal”, a work by Manuel Alcorlo which illustrates the 2017 calendar and which shows the key role played by MAXAM in performing over 3,500 blasts in the Panamá Canal expansion project.
  • After several exhibitions in Spain since 1999, and one overseas in Kazakhstan in 2013, the MAXAM Collection now comes to Panama after visiting the United States last year.
  • At the same time, the exhibition “The Panama Canal and the MAXAM Collection” can be visited at the Casa del Soldado, where some of the most significant milestones in construction can be seen through images which have illustrated different editions of MAXAM's almanacs.
The MAXAM Collection dates back to 1899. 25 years after the Company was founded by Alfred Nobel in 1872 as a manufacturer of blasting products for mining, quarries and construction, a new activity commenced: ammunition for recreational hunting and shooting.

A broader, more popular sector which required different media in order to put over MAXAM's commercial message. At the time, the company had two registered offices, one in Bilbao and the other in Paris. Poster art was in vogue in the French capital, and possibly led to the idea of creating a MAXAM Collection. At a time when there was no Internet or social media, not even colour television or print media, a poster used as a calendar was an excellent way to promote the Company's products every day of the year.

Work commissioned to illustrate the calendar
The image to illustrate the calendar has always been achieved using the same method: commissioning a publicly and critically renowned artist to paint an artwork for the Company, to then illustrate as an almanac. A tradition which dates back to 1899 for the 1900 calendar, and which has continued every year since then.

What is the artist's remit?
Simply that the image should be figurative, that it should be suitable for poster format, and that its contents should be related in some way to MAXAM's activities. These include not only the aforementioned blasting products, services and solutions and sports ammunition, but also products and services for the defence industry and the production of key raw materials for the nitro-chemical indsutry.

The artists commissioned include some of the most representative figures of Spanish painting of the 20th and 21st centuries: Arturo Mélida, Cecilio Plá, Manuel Benedito, Julio Romero de Torres, Manolo Valdés, Rafael Canogar, Eduardo Arroyo, Isabel Quintanilla…

2017 Calendar: We Were in the Panama Canal
The 2017 almanac will leave for posterity a moment from the spectacular work involved in the Canal expansion, maritime channel used by more than 5% of world trade.

MAXAM worked on this project in different lots from 2008 onwards, designing and carrying out a total of 3500 blasts, all with utmost regard for safety and the environment, thanks to which the Canal will be able to accommodate longer, wider ships and greater cargo capacity, up from 4,500 to 12,000 containers.

MAXAM has played a key role in the upgrade work on the third set of locks, which are now 21.5 m wider and 5.3 m deeper, and have a total length of 427 m, an increase of 107 m.

Over a hundred years, more than a hundred paintings
More than one hundred years on from the original publication, over 100 almanacs and other works now form a unique collection in terms of concept, topic and style. A pioneering initiative in the field of business patronage, which was initially a way of making art available to the general public.

The calendar collections, which were originally referred to as “a gallery for those who have never been to a gallery” are now well-known among the general public thanks to the exhibitions regularly organised by MAXAM Foundation to display the different illustrations.

These creations show us not only how artistic painting has evolved over time, but also how our society, our habits and the world around us have progressed and developed, helped by the products, services and solutions offered by MAXAM.

Related news
Panama Interoceanic Canal Museum exhibits the MAXAM Collection
2016.11.15
Panama Interoceanic Canal Museum exhibits the MAXAM Collection A selection of 59 artworks from a collection which started out in 1900 to illustrate the company's calendars, and which, at the rate of one artwork and artist per year, forms a unique display that shows the evolution of Spanish society and painting.



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