Franz Mayer Collection

The Franz Mayer Museum houses a permanent collection of art integrated by objects that span six centuries of creation and innovation in the areas of art and design, starting from the Fifteenth-Century.

The collection took shape in different stages during the life of Franz Mayer, which were defined by the market situation, his trips and the historical context of the time. His first acquisition was a large group of tiles that belonged to multiple buildings, among them Casa de los Azulejos. These works marked the beginning of a multi-faceted collection of great value, where, in addition to ceramics, the collection of furniture, photography, silver and painting stand out, as well as the wide collection of watches, household goods, textiles and cartography.

The last period of his collector’s stage focused in the acquisition of colonial art, be it paintings, furniture, textiles, silver and objects belonging to the material culture of that period. At this moment, Franz Mayer announces to his art brokers that he is in search of monumental pieces, of large scale and related to the history of Mexico.

With the passing of time, the collection went through a process of refinement with the help of experts in each field, and with the specialization that Franz Mayer himself acquired through the study of different topics related to his collection, it became known for the unsurpassed quality of many of the artworks in it. The acculturation, the diversity of techniques and materials, alongside the different contexts to which they belong, make this collection an invaluable source for knowledge and study.

The importance of the Franz Mayer Collection is evident as works of remarkable value form part of singular temporary exhibitions within Mexico, as well as abroad.

Franz Mayer

Genres of the collection


The Franz Mayer Museum owns one of the most important and complete ceramic collections of the country. It is made up primordially by glazed ceramic originating from Europe and Mexico, both Colonial and Independent. Likewise, a vast variety of oriental porcelain fabricated for the occidental market is exhibited.


Franz Mayer

Genres of the collection


The furniture collection of the museum possesses some of the most exquisite pieces that can be found in Mexico. Designed with woods of excellent quality and refined traditional techniques, these furnishings allow the spectator to glimpse the tastes and lifestyle of New Spain’s society and from other latitudes, as well.


Franz Mayer

Genres of the collection


Formed mostly by liturgical pieces of unparalleled beauty, this collection displays the evolution of techniques and ornamental styles throughout four centuries. In addition to being an approximation to the liturgical practice, this collection proudly presents the art derived from one of the most iconic materials of Mexico.


Franz Mayer

Genres of the collection


The exhibition of devotional sculptures from Europe and New Spain, give testimony of the rich variety of styles, manufactures and techniques of the time. These fascinating pieces are displayed throughout the museum’s halls.


Franz Mayer

Genres of the collection

Painting and Engravings

The Franz Mayer Museum’s Gallery is formed by important paintings and engravings from renowned artists, both Mexican and European. The collection spans from the Fifteenth-Century through the Twentieth-Century, in different formats and techniques.

Ruth D. Lechuga

Ruth Deutsch Reiss, better known as Ruth D. Lechuga (1920-2004), since her arrival in Mexico as a refugee in 1939 until 2000, dedicated her life to field trips and acquisitions far and wide within the national territory, forming a rich collection of folk art.

The collection adds up to almost 13,000 objects. It contains pieces of great importance of the indigenous art and culture of Mexico. Twenty-two artisan branches can be identified, among which masks, costumes and other textiles, lacquer objects, ceramics, toys, and miniatures, and others stand out.

Her collection represents a legacy of a world of artisan creators, stories, customs and mores and, religiousness, identity and knowledge of the cultural diversity of Mexico.

Wolfgang Paalen

Between April and May of 2005, the Wolfgang and Isabel Paalen Foundation donated various works from the Austrian painter to the Franz Mayer Collection.

The collection contains oil paintings, prints, drawings, automatic drawings, fumages, watercolors and some surrealistic objects.

William Spratling

In 2012, the museum received on loan through the Ulrich family, 1,583 works made by the New York designer and silversmith William Spratling.

Among the works of this collection, we find pieces of jewelry and sculptures, alongside different decorative and utilitarian objects made from silver that are mainly inspired by the Pre-Columbian art, for they combine the use of silver with stones and other materials such as malachite, obsidian, jade, and hawksbill.

Marguerite Rostan

Marguerite Himmel Esslinger Rostan, (1907 Fra-2006 Mex) studied Haute-Couture Design in France and came to Mexico in 1929. Hired by a department store that she later classified, as a “first category store” was where she became an outstanding designer. Alongside her career in the fashion industry, she dedicated her holidays to traveling all over the country, searching, studying, and acquiring textiles and costumes, marveled by the beauty and bright colors of the Mexican traditional attires.

Her relationship with Popular Art inspired her to create and direct the Department of Handicrafts of the Palacio de Hierro department store for over 30 years. During this period, she participated in numerous exhibitions and runways that included pieces of her own collection sharing with a wide audience her appreciation for these particular popular creations.

In 2007, respecting her last wishes, The Franz Mayer Museum received her collection as a donation: 60 textiles and 39 women and men traditional attires which represent 14 different ethnicities such as Amusgos, Triquis, Chinantecos, Mazatecos, Nahuas from various entities, Zapotecos, Mixtecos, Huaves, Otomís, Mazahuas, Purépechas, Tzotzil, Tzetzal and the Mayan Peninsula. This collection represents and embodies an important contribution to the knowledge of Mexican traditional costumes.

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