Top Galleries in Lisbon
Seemingly overnight Lisbon became the artists hub of Portugal. All across the city, from Belem through the Alfama and further north there are galleries and museums showcasing works from an array of genres.
While you could spend your day roaming the massive institutions such as the MAAT or MNAA, sometimes smaller galleries are a better idea when time is limited.
Time aside, the galleries of Lisbon are where you’ll find the new and up coming works from current artists. In Lisbon, go to the large museums for the classics and the galleries for the contemporary!
What’s more, supporting smaller galleries around Lisbon helps keep the flow of art in this city alive. Without them there is little to not spotlight on emerging Portuguese artists or platforms from which they can make a name for themselves.
Here are some of the top galleries in Lisbon that you simply must visit while in town.
Galeria de Arte AFK in Lisbon
Rua Professor Fernando da Fonseca 21A
In the north of the city, near the Lisbon stadium, a new gallery is the talk of the neighborhood. The AFK art gallery is relatively new on the scene having only opened its doors quite recently in 2012.
Focusing on photography and painting, the gallery aims to promote works of both local and international artists who are new on the scene themselves.
The curation of their photographic exhibitions is particularly notable. I haven’t enjoyed a series of photographs in a single space more in a very long time.
Take note that this is not a public space and you can only view the works by appointment. The gallery is open daily from 3-7pm and closes on Sundays.
If you’re heading this far north for the purpose of viewing art consider stopping by the Museu Bordalo Pinheiro just a short walk east from the AFK. The space is dedicated to the man himself and a beautiful experience for anyone interested in ceramics.
São Mamede Galeria de Arte in Lisbon
R. da Escola Politécnica 167
Lisbon’s Principe Real neighborhood has slowly transformed into one of the creative districts over the last few decades. The São Mamede gallery is a contemporary art space that was established toward the end of the 60s.
I found this gallery by accident one day while walking back from the Lisbon Botanical Gardens nearby. This area is filled with things to do and places to see; the free guided walking tours make things a bit more understandable.
The gallery seeks to make Portuguese art available to the public. From still photography to surrealist paintings and even sculpture; the gallery has done so well that they have been able to open up a second location in Porto.
Visit any day except for Sunday. Stay walking on this road if you have time for a few more galleries, there are a few more next-door and down the street.
Alecrim 50 Galeria de Arte in Lisbon
R. do Alecrim 50
The Chiano neighborhood is one of the trendier and more vibrant of the Alfama. It’s no surprise then that this would be a great place to view some galleries.
The Alecrim 50 has been open since 2006. Relatively new compared to some of the original galleries of Lisbon, owners Alexandra Serôdio Gomes and Pilar Norton do Reis curate and direct the space.
The galleries sole aim is to give unknown, emerging artists a basis from which to showcase their early works in attempt to create a name for themselves along the way. They give preference to Portuguese artists and offer lengthy representation for the artists as opposed to just a spot in a single exhibit.
They currently support all of the arts and are open to whatever the artists bring to the table. If you were to visit today you can expect a mix of paining, photography and sculpture in the space.
Galeria 111 in Lisbon
Campo Grande 113
This gallery was founded in 1964 by the well known Portuguese gallerist Manuel de Brito. Following its early success it now has two exhibition spaces in the student town of Campo Grande.
You’ll find it right by the university on the outskirts of the Mario Soares Garden.
The gallery is concerned with better known, established artists from Portugal and the rest of the world. They hold impressive exhibitions that bring these artists together into a space centered mostly around paining and sculpture.
The Campo Grande district can feel slightly out of town, considering it is almost as far north as the Lisbon airport. It is however a beautiful and very green neighborhood to roam around, especially if you’re in need of a break from the city.
Cristina Guerra Contemporary Art in Lisbon
R. Santo António à Estrela 33
As the name suggests, this gallery was founded in 2001 by Ms Cristina Guerra herself.
The gallery represents 20 individual artists at any give time. Impressively they currently have Bronx-native Lawerence Weiner on the books.
Through frequent exhibitions the gallery does well to keep these artists in business and producing works that are widely purchased by the Portuguese public. More than this, the gallery also works to take its artists to various art fairs around the world including ARCO and Art Basel Miami.
Be sure to check their opening times in advance. They change from day to day and the gallery doesn’t open on Sundays or Mondays. Dos Prazeres Cemetery is just to the west of the gallery; a beautiful spot for a walk to reflect on art.
For the traveler with a packed schedule but a love for contemporary art, the galleries of Lisbon are the perfect attractions. Contribute where you can by supporting one of the artists, or simply take time to give the works they love they deserve — all are welcome!