The Ralli Museum in Punta del Este, inaugurated in 1988, is located in the heart of Beverly Hills residential area and surrounded by its beautiful park, where nature and architecture blend to create a unique atmosphere.
Uruguayan architects Marita Casciani and Manuel Quinteiro, were responsible for the design and project of the building that was exclusively created to host a museum. The facilities occupy a surface of over 6,000 square meters and include wide exhibition halls with secluded patios of extreme beauty, where bronze and marble sculptures provide a magical space appealing to all visitors.
Director and Curator - Virginia Serrana Prunell
Accounting Department - Patricia Betancor
Cultural Outreach and Marketing - Susana Charbonnier
The Ralli Foundation is a non-profit private entity whose main objective is to promote knowledge on the work of contemporary Latin American artists outside their national borders. It was founded by Mr. Harry Recanati, a retired banker and art collector, and his wife Dr. Martine Recanati.
After selling his bank in the 80s, Harry Recanati decided to direct his efforts to a major cultural endeavour and created five museums in different parts of the world, with the financial support of his own private wealth. The Ralli Museums are strategically located and host one of the most relevant collections of Latin American works in the world. No donations or third-party subsidies are accepted and this basic principle is consistent with not engaging in commercial activities, which explains the absence of bookshops, coffee shops and restaurants. Yet visitors are welcome to use their cameras.
The total built up area of the Ralli Museums is 24,000 square meters, while the area dedicated to exhibition rooms exceeds 12,000 square meters.
The first Ralli Museum was founded in Punta del Este (Uruguay) in 1988. A second museum opened in Santiago (Chile) in 1992, a third one in Caesarea (Israel) in 1993, a fourth museum was set up in Marbella (Spain) in 2000. Additionally, a fifth classical art museum (16th to 18th Centuries) opened to the public in Caesarea, Israel, in 2007; the latter is also known as "Ralli Museum 2".
The Ralli Organization was the first of its kind to create museums in different countries, a trend followed by other prominent international museums.
DON HARRY RECANATI was born in Greece—Salonika, then capital of Macedonia-- in 1919. He was eldest son to Leon Recanati and Matilde Saporta
At the young age of 4 he started formal education in a French kindergarten and at 6 was sent to an Italian school where he was able to understand and speak four different languages.
In 1935, his father Leon decided to move the whole family to Tel Aviv for good and created the first bank belonging to the family, later known as Discount Bank.
After the premature death of his father, Harry took up the responsibility of the family business and fully devoted to the management of both the Discount Bank and Ralli Brothers. The name of the Ralli Foundation would stem from the latter.
His inclination for music—especially classical music—history and art led him to foray into collecting. Managing bank branches required extensive travelling around the world and allowed him to visit places considered remote at the time. His most frequent destination was Latin America where he lived, learnt from and experienced the South American culture and was completely attracted by local art.
So he decided to break away from his banking activities and fully devote to his lifetime passion… the world of art.
During a trip with his wife Martine and daughter Rina, he arrived in Punta del Este and was impressed by the place and started projecting what would become in 1988 the first Ralli Museum in the world, to be considered later on one of the best museums in Latin America.
His enthusiasm was undaunted until he built four new museums in countries like Chile (Santiago de Chile) in 1992, Spain (Marbella) in 2000, and Israel (Caesarea) in 1993 and in 2007.
As a man of vision, early on in the process Recanati started training a group of professionals who were committed to the mission of his Foundation so that they could carry on with his work. In his first museum, this responsibility was bestowed on Serrana Prunell, Director of the Punta del Este Ralli Museum.
Harry Recanati passed away in Israel, on December 18, 2011.