Fundación Focus
El Hospital de los Venerables

El Hospital de los Venerables

Detail of the courtyard

Anabel Morillo León. General Director of the Focus Foundation

Anabel Morillo León. General Director of the Focus Foundation

Anabel Morillo León joined the Fundación Fondo de Cultura de Sevilla (Focus) in 1982 when it was created by Abengoa, after completing her degree in History of Art from the University of Seville, prior to being appointed as Assistant Director in 1996. In 2001 she became Director General of the Foundation and since 1991 has worked at the headquarters of the Focus Foundation in the 17th century Hospital de los Venerables de Sevilla. She has worked alongside Javier Benjumea Puigcerver, founder of Abengoa and its Foundation, and Professor Alfonso E. Pérez Sánchez, honorary director of the Museo del Prado, both of them mentors and professors. Her main responsibility is to manage and preserve the Foundation’s artistic heritage and the dissemination of its knowledge, while also working to increase its heritage assets.

Among her responsibilities we can find the custody of the Hospital de los Venerables, building of a Cultural Interest (BIC), property of the Archbishopric of Sevilleand temporarily transferred to the Foundation. She deals with continuous actions and processes of documentation, preventive conservation, dissemination, inventory, cataloging, public accessibility, and maintenance of goods and interventions.

It is worth highlighting her role in the acquisition of Velázquez’s Santa Runa in 2007, which formed the basis for creating the Diego Velázquez Research Centre and its permanent collection (Inmaculada Concepción by Velázquez, Vista de Sevilla dated 1660, Santa Catalina de Alejandría and San Pedro penitente de los Venerables by Murillo, the latest rescue of the Foundation, among others) for which she is also responsible. The study and dissemination of the work of this universally renowned artist in his early period and during his formative years in his home city is the common thread running through the collection and the activities that it promotes through seminas, courses or symposiums.

Anabel Morillo is chairman of the jury of the Focus International Painting Prize, as well as of the International Baroque Art Prize in honour of Alfonso E. Pérez Sánchez.

It is interesting to note that thanks to her close links with Alfonso E. Pérez Sánchez, in 2011 his heirs donated his library, photo library, personal archive and art collection to the Focus Foundation. In line with its mission of promoting knowledge and disseminating culture, the Foundation has launched an ambitious project to make this important artistic and documentary collection available to those involved in studying and researching the history of art by implementing a multiyear plan to conserve, provide access, catalogue and include this collection in specialist networks. She has also launched the Baroque Library, which includes the Foundation’s own historic library and its collection of prints referred to Seville, defining clear guidelines in its growth policy to ensure its continued specialisation. In addition to all of this, she is dedicated to transforming the historical artistic monument of the Hospital de los Venerables de Sevilla and its artistic heritage into a leading international centre for the Baroque culture.

Following this line, he has designed the Baroque Schools of the Focus Foundation in collaboration with the Menéndez Pelayo International University, from 2004 to 2014. Courses of unequivocal international projection, as reflected in each selection, in the careful selection of the teachers and their directors, selected from the most prestigious universities, institutes, museums and research centers at a Spanish and international level.

As Assistant Director and then as Director General of the Foundation, Anabel Morillo León has managed and produced an intensive program of exhibitions, including the major retrospectives: Three Centuries of Sevillian Drawing (1995-1996); Spanish Painting Recovered by Private Collections (1996-1997), which was subsequently hosted by the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando de Madrid; and From Herrera to Velázquez. The First Naturalism in Seville (2005-2006) organised in collaboration with the Bilbao Museum of Fine Arts. These were in addition to exhibitions that helped to acquaint the general public with the personalities of major artists such as El Greco, Known and Rediscovered (1998), which went on to be shown at the Fundación Central Hispano de Madrid and the Asturias Museum of Fine Arts, and Luca Giordano. National Heritage Masterpieces (2002)She has also promoted exhibitions designed to showcase the Foundation’s own works and collections, such as See Seville. Five Views through 100 Prints (2002) or Focus Collection. Painting and Graphic Works (2005), or that reinforce its identity such as The Recovery of Classical Antiquity in Andalusia (2008-2009)in addition to other international exhibitions. The latter include The Manila Galleon (2000), which also went on display at the Franz Mayer Museum in Mexico City, or Murillo and Justino de Neve. The Art of Friendship (2012-2013), co-produced with the Museo del Prado and the Dulwich Picture Gallery in London, or the exhibition on Islamic art entitled Nur: Light in the Art and Science of the Islamic World (2013-2014), which travelled to the Dallas Museum of Art in Texas (USA) and became a historical milestone for the Foundation by exhibiting, for the very first time, one of its own projects in the United States.

Velázquez. Murillo. Sevilla exhibition was her last exhibition project (November 8, 2017- April 2, 2017), which is organized to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the permanency of Foundation at the Hospital de los Venerables de Sevilla and first cultural initiative of the commemorative events on the occasion of the IV centenary of the birth of Murillo. With Gabriele Finaldi, Director of the National Gallery in London, as Scientific Director, the exhibition was also in special collaboration with the Museo del Prado, together with other museums and international collections and it consolidated as the most visited exhibition of the Foundation.  

However, her work has not been limited to the art of the Golden Age, as she has also ensured the ongoing growth and conservation of the Foundation's contemporary art collection, which features numerous works by internationally renowned and prestigious artists such as Antonio López, Gustavo Torner, Carmen Laffon, Chillida and Barceló, among others.

She also managed the Campus Focus-Abengoa in Sanlúcar la Mayor, Seville, (next to Abengoa’s solar platform), which applied, from 2000 until its extinction in 2016, an educational approach to the task of raising awareness about rural landscapes in which archaeological heritage and new technologies converge.

Lastly, she has been the patron of the Menéndez Pelayo International University (2008 - 2014) and also a member of the Advisory Committee at the Bilbao Museum of Fine Arts (2015-2018). She is and participates annually in the Juries of the Rey Jaime I Awards and, between 2015 and 2016 she formed part of the culture work group for the preparation of the strategic plan of the University of Seville 2018-2025. She is also patron of the San Rafael charitable Foundation of Seville and, since 2018, a member of the Social Council of the University of Seville and of Royal Board of Trustees of the Museo Nacional del Prado.

January 2019.

Educational and cultural activities