Museu da Tapeçaria de Portalegre Guy Fino

Alto Alentejo

If there’s one thing you must visit in Portalegre, it’s this splendid museum. Opened in 2001, it contains brilliant contemporary creations from Portalegre’s unique tapestry factory. It’s named after the factory founder, who created an innovatory ‘stitch’ by hand weaving. The museum shows a selection of the 7000 colours of thread used.

French tapestry artist Jean Lurçat at first dismissed the technique, until the factory made a copy of one of his works – a cockerel – and asked him to identify the one made at Aubusson, in France. He chose the more perfect Portalegre copy – you can see them juxtaposed here. The huge tapestries are vastly expensive, and the museum includes works by some of the most famous names in Portuguese 20th-century art, including Almada Negreiros and Vieira da Silva. They are all hand-signed on the back by the artist, attesting their quality and authenticity.

Real aficionados can visit the factory where the tapestries are made (its walls are also adorned with fabulous examples). Photography is prohibited and advance reservations are required.

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