EDP Foundation Collections

Portuguese Art Collection

The EDP Foundation Portuguese Art Collection was started in 2000 with the aim of encompassing several generations of contemporary Portuguese artists, as well as assorted expressions of artistic creation such as painting, photography, video and installation. Continuously evolving with yearly acquisitions, the collection comprises approximately 2,400 works by more than 330 artists.

Chronologically, the collection was set to begin with the 1960s, a decade of revolutionary change not only in society, with the emergence of civil rights movements, the sexual revolution and counterculture protests, but also in art, with the rise of Pop Art, Minimalism and Conceptual Art, among many other movements. This was also the time when the Portuguese Electricity Company, the precursor of EDP (Energias de Portugal), was created.
Starting in the sixties with works by artists such as Jorge Pinheiro, Ângelo de Sousa and Lourdes de Castro, and continuing to the following decades with Jorge Martins, Alberto Carneiro, Helena Almeida, Eduardo Gageiro and Luísa Correia Pereira, but also João Louro, Joana Vasconcelos, Leonor Antunes, Rui Toscano, among many others, the collection maps Portuguese art up to the present day by including contemporary artists such as André Romão, Mariana Silva or Horácio Frutuoso.

With the acquisition of the Pedro Cabrita Reis Collection in 2015 consisting of 388 works by 74 artists, the EDP Foundation holds one of the most significant collections of contemporary Portuguese art from the turn of the 20th century.

From the autumn of 2020, the EDP Foundation Portuguese Art Collection is regularly presented within the spaces of Central through a series of invited curatorial projects by diverse experts, researchers and thinkers that are intended to engage with this reservoir of knowledge from multiple intellectual vantage points. Through alternative conceptual and scholarly interpretations, the programme aims to bring forward new readings to enlighten historical, social and technological narratives that go beyond those of the collection itself.
 

Energy Heritage Collection

The EDP Foundation Energy Heritage Collection was started in 1998. It gathers around 3,500 pieces linked to the history of electricity in Portugal, some of them dating back to the 19th century. These include items of domestic, personal and industrial use, including machinery and equipment — measuring devices and meters, household appliances, illumination and lab equipment — as well as a vast collection of documents.

The 1870 dynamo electric machine and the 1901 Booster generator are the oldest pieces in the collection. The Landis & Gyr coin counter, together with the more than 400 counters in the collection, contribute to the study of technical and technological developments in electricity metering equipment. The Francis, Kaplan and Pelton turbines illustrate the three main types of hydraulic turbines. The Magneto filament lamp of the 1920s relates to the development of the technology used to light Portuguese streets and homes. The AEG refrigerator, the General Electric fan, the Luxor radio and the RCA portable television, among other electrical devices, are examples of the introduction of home appliances in Portuguese homes from the 1920s.

The EDP Foundation has the most important national archive on the history of electricity in Portugal, a collection comprising more than 180,000 documents from the end of the 19th century to the present day. These include posters, leaflets and magazines advertising the coming and use of electricity and gas throughout the 20th century; drawings of electrical machines and buildings linked to the production and distribution of electricity; and scientific and technical books and journals related to electrotechnical engineering, industry and economics. A rich collection of photographic materials document moments, places, people and their occupations in 20th-century Portugal.

From the autumn of 2020, the EDP Foundation Energy Heritage Collection is regularly presented within the spaces of Central with a series of invited curatorial projects by diverse experts, researchers and thinkers intended to engage with this reservoir of knowledge from multiple intellectual vantage points. These are connected to a series of special installations commissioned from creative practitioners in various fields that make use of innovative research methods to investigate the synergies between nature and technology, the fields of energy production and light.