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Angel J. Gómez Montoro, president of board of trustees Museo Universidad de Navarra

A great soul

María Josefa Huarte Beaumont was born in Pamplona on May 25, 1928 and died on February 8 in the same city. Throughout her life, María Josefa concentrated her energy and abilities on two major projects: the Navarre-based association Nuevo Futuro and her splendid art collection.

Mon, 09 Feb 2015 11:50:00 +0000 Published in ABC

María Josefa never thought of a collection just for her enjoyment. On January 22nd, Their Majesties the King and Queen of Spain inaugurated the Museum of the University of Navarra. This made Maria Josefa's dream come true: that the collection that she had been building for decades with so much love and passion would be available to the public and, in particular, to the people of Navarre. Barely two weeks later, and as if she had fulfilled this goal in which she put so much effort, she could rest easy, she passed away in Pamplona, in her beloved Villa Adriana, after a long illness during which she has been the object of the constant love and care of her husband, Javier Vidal.

The third of four siblings and the only girl, Maria Josefa had a strong personality and an independent spirit from an early age. She inherited from her parents, Felix and Adriana, a deep Christian sense of concern for others. She founded the Navarre-based association Nuevo Futuro to provide care for homeless children. First in Navarra and then in countries where, as a result of violence, many children were left without families: Colombia, Croatia.... She traveled there, sometimes in risky situations, and knew how to provide a home to innocent victims who had lost everything.

He shared another great passion with his brothers: art. Through his brother Juan he got to know artists such as Oteiza, Chillida or Basterrechea. He began to buy works, especially by Spanish artists, creating a collection with a style staff, ahead of its time. She liked to go to the galleries or to the artists' programs of study and so she acquired those that struck her, almost as a result of a crush. Little by little, the walls of her house in Madrid were filled with works by Palazuelo, Oteiza, Tàpies, Picasso, Chillida, Feito, Millares, Rueda or Manrique and later by Kandinsky and Rothko. María Josefa never thought of a collection only for her own enjoyment. Her desire to share led her to choose the University of Navarra as the final destination for her collection, so that it would be the seed of a Museum open to society. She was also the one who suggested that the architect was Rafael Moneo, closely linked to the Huarte family. It comes to me report his happiness the day we signed the donation agreement . And I remember how she enjoyed the first meetings with Moneo, in which the building was outlined and the location was chosen at Campus. She got to see the model at approval and was fascinated by the spaces, which she was able to imagine as if they were already built. Then came her illness, which prevented her from enjoying the fruits of her generosity. It is easy to imagine her happiness if she had been able to see her works exhibited in the magnificent space designed by Moneo; or the photograph of Ortiz-Echagüe or, simply, to observe the thousands of people who in little more than two weeks have passed through the Museum.

At the University of Navarra we are left with the consolation of having tried to reciprocate his magnanimity by making his dreams come true. Now, that generosity will have received its reward and he will undoubtedly contemplate the Beauty that filled his life with meaning.