The museum is a non-profit institution founded in 1947 by Assis Chateaubriand and Pietro Maria Bardi. MASP distinguished itself for many important initiatives concerning museology and art education in Brazil, as well as for its pioneering role as a cultural center. It was also the first Brazilian museum interested in post-World War II art.
The present building of the museum was constructed by the São Paulo City Hall and inaugurated in 1968, in the presence of Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom. It is famous for its remarkable brutalist structure and it is considered one of the landmarks of Brazilian modern architecture.
In the construction of approximately 10,000 square meters, there are – besides the permanent and temporary exhibition rooms – a library, photo gallery, film gallery, video gallery, two auditoriums, a restaurant, a store, workshop rooms, administrative offices, and a technical reserved area.
In the museographic area, Lina Bo Bardi also innovated by using tempered crystal sheets leaned on concrete block bases as a display supports for the paintings. The intention is to imitate the position of the canvas on the painter's easel. In the reverse of these supports, which are not used anymore, there were planks with information about the painter and the work. Paradoxically, the museum abandoned this model of an exhibition at the same time when, at the end of the 1990s, it starts to be noticed and implemented by foreign institutions.
The São Paulo Museum of Art collection is considered the largest and more comprehensive collection of Western art in Latin America. Among the 8,000 works of the museum, the collection of European paintings, sculptures, drawings, engravings, and decorative arts stands out. The French and Italian schools are more broadly represented, forming the main body of the collection, followed by Spanish, Portuguese, Flemish, Dutch, English, and German masters. It also houses an emphatic assemblage of Brazilian art, prints, and drawings, as well as smaller collections of African and Asian art, antiquities, decorative arts, and others, amounting to more than 8,000 pieces. MASP also has one of the largest art libraries in the country. The entire collection was placed on the Brazilian National Heritage list by Brazil's Institute of History and Art.
According to Wikipedia