The Valparaíso Foundation is a private non-profit institution

Established in March 1990 by Paul and Beatrice Beckett, and registered in the Registry of Foundations of the Ministry of Culture. Its purposes, stated in the statutes, are the promotion of artistic creation and research in the field of fine arts, literature and music, purposes that it carries out fundamentally with the residence for artists, writers and researchers in the facilities. that the Foundation has in Mojácar (Almería), the provision of financial aid to any cultural activity and to individuals or legal entities dedicated to teaching and research in that field; and the call for seminars, conference cycles, exhibitions and awards in the various artistic disciplines.

The registered office of the Valparaíso Foundation is in Madrid and the Artists Residency is in Mojácar (Almería).

Paul and Beatrice Beckett

Paul and Beatrice Beckett were the founders of the current Valparaiso Foundation

Our objective is the promotion of artistic creation

Paul Beckett was born in Copenhagen (Denmark) in 1922 to a Scottish mother and a Danish father, a prosperous businessman. Paul Beckett did not show, however, any inclination or interest in business, but instead chose to study painting at the Academy of Fine Arts, first in Copenhagen and later in Stockholm. At the Academy of Fine Arts he attended the classes of the well-known and respected teachers and artists Aksel Jørgensen and Kræsten Iversen, and at the Graphic School, he studied with Hjort-Nielsen. Later, he would study at the School of Fresco Painting with Elof Riisebye.

For her part, Beatrice Beckett, despite also being of Danish descent, was born in Valparaíso (Chile) in 1929, the city where her family was residing because her father was Jakob Nielsen, chief engineer of the port of Valparaiso. After spending the first years of her life in Chile, she returned to Denmark with her family, training as an occupational therapist.

In 1952, upon his return from a study trip with the Academy of Fine Arts in Spain, Paul Beckett met Beatrice. After getting married, in 1955 the young couple made a new trip to Spain, thanks to a one-year study scholarship. They traveled through Spain from north to south and from east to west, recording their multiple experiences and discoveries in numerous letters sent by Paul Beckett, which Beatrice Beckett later collected in the book Even in paradise, the fragrance of almond blossoms persists. .

Tras su viaje a España en 1955, el matrimonio regresó a Copenhague, donde Paul Beckett impartía clases de arte y trabajaba en la Escuela de Pintura al Fresco. Pero la experiencia española había quedado prendida en sus corazones de forma demasiado tangible para poder ignorarla, por lo que en 1962, decidieron regresar a España y fijar allí definitivamente su domicilio. Durante más de un año, recorrieron de nuevo diversos lugares de la geografía española, hasta llegar a Granada y Almería, donde encontraron un paisaje, radicalmente diferente del de su país de origen, que les cautivó. Tras pasar algunas temporadas en localidades como Carboneras, Vera o Huéscar, donde Beatrice trabajó como restauradora mientras Paul dejaba constancia de los hallazgos en sus dibujos, en 1966 se asentaron finalmente en Mojácar, donde en 1972 compraron la finca en la que actualmente se encuentra la Residencia de Artistas de la Fundación Valparaíso, con una antigua almazara (molino de aceite) en ruinas en un terreno plantado con naranjos y palmeras, colindante con la peculiar y bellísima montaña de Mojácar La Vieja, que enmarca el entorno de la Residencia de la Fundación de una manera inconfundible.

The property was abandoned for nearly ten years, until Paul and Beatrice Beckett were able to undertake their dream of restoring it, with the intention of later using it as an artists’ residence. It was the Danish architect Hans O. Poulsen who, together with the Beckett couple, directed the careful restoration process of the building, respecting its original structure. And not only was the old oil mill rehabilitated, but the vast land on which it is located was also improved, which was populated with three thousand almond trees, as well as orange and lemon trees. During this process, it was discovered that the building was built on a Neolithic village with small homes and weaving, pottery, stone and bronze casting workshops. Danish and Spanish archaeologists from the universities of Almería, Granada and Tenerife participated in the excavations carried out in view of the discovery, financed entirely by the Beckett couple. A large amount of Neolithic remains were found, which were donated to the future Archaeological Museum of Almería, as well as to the Archaeological Museum of Granada.

During the period of several years during which the excavations continued, the Beckett couple developed and completed their long-standing project of creating a Foundation for the development and promotion of artistic creation and research in the field of fine arts, music and literature, which ended up being established in 1990 with the name FUNDACIÓN VALPARAÍSO, which was chosen by Paul in homage to Beatrice, born in said Chilean city, and which also evoked in some way the paradisiacal natural environment in which it was located. locate the Residence. Once the first phase of the excavations was completed, in January 1992 the first rehabilitated area of the building was inaugurated, which had four rooms, and from that moment on, artists from all over the world began to be invited.

In 1994, Paul Beckett died, and his ashes were placed in the gardens of the Foundation itself. From that moment on, her work is continued by Beatrice Beckett, who during the more than twenty-five years of the Foundation’s existence has consolidated and expanded all the projects she has created together with her husband.

A good part of the pictorial works carried out by Paul Beckett during his more than thirty years of residence in Spain are compiled in various publications in Spanish, English and Danish.