The broad program of free initiatives aims to "promote awareness of the life and work of the artist, attracting new audiences, and revitalizing the Jardim das Amoreiras, as a leisure space and as a cultural and artistic center, in partnership with other institutions", according to the foundation.
Created in the life of Maria Helena Vieira da Silva, one of the most important Portuguese painters, and instituted by decree-law on May 10, 1990, the Arpad Szenes-Vieira da Silva Foundation has as its mission to guarantee the existence of a space, in Portugal, where the public can permanently contact the work of the two painters.
When France suffered the Nazi occupation, in World War II, Vieira da Silva and Arpad, who lived in Paris, tried to return to Portugal, but the president of the Government of the dictatorship, António Oliveira Salazar, retired Portuguese nationality to the painter and her husband, a Hungarian citizen of Jewish descent.
Vieira da Silva and Arpad then left for Brazil, where they were exiled between 1940 and 1947, remaining stateless until 1956, the year in which they were granted French nationality.
The Arpad Szenes – Vieira da Silva Museum was inaugurated on November 3, 1994, in a building in Praça das Amoreiras, provided by the Lisbon Municipal Council, and regularly exhibits exhibitions with the work of the couple or artists with whom they had some kind of bond of friendship.
The Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation funded the remodeling works and the Luso-American Development Foundation supported the project in the area of research.
The museum's collection covers a vast period of painting and drawing of the couple: from 1911 to 1985, to Arpad Szenes (1897-1985), and from 1926 to 1986, to Maria Helena Vieira da Silva (1908-1992).
It was also the wish of Vieira da Silva to bequeath a research area open to the public, with the creation of the Documentation and Research Center which, in addition to developing research internally, has welcomed Portuguese and foreign researchers.
In Rua João Penha, Alto de São Francisco, near the Amoreiras square and the museum, the former painter's atelier is also open to the public, with its own program of exhibitions and conferences, reception of activities proposed by the community and residences for artists and researchers.