Built at the end of the 18th century, at the entrance to Arrecife's harbour, San José Castle was tastefully converted by Cesar Manrique in 1974 to house the International Museum of Contemporary Art. As a permanent home for paintings by Mirò, Millares, Mompó, Oscar Dominguez, Gerardo Rueda, Eusebio Semperez, Agustin Càrdena and Manrique himself the gallery was immediately established among the most prestigious in the Canary Islands.
Besides adapting the walls of the ground floor and stairwell to hang paintings, Manrique also tastefully designed a restaurant with panoramic views out to sea on the lower ground floor. He further converted a large hall which is used for classical concerts and conferences.
During an official visit to Lanzarote, Queen Sofia of Spain told Manrique that the International Museum of Contemporary Art was one of the most beautiful art galleries she had ever seen.