The Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum (Spainish: Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza), is an art museum in Madrid, Spain, located near the Prado Museum at one of city’s main boulevards. The Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum offers visitors an overview of art from the 13th century to the late 20th century. In the nearly one thousand works on display, visitors can contemplate the major periods and pictorial schools of western art such as the Renaissance, Mannerism, the Baroque, Rococo, Romanticism and the art of the 19th and 20th centuries up to Pop Art. The museum also features works from some movements not represented in state-owned collections, such as Impressionism, Fauvism, German Expressionism and the experimental avant-garde movements of the early 20th century. In addition, it boasts an important collection of 19th-century American painting not found in any other European museum institutions.
With over 1,600 paintings, it was once the second largest private collection in the world after the British Royal Collection. A competition was held to house the core of the collection in 1987-88 after Baron Thyssen, having tried to enlarge his Museum in Villa Favorit’, searched for a location in Europe. It is known as part of the “Golden Triangle of Art”, which also includes the Prado and the Reina Sofia national galleries. The Thyssen-Bornemisza fills the historical gaps in its counterparts’ collections: in the Prado’s case this includes Italian primitives and works from the English, Dutch and German schools, while in the case of the Reina Sofia it concerns Impressionists, Expressionists, and European and American paintings from the 20th century.
Aside from its panoramic perspective, the collection housed in the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum also offers us a glimpse of the tastes and preferences of the two persons principally responsible for its existence, Baron Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza (1875-1947) and Baron Hans Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza (1921-2002). Well versed in the Central European artistic tradition, both men showed a particular predilection for portraits and landscapes. This is evident in the works of the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, in contrast with the predominance of religious and historical paintings found in other Spanish museums. In 2004, the Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection was brought to the Museum, adding over two hundred works that round out the representation of styles and genres already present in the Permanent Collection.
The headquarters of the museum is the Palace of Villahermosa, in the corner of the Paseo del Prado with the race of San Jerónimo. Around 1805, this 18th-century building was enlarged and refurbished in neo-classical style by Antonio López Aguado, commissioned by María Manuela Pignatelli y Gonzaga, widow of the XI Duke of Villahermosa, Juan Pablo de Aragón-Azlor. Decades later it was one of the most prestigious mansions in the city. In 1823 he served as the residence of the Duke of Angouleme, then in command of the Hundred Thousand Sons of St. Louis, and years later gained notoriety for his festivals and cultural evenings: in 1844 he hosted two piano recitals by Franz Liszt, and hosted a Liceo Artistic and Literary in the decade 1846-56.
Villahermosa preserved its sumptuous interiors, which included a ballroom and private chapel, well into the twentieth century, as witnessed in a 1966 photographic report in the magazine Blanco y Negro. All this was lost in 1973 when the building became the headquarters of Banca López Quesada: underwent an aggressive reform, executed by the architect Fernando Moreno Barberá, who emptied the interior replacing the large rooms by offices. The bank broke down after a few years, and in 1980 the palace passed into the hands of the state, which used it to house several temporary exhibitions of the nearby Museo del Prado, which was then driven by space needs. It was thought to ascribe this building to the Prado as a complementary site, presumably to exhibit his paintings of Goya and the eighteenth century.
However, as part of the agreement between the Spanish State and the Thyssen family, Villahermosa went to the new museum and its rehabilitation as a gallery was designed by Rafael Moneo. The most praised improvements were the interior rearrangement in large rooms, the emphasis on natural light (with skylights regulated by sensors) and the change of the main access, which returned from the Carrera de San Jerónimo to the back façade as it was originally . It was understood that this entrance was more suitable to welcome the public because it had its own garden.
The marble of the floors and the stucco in roasted color of the walls were suggested by the baroness Thyssen, Carmen Cervera; An aesthetic solution that aroused controversy by departing from the usual sobriety in newly built museums. The colorful and somewhat ostentatious atmosphere reminds us of American foundations of private origin: tropical plants and a large tapestry with the coat of arms of the Thyssen decorate the atrium, flanking the colossal canvas El Paraíso de Tintoretto and sculptures by Rodin. Presiding over this room are full-length portraits of the barons and kings of Spain, Juan Carlos I and Sofía (all four painted by Ricardo Macarrón).
The museum was inaugurated on October 8, 1992, with the presence of the kings, and just eight months later (June 1993) the bulk of the collection became state-owned through a complex purchase agreement. In 2004 the museum was expanded to house the most valuable nucleus of the Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection, by adding two adjoining buildings previously belonging to the Goyeneche family; The first of which was built by the Count of Guaqui and the second by the Duchess of Goyeneche. These buildings were renovated by the BOPBAA studio (Josep Bohigas, Francesc Pla and Iñaki Baquero), and are connected by an angle to Villahermosa Palace. Its new facade facing the garden is avant-garde style although the interiors harmonize, in colors and materials, with those of the first building. After five years of separate exhibition, in December 2009 it was announced that both collections (state-owned and Carmen Cervera) would be merged into a unitary display in 2010, although this is being delayed and the second collection remains pending resolution.
The Palace of Villahermosa had been completely demolished inside (except for the north cradle, that gives to the garden) and reconstructed during its stage like bank, reason why its interiors lacked of historical-artistic value and could be reformed in depth, incorporating the technology more modern. Not so those of the two Goyeneche palaces, which even had protected elements, such as a staircase, and which the Town Hall discontinued because otherwise the reform could not have been made. The current façade of the Goyeneche block was previously a humble brick back, as a result of the enlargement added a coating of minimalist white line.
The artistic background began to form in The Hague around 1928, as a private collection of the first Baron Thyssen-Bornemisza, Heinrich (1875-1947). Earlier, around 1906-11, his father August Thyssen (1842-1926) had commissioned seven marble sculptures to Auguste Rodin. After several avatars, the second Baron, Hans Heinrich, bought six of them in 1956: currently four belong to his widow Carmen Cervera (who keeps them exposed in the atrium of the museum) and the remaining two were received by his daughter Francesca.
In just ten years (1928-38) the Thyssen added many of his best old paintings: Dürer, Holbein, Baldung Grien, Jan van Eyck, Fra Angelico, Carpaccio, Sebastiano del Piombo, Caravaggio, Frans Hals, Tiepolo … It is said That the purchase of so many masterpieces was possible because of the great activity of the art market, due to the crack of 29 and the difficult situation in Europe between the two world wars. Many European aristocrats (such as Barberini and Spencer) and American tycoons (such as J. P. Morgan, Jr.) had to sell their most precious paintings, and the Thyssen were able to acquire them at reasonable prices. However, it must be denied that the collection benefited from an alleged proximity to the Nazi regime. The Thyssen-Bornemisza did not reside in Germany but (successively) in Hungary, Holland and Switzerland; The confusion is explained by the existence of another branch of the Thyssen saga (Fritz Thyssen), alien to the Bornemisza and also dedicated to the industry, that did support to Hitler in its beginnings.
The collection grew so rapidly that in 1930 it deserved an exhibition at the Neue Pinakothek in Munich under the name of Sammlung Schloß Rohoncz (alluding to the old family home, a Hungarian castle). This exhibition with more than 400 pieces amazed the art critics, who did not know that so many works belonged to a single person. The Barón used to buy through intermediaries, concealing his identity. But the exhibition was also involved in controversy when discussing the authorship of some works; Controversy of which the main adversary was going to be the Hispanist August L. Mayer, one of the experts who had advised the baron Heinrich in its acquisitions.
In 1932 Baron Heinrich acquired Villa Favorita, a seventeenth-century mansion on the shores of Lake Lugano in Switzerland, which became his usual residence, and built a pavilion or gallery with 18 rooms to display the collection. This incipient (private) museum opened in 1937, but had to close its doors at the outbreak of World War II; Reopening a decade later. Upon his death in 1947, the First Baron had collected some 525 works and hoped that a foundation would ensure its integrity; But three of the four sons challenged the paternal will and forced the distribution of the collection.
The second baron, Hans Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza (1921-2002), popular in Spain thanks to his marriage to Carmen Cervera, continued the collecting activity of the family, both with old European masters and especially with Impressionist and modern painting, hitherto excluded By his father, of more conservative tastes. The first objective of the new Baron was to reunite the paternal collection, repurchasing works to his brothers; Persevered for decades and in 1986-88 he regained the Madonna of the humility of Fra Angelico (MNAC of Barcelona), The Fountain Nymph of Lucas Cranach and The Garden of Eden by Jan Brueghel the Elder. Other pieces of the family dispersed: Madero Haller of Dürer finished at the National Gallery of Washington, Tobias and Anne of Rembrandt entered the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam in 1979, and in 1995 more than 50 works of the so-called Bentinck- Thyssen. Among them was another painting by Rembrandt, Cupid making soap bubbles, currently in the Liechtenstein Museum in Vienna.
To the works inherited and recovered the baron united many from 1956, old and modern, from Petrus Christus, Antonello da Messina, Palma the Old one and El Greco, until Van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, Jackson Pollock and Tom Wesselmann. This intense buying activity reached a hundred pieces in a single year; (Including ballet figurines), sculptures, ivory carvings, silver objects, furniture, tapestries and carpets … The Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection was perhaps the most valuable private in the world and Undoubtedly the most varied and complete in Western painting, but its very size and inheritance issues made it difficult to ensure its continuity. The same baron confessed that since the early 1980s he was worried about the future of the collection.
In 1985 Hans Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza married the Spanish Carmen Cervera, with whom he shared his love of art. They went together to auctions and exhibitions, and Carmen’s influence would be decisive for the future of the collection, for until then the Thyssen had a diffuse image of Spain. Thus, when the tycoon began to deliberate on the final destination of his treasures, he included Madrid among the possible options.
Still, the baron kept his collection distributed in his various residences, located in various countries. It was proposed to reunite it and make it a stable institution by expanding the gallery of Villa Favorita, which exhibited “only” about 300 old works. He bowed to a blueprint of the architect James Stirling; But it was very expensive and the Swiss authorities did not provide the expected financial aid. In addition, a large-scale museum, with very high fixed costs, seemed unfeasible in Lugano; A sparsely populated town, away from the main cultural routes, with few hotels and roads so bad that many tourists preferred to move across the lake by boat. The baron ended discarding the enlargement and decided to move the collection to another place, reason why initiated a sagacious campaign of “seduction” to capture offers and to choose the most favorable one.
The Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection already enjoyed a notable prestige among the experts, because their masterpieces were cited in multiple books and participated in exhibitions; In fact in 1961 had deserved an anthology in the National Gallery of London. In addition the baron extolled the value of his treasures by publishing luxurious reasoned catalogs. In the 1980s Hans Heinrich Thyssen redoubled the dissemination of the collection by giving selections of works to museums from both Europe and North America, and even collaborated with the Soviet Union in the Perestroika years, exchanging exhibitions with the Hermitage and the Pushkin. A sample of the Thyssen roamed seven cities in the United States; A selection of ancient paintings arrived in Paris in 1982 and in St. Petersburg in 1987; Another of modern masters passed by the Royal Academy of London, the Metropolitan Museum of New York and the Pitti Palace of Florence; And in Spain the San Fernando Academy and the National Library showed 50 old works and 117 modern works (respectively) in 1986-87.
The news that the Baron “ceded” his paintings jumped to the media and encouraged more or less publicized offers and contacts. Bonn and London showed interest, Paris suggested the Petit Palais as a venue, a rumor about a Japanese offer, and it was said that the Getty Foundation in Los Angeles offered a fabulous sum: 300 billion pesetas for Villa Favorita and its content, Which would become the European branch of the J. Paul Getty Museum. Even the Disneyworld amusement park in Orlando (Florida) became interested in the collection. Experts commented that it was the largest remaining in private hands with the British Royal Collection, and unusual looking for new headquarters. Its value and attractiveness were undoubted: it covered six centuries of European painting with old masters that rarely went on sale, from Italian and Flemish primitives like Paolo Uccello, Van der Weyden and Memling to rococo and romantic like Fragonard, Chardin, Goya and Delacroix. And not only that; The collection also had an almost complete repertoire of Impressionist painters (Manet, Monet, Degas, Renoir, Van Gogh), who were exaggerated in the 80’s by the boom of auctions, followed by another display of the best modern art: Picasso, Dali, Kandinsky, Pollock, Rothko, Mondrian … For cities interested in enriching their heritage, this occasion was unique: it involved adding multiple art geniuses in one operation, saving time and money. For Spain the collection was doubly important because many of the artists included were not present in the national collections, and of several (like Jan van Eyck and Holbein) there were no more works on the market.
However, the Baron set very particular conditions that were not only solved with money: the Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection should be preserved as such, in a museum of its own and maintaining its name and its family collection profile. This prevented a hypothetical merger with the Prado and also excluded the millionaire offer from the J. Paul Getty Museum, which simply intended to add the pictures to its own repertoire. In addition, Baron Thyssen rejected any agreement with the Californian museum because they had been rivals in the auctions, when bidding for the same works. He understood that giving up his treasures to the Gettys was to assume a defeat.
Thanks to his marriage to Carmen Cervera, Baron Thyssen began to strengthen ties with Spain. This helps explain why the government of Felipe González addressed him in 1986. Paradoxically this first contact was propitiated by a painting other than his collection, La marquesa de Santa Cruz de Goya. It had been exported illegally, and the Ministry of Culture was looking for sponsors to buy it. The Baron received several Spanish intermediaries in his home in Daylesford (England), who received an unexpected response: he would not contribute money to the goya, but – encouraged by his wife – proposed that Spain would house the family-owned Thyssen-Bornemisza art gallery.
After a year of discreet negotiations, the Spanish government obtained the cession of the collection by offering difficult conditions to improve: it accepted the ones set by the baron, and offered as a venue for the museum the Villahermosa Palace, a central building of historical value, Prado Museum and overlooking the Plaza de Neptuno. This guaranteed an important influx of public and an international projection. The agreement contemplated that a group of works be deposited in the Monastery of Pedralbes of Barcelona, in response to a closed agreement between the baron and the mayor Pasqual Maragall two years before.
The “Protocol of Intentions” signed between Baron Thyssen-Bornemisza and the Spanish Government in April 1988, corroborated in December of the same year by a “Lease Agreement”, was so atypical that it triggered a debate in the international press. This deal provided for the loan of a large selection of the collection, in rent paid (five million dollars a year), for a maximum term of nine and a half years. This period was not random: in Spain, important works of art are recorded as goods of cultural interest (BIC) if they remain ten years in the country, which prevents their export. The Thyssen set a somewhat shorter period that would allow an eventual return of the cadres to Switzerland. Fortunately this did not happen, since the real objective of both parties was that the collection would definitely remain as a public museum. British premier Margaret Thatcher lamented the Spanish agreement as her biggest cultural failure, wishing to install the collection in the area of Canary Wharf (London), an old port area then under construction. They say the baron refused his offer because he did not like that place.
The Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum in Madrid opened its doors to the public in October 1992, while the exhibition for Barcelona was to be inaugurated in September 1993, in two rooms of the Monastery of Pedralbes. The lease was intended as a transitional formula to verify the suitability of the museum, so that after only eight months of operation the Thyssen agreed to sign with the Spanish Government (June 1993) the sale of the substantial part of the collection : 775 pieces, including all important (the so-called indivisible core) for a price of 350 million dollars (about 43. million pesetas of the time). From that figure the amounts already paid as rent were subtracted. The high sum caused discrepancies in the Congress of Deputies, although the valuation of the collection was much superior: according to the auction house Sotheby’s reached 2000 million dollars. The sale agreement was news in half the world and appeared on the cover in The New York Times, 6 being generally praised as an economically favorable treatment for Spain, given the high market value of the works. Contrary to what some critics supposed, the baron’s purpose was not to make a profit because by selling the works together and not auctioning them off one by one, he lost money. As he explained, his desire was to ensure the survival of the united collection, and indeed the perceived money was immediately distributed among his heirs by way of compensation; Thus eliminating possible claims like those occurred at the death of his father. Along with the acquired collection, both the museum of Madrid and the sub-area of Barcelona exhibited other pieces still owned by the family, ceded in deposit; Stands among them a marble statue of Bernini: San Sebastián (1615).
In the year 2002, the Museum, by betting on the educational value of the collection, reinforces the educational function of the Museum with the creation of EducaThyssen.org, 7 brand that gathers all the educational actions of the institution and that depends, with great autonomy of the rest Of the institution, of the Education Area.
In 2004 an extension of the Museum was inaugurated, partly destined to exhibit a selection of about 250 works of the Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection. This repertoire is not part of the permanent collection acquired by the State and is exposed as a deposit, through a loan agreement that has to be renewed periodically. Paralelamente, also in 2004 the artistic set deposited in Pedralbes was transferred to the MNAC of Barcelona, which attracted more public and reinforced this museum in its weaker sections.
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Adding to its own repertoire the works given in deposit by Carmen Cervera, the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum of Madrid shows a thousand pieces. They are exhibited chronologically in three plants, in descending order; From the 13th-century Italian Gothic on the 2nd floor to the art of the 1980s both abstract and figurative on the ground floor. They offer an uninterrupted view of the old masters and practically all the avant-gardes between Impressionism and Pop art, which is unusual in European museums.
Of almost encyclopedic profile, this museum can illustrate by itself the evolution of the European and American painting, and also takes on a special relevance in the artistic context of Madrid for the sections that complement the Prado and Reina Sofía Museum, especially in painting Medieval Italian, German renaissance, Dutch baroque, and international currents from Realism. The sections of Impressionism, German Expressionism, Russian Constructivism and other avant-garde movements are unique in the museum offer of Madrid. In fact, many of the foreign artists of the Thyssen, both ancient and modern, were absent from Spanish museums, just as Spanish painting prior to the twentieth century has a short presence in this museum.
The permanent repertory of the museum is complemented by a varied program of temporary exhibitions; Both large samples with loans from abroad and camera exhibitions (called Contexts) that emphasize the works of the museum itself. Among the most ambitious anthologies are the following: El Greco (1999), Braque (2002), Gauguin (2004 and 2012), Durero and Cranach (2007-08), Ghirlandaio and the Renaissance in Florence Pissarro (2013), Zurbarán (2015) or Caravaggio and the painters of the north (2016).
Italian Renaissance, 13th-16th centuries:
In the first rooms of the 2nd Floor, there are Christ and the Samaritan of Duccio, an Adoration of the Magi of Luca di Tommè, two tables of Bernardo Daddi (a Virgin with the Child and a small Crucifixion) and the San Pedro of Simone Martini (Provided by Carmen Cervera). Other important pieces of this time are deposited in the MNAC of Barcelona; Are due to authors such as Taddeo Gaddi, Lorenzo Monaco and Fra Angelico (The Madonna of Humility).
The Italian Quattrocento has examples of numerous teachers that do not exist in the Prado, such as Domenico Ghirlandaio with the Portrait of Giovanna Tornabuoni, from 1489-90. There are paintings (usually of small size) by Benozzo Gozzoli, Piero della Francesca (Portrait of Guidobaldo de Montefeltro), Paolo Uccello (Crucifixion among Saints), Cosimo Tura, Ercole de’Roberti, Marco Zoppo, Bramantino (Risen Christ) Antonello da Messina, Alvise Vivarini, Francesco Botticini, Andrea Solario … The imposing Young gentleman in a landscape (1510) by Vittore Carpaccio is a key jewel and is considered the first full-size and full-size portrait painted in Europe. It presides a room with memorable works of Gentile and Giovanni Bellini, Palma the Elder, Fra Bartolommeo, Bernardino Luini, Piero di Cosimo, Bartolommeo Veneto, Domenico Beccafumi, Bronzino (San Sebastián), Sebastiano del Piombo (Ferry Carondelet and his Secretaries), Titian (The dux Francesco Venier) …
German Renaissance: Dürer, Holbein …:
The German renaissance has more than 40 pieces, a richer set than the Prado which includes Durer (Jesus among the doctors), Lucas Cranach the Elder (Hans) and the famous Portrait of Henry VIII by Hans Holbein The young man, the only portrait of Holbein’s remaining autograph monarch, and of which the National Gallery in London was particularly interested. To them they add a small table with The burial of Christ of Hans Burgkmair and two important examples of Hans Baldung Grien: Adam and Eve and a Portrait of rare lady in its production.
This section also includes a wide range of portraits painted by other artists: Albrecht Altdorfer, Hans Holbein the Elder, Christoph Amberger, Michael Wolgemut, Bernhard Strigel, Barthel Beham, Hans Cranach, etc.
Netherlands, 15th and 16th centuries: Van Eyck, Memling …:
The Flemish primitives do not equal the wealth of the Prado, although here the only example of Jan Van Eyck in Spain is preserved: Diptych of the Annunciation. They also emphasize a small Virgin with the Child and a Portrait of man attributed to Rogier van der Weyden, The Virgin of the dry tree of Petrus Christus, one of the very few documented works of Jacques Daret (The Adoration of the Magi), Portrait of Robert Of Masmines attributed to Robert Campin, a juvenile Crucifixion of Gerard David and a superb portrait of Hans Memling, whose reverse shows a vase of flowers with the anagram of Christ, which constitutes an unusual and early example of still life. Already within the sixteenth century, one can cite John of Flanders (Supposed portrait of Catherine of Aragon), Jan Gossaert (Adam and Eve), Ambrosius Benson, Joachim Patinir, Joos van Cleve (Self-portrait with carnation), Jan van Scorel, Jan Mostaert, Marinus van Reymerswaele, Martin van Heemskerck (Woman spinning), Bernard van Orley, Lucas van Leyden (The card game) and Antonio Moro (Portrait of Giovanni Battista Castaldo).
From Giulio Romano to Caravaggio and Rubens:
A gallery overlooking the Paseo del Prado is dedicated to portraits: Giulio Romano, Bronzino, Ridolfo Ghirlandaio, Paris Bordone, Veronese, Correggio, Lorenzo Lotto, François Clouet (The letter) … Also exhibited The Rapture of Europe, large canvas By Simon Vouet. Nearby rooms are home to outstanding works such as St. Jerome of Titian, Pastoral Scene by Jacopo Bassano, four canvases by El Greco (Christ with the cross on his back, The Immaculate Conception and two Annunciations) and the famous St. Catherine of Caravaggio, among others. Tintoretto is exhibited here a pair of biblical canvases, to which must be added the monumental Paradise hanging in the atrium, which the baron acquired in 1980. Of the Spanish Baroque, two paintings by José de Ribera (a piety of 1633 and St. Jerome penitent), two others of Zurbarán (a crucified Christ and a Holy Casilda), one very important of Murillo (The Virgin and Child with Santa Rosa de Viterbo) and a still life of Juan van der Hamen. They compete with foreign authors such as Valentin de Boulogne, Tommaso Salini, Guercino, Sebastiano Ricci, Mattia Preti, Carlo Maratta, Giulio Carpioni, Francesco Maffei, Antoine Le Nain, Claudio de Lorena, Sébastien Bourdon, Jacques Linard. Daughters and Santa Cecilia, cataloged as works respectively of Orazio Gentileschi and Bernardo Strozzi when the collection arrived in Spain, but today considered works of workshop.
For the collection of Italian Baroque painting also see annex: Italian painting of the Baroque in the public collections of Madrid.
The Flemish background of the XVII is relatively small, although it includes examples of Rubens like a Portrait of young lady with rosary and a Venus before the mirror copied of Tiziano. Van Dyck’s Portrait of Jacques Le Roy is also relevant, and there are works by Jacob Jordaens (The Holy Family), Cornelis de Vos (Portrait of Antonia Canis), Jan Fyt (Still Life with Bunch of Asparagus), Jan Brueghel the Elder (Storm on the Sea of Galilee), David Teniers the Younger …
Dutch Baroque: Rembrandt, Frans Hals …:
In the last rooms of the 2nd Floor, with a small Adoration of the shepherds of Joachim Wtewael, the display of the rich collection of Dutch painting, led by Frans Hals and Rembrandt, begins. A self-portrait of the latter, acquired in 1976 and underestimated as a copy, has been authenticated as his original. He is surrounded by authors close to his style, such as Ferdinand Bol and Govert Flinck, as well as a pair of portraits of Gerard Ter Borch. In an adjoining room, Dutch and Flemish tenebrist authors are gathered: Mathias Stomer, Hendrick Terbrugghen (Esau selling his birthright), Michael Sweerts …
The Dutch section continues on the 1st Floor, with the family group and black bred in a landscape, large and very relevant painting of Frans Hals. They are followed by Gerrit van Honthorst (violinist with glass) and genre scene specialists such as Adriaen van Ostade and Jan Steen (Self-portrait), three still life by Willem Kalf, several landscapes by Jacob Ruysdael, and other names such as Ambrosius Bosschaert, Pieter de Hooch The Chamber of the City Council of Amsterdam), Jan Lievens, Meindert Hobbema, Philips Koninck, Albert Cuyp, Pieter Jansz Saenredam (The Church of St. Mary of Utrecht), Jan Jansz van de Velde, Arent de Gelder, Nicolaes Maes (The Drummer disobedient)…
From Rococo to Realism:
Plans 2 and 1 house the works of the eighteenth century with Watteau (Pierrot contento and El descanso), Boucher (The toilet), Nicolas Lancret (Allegory of the Earth), Fragonard (a youthful version of The swing), Jean-François de Troy, Hubert Robert (The Temple of Diana at Nimes), Jean-Marc Nattier, Chardin (Still Life with Cat and Stripe and two more works), Pietro Longhi (The Tickles), Piazzetta (Portrait of the Painter Giulia Lama), Pittoni Rest in flight to Egypt, The Sacrifice of Polixena) and the Tiepolo: Giambattista, with the monumental Death of Jacinto, and his son Domenico.
The great masters of Venetian vedutism, lacking presence in the Prado Museum, have a rich repertoire here: three works by Canaletto, two of which are very important in their best period; Two other views of Francesco Guardi and examples of Bernardo Bellotto and Michele Marieschi. It is also worth mentioning the English painting of the same century XVIII, traditionally ignored in the Spanish museums: Gainsborough (Portrait of Sarah Buxton), Thomas Lawrence, Johann Zoffany (The actress Ann Brown in the paper of Miranda) …
Three portraits of Goya mark the transition to Romanticism, with small paintings by Delacroix (Arab Rider), Gericault and Caspar David Friedrich (Easter Morning), Realism with Corot and Courbet (The brook Brème) …
Impressionism: Manet, Monet, Degas …:
The panorama of the nineteenth century culminates with Impressionism, which includes almost all the outstanding masters: Manet (front-facing Amazon), Renoir (Woman with umbrella in a garden, 1875), Monet (The Thaw in Vétheuil, 1881), Degas (Ladies at the millinery, Green Dancer), Camille Pissarro (landscapes Marly Forest and Saint-Honoré Street, rain effect), Alfred Sisley (The Flood at Port-Marly, 1876), Pierre Bonnard Misia Godebska), Berthe Morisot (The dressing mirror) …
Post-Impressionism and the End of the Century: Van Gogh, Cézanne, Munch …:
Van Gogh has four works of different stages, such as oil The village of Les Vessenots in Auvers and the engraving The potato eaters, while Paul Gauguin is only present with a landscape of his early years, although the loan of the Collection Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza brings a very relevant set of this artist, with eight more paintings and a curious sculpture in stoneware. Toulouse-Lautrec is present with two gouaches and a rare oil, The redhead with white blouse; Rivals him Paul Cézanne with the important precubista canvas Seated peasant (1905-06) and a still life in watercolor.
The museum also features examples of other turn of the century artists: Edouard Vuillard, the symbolist Gustave Moreau, Ferdinand Hodler, Lovis Corinth, James Ensor and Kees van Dongen. Possibly eclipses them (at least for current fame) Munch with the Sunset canvas. Laura, the artist’s sister (1888).
American painting of the XVIII and XIX:
It is striking the set of American painting of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, an area of art history little known in Europe. Includes examples of Gilbert Stuart, John Singleton Copley, Winslow Homer (three paintings and two watercolors), Maurice Prendergast, and John Singer Sargent (Portrait of the Duchess of Sutherland). Baron Thyssen assembled these works in a few years, before their value was raised; It is said that it is now difficult to add similar examples.
Fauvism: Matisse and Derain:
The section of the twentieth century has a prominent role in the Thyssen Museum; Covers wide gaps of the artistic panorama of Madrid and it must be reiterated that it was entirely conformed by Baron Hans Heinrich.
The sample of Fauvism is very small; Henri Matisse hardly has a smaller example (The yellow flowers), although it is necessary to emphasize a quoted London landscape of the best stage of André Derain (The bridge of Waterloo, 1906).
Germany: Expressionism and new objectivity:
Empress Nolde, Max Beckmann (Self-portrait with a raised hand and Quappi dressed in pink), Franz Marc, Ludwig Meidner, and Empress Nolde, were the most important examples of German Expressionists such as Ernst Ludwig Kirchner (eight works including Buscona Street dressed in red) Karl Schmidt-Rottluff, Erich Heckel, etc.
Special mention should be made of atypical artists such as Wassily Kandinsky, Lyonel Feininger and Egon Schiele. All three have a varied repertoire, especially Kandinsky with various paintings and watercolors ranging from his figurative stage from the beginning of the century to the total abstraction of the 1920s. Also Dadaist Kurt Schwitters has a good repertoire: three assemblies, a collage And a painting.
The new objectivity is present with an important portrait of Otto Dix (Hugo Erfurth with a dog), two of Christian Schad and a rich repertoire of George Grosz, with various watercolors and drawings along with two paintings. Its jewel is Metropolis, masterpiece that was defenestrada by the Nazi regime like degenerate art. Fortunately it was not destroyed and Grosz recovered it. It can also be included in this stream to Oskar Kokoschka, present with a portrait.
Cubism and Futurism:
The ground floor of the museum changes the salmon color of the walls by the white, to dedicate itself entirely to the twentieth century, from Cubism to pop art and Hyperrealism.
The examples of Picasso’s analytical cubism (Man with clarinet, 1911-12) and Georges Braque (Woman with mandolin, 1910) are highly quoted, as is Juan Gris’s The Smoking Man. The repertoire of Picasso is not limited to Cubism since it covers diverse phases of the artist, from its blue stage to the years 30; Suffice it to mention the master Harlequin with a mirror, the famous youthful engraving The frugal food and a precubista sketch next to Las señoritas de Avignon. The later Picassian example is a Bullfight of 1934. Also Juan Gris and Braque have other pieces: of Gray is exhibited Bottle and fruit bowl (1919) and of Braque a landscape of 1908-09 and the great still life The pink tablecloth of 1938.
Other artists more or less faithful to the Cubism are Robert Delaunay, Sonia Delaunay-Terk, Albert Gleizes, František Kupka, Auguste Herbin, Francis Picabia and Léger, of which the work La escalera (second state) is exhibited. Of the cubist attempts of Dalí, Pierrot and guitar is exhibited (1924); This author also has two important surrealistic oils.
The Italian Futurism is represented by works by Gino Severini, Giacomo Balla, Fortunato Depero, Umberto Boccioni … The English Vorticismo, movement that does not subsist many works, is illustrated with Percy Wyndham Lewis, David Bomberg and Edward Wadsworth.
The Russian avant-garde:
The Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum has more than twenty works representing various phases of the Russian avant-garde: neoprimitivism, rayonism, constructivism … You can cite (alphabetically): Yuri Annekov, Ylia Chashnik, Alexandra Exter, Natalia Goncharova, Mikhail Larionov Four works), The Lissitzky, Malevich, Liubov Popova (three oils), Olga Rozanova …
Abstraction between the wars:
From the De Stijl group, both Mondrian and Theo van Doesburg are represented in this museum. Mondrian exhibits three paintings (to highlight New York City, New York) and the second two other oils and a gouache. Also Vilmos Huszár and Bart van der Leck have two works each.
From the German Bauhaus, both Oskar Schlemmer and Moholy-Nagy are present; Of the second, the great painting of the railway is considered as a key part of its approach to Russian constructivism.
Chagall, Paul Klee:
In addition to the late works of masters already mentioned, such as Kandinsky, Léger and Braque, the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum exhibits a generous representation of two unclassifiable artists, or at least do not fit into any of the dominant currents of their time: Marc Chagall and Paul Klee. Of Chagall there are four works: a gouache, Masculine Nude, quite rare for its theme and for its style between Fauvism and Cubism; The oil The rooster (1929) and two important works of his production, oils The gray house (1917) and The Virgin of the village (1938-42). Also Klee has four examples: View of a square (1912), House revolving (1921), Still life with dice (1923) and Omega 5 (1927). The museum also possesses a barely sketched portrait of Kiki de Montparnasse by Modigliani.
Surrealism has a powerful presence in this museum; Are only about fifteen works, but by their importance and variety constitute one of the bases of the modern background. Salvador Dalí is possibly the protagonist of this set thanks to the iconic canvas Dream caused by the flight of a bee around a grenade a second before the awakening (1944). It is accompanied by another painting by the artist diametrically opposed by its dark color: Gradiva finds the ruins of Anthropomorphs (1931).
Other surrealist authors with important works are: Paul Delvaux (Woman before the mirror, 1936), René Magritte (The key of the fields, 1936) and Joan Miró (The Catalan peasant of the guitar, 1924). Miró counts on two other examples: Painting on white background (1927) and The lightning bird blinded by the fire of the Moon (1955).
Max Ernst stands out with four works: Untitled. Dadá (1922), Flor-Concha (1927), decalcomania Solitary tree and marital trees (1940) and canvas 33 girls looking for a white butterfly (1958). Yves Tanguy is present with three: Dead stalking his family (1927), Still and always (1942) and imaginary Numbers (1954).
EE. From cubism to hyperrealism:
For American painting, the Thyssen Museum is a kind of embassy in Europe, since this gallery is possibly the only one on the continent that has a fairly complete repertoire of the artistic evolution of the United States, from the time of independence in the century XVIII to abstract Expressionism, Pop art and the first Hyperrealism of the 1960s.
In the twentieth century, the American repertoire began with Stuart Davis, Charles Demuth, Arthur Dove, Marsden Hartley, John Marin, Charles Sheeler, Max Weber and one of the greatest painters in the country, Georgia O ‘Keeffe; The museum has four works of her, as disparate as the dark Abstraction (1920) and the luminous White Lily No. 7 (1957). The mid-century figurative side is perhaps more popular, thanks to authors such as Milton Avery, Ben Shahn, Andrew Wyeth and above all Edward Hopper. The museum has examples of all of them, and Hopper owns the famous hotel room (1931). Along with another small canvas and a watercolor, it forms a sample of this artist possibly unique in Europe.
The panorama of the last decades ranges from abstract painting, both geometric type and action painting (Jackson Pollock), to pop and the first hyperrealism of Richard Estes. Pop authors include Richard Lindner (Moon on Alabama), Tom Wesselmann (Grand Nude No. 1), Roy Lichtenstein (Woman Bathing), Robert Rauschenberg (Express) and James Rosenquist (Smoked Glass, 1962). Other artists are (in alphabetical order): Josef Albers, Romare Bearden, Joseph Cornell, Arshile Gorky, Hans Hofmann, Willem de Kooning, Morris Louis, Mark Rothko, Frank Stella, Clyfford Still, Mark Tobey …
Europe since World War II:
A portrait of Baron Thyssen painted by Lucian Freud in 1981-82 is the most recent work hanging in the museum; Is one of the four exhibited by this highly respected author. They are one of the main attractions of a post-war European repertoire, mostly figurative.
Among the co-authors we can cite: Michael Andrews, Karel Appel (Wild Horses, 1954), Frank Auerbach, Francis Bacon (Portrait of George Dyer in a Mirror, 1968), Balthus (The Card Game, 1948-50) , Willi Baumeister, Lucio Fontana, Alberto Giacometti, Domenico Gnoli, Renato Guttuso, David Hockney (in memory of Cecchino Bracci, 1962), Ronald Kitaj (Greek of Izmir (Nicos), 1976-77), Roberto Matta , Henry Moore and Nicolas de Staël.
Deposit in Barcelona:
Since its founding, the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum has kept in Barcelona a selection of works, close to sixty, which are complemented by other pieces (such as religious carvings) still belonging to the Thyssen family. In 1993 this set was presented to the public installed in two rooms of the Monastery of Pedralbes, monument of great historical value and also artistic by the medieval murals that conserves. It was understood that this place was the ideal location for this collection, rich in painting of Italian primitives, and at the same time it was hoped that the monastery would gain tourist flow. But expectations were not met, and in 2004 the Thyssen-Bornemisza warehouse moved to the center of Barcelona, the National Museum of Art of Catalonia (MNAC), where it contributes to offer a more complete overview of European painting.
The repertoire is very varied: it starts in medieval Italian art and reaches the eighteenth century. Especially valuable is the set of Italian primitives, with tables by Taddeo Gaddi (La Natividad), Barnaba da Modena, Andrea di Bartolo Cini (Christ’s Road to Calvary), Bicci di Lorenzo, Lorenzo Monaco (The Virgin and Child among Angels), Francesco del Cossa, Lorenzo Costa and the celebrated Madonna of the Humility of Fra Angelico.
The sixteenth century includes examples of great Italian masters such as Titian (The Virgin and Child, Portrait of Antonio Anselmi), Tintoretto (Portrait of a Venetian Senator), Veronese (The Annunciation), Dosso Dossi and Lorenzo Lotto. The German school has four tables by Lucas Cranach the Elder, portraits of Wolf Huber and Hans Müelich and a curious religious scene by Ulrich Apt.
The baroque of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries is represented by Italian authors such as Ludovico Carracci (The Presentation of the Child in the Temple), Sebastiano Ricci (Francesco Maffei, Canaletto in Venice), Francesco Guardi, Pietro Longhi, Piazzetta, Gaspare Traversi, Giandomenico Tiepolo (Christ expelling the merchants from the temple) and Giacomo Ceruti (Beggar’s group).
The repertoire deposited in the MNAC also includes an important canvas by Rubens (The Virgin and Child with Saint Anne and Saint John), a landscape by the Dutchman Salomon van Ruysdael and more discreet examples of Zurbarán (Christ crucified) and Velázquez (a Portrait of The Queen Mariana of Austria who could be a workshop replica).