The Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza is said to contain the most important private art collection in the world. The museum occupies the 19th century Palacio de Villahermosa, which was remodelled by architect Rafael Moneo to house the nearly 800 paintings. The collection was assembled by Baron Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza and his son, Hans Heinrich, and includes works by Caravaggio, Monet, Degas, Gauguin, van Gogh, Picasso, Hopper, O’Keefe, and many others.
As a fan of the impressionist, post-impressionist, and early modern styles, the Thyssen-Bornemisza was the Madrid museum I was most looking forward to seeing. But the museum has much more, including 18th century Venetian paintings, Flemish, French, German, Spanish, and Dutch works, and 20th century art.
The collection is arranged in chronological order, so I’m impatient as we walk through the early Renaissance and 16th and 17th century paintings. We keep our eyes open for Caravaggio’s works, but there’s only one on display.
Eventually we reach the impressionist part of the collection, and there’s a lot to admire here. There are several nice pieces by Alfred Sisley, Camille Pissarro, and Claude Monet, and a couple by Edgar Degas and Paul Signac.
The next viewing room contains the post-impressionist collection, and here’s where I spend the most time, as Gauguin, van Gogh, and Toulouse-Lautrec are three of my very favorites. The Thyssen has an incredible collection by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, including the lovely Redhead with white blouse (1889).
While there are only four works by Vincent van Gogh, the collection does span his Dutch, Arles, and Auvers-sur-Oise periods. We saw Landscape at Dusk (Nuenen: 1885), Coal Barges (Arles: 1888), and View of Vessenots Near Auvers (Auvers-sur-Oise: 1990). A fourth said to be in the museum’s collection, Water mill at Gennep (Nuenen: 1884) was not on display. With its vibrant yellows and blues, View of Vessenots near Auvers in particular seems to jump off the wall and outshine the other paintings in the room.
I also enjoyed the various styles in the 20th century collection, which included pieces by Georgia O’Keefe, Marc Chagall, Jackson Pollack, and Edward Hopper. Hopper’s Hotel Room (1931) was my favorite 20th century piece.
If you’re a fan of impressionist, post-impressionist, or 20th century art like myself, a visit to the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza is essential.
Web site: http://www.museothyssen.org/Ingles/index.htm
Metro: Banco de España (L2); Sevilla (L2).
Tel: +34 91 369 01 51
Fax: +34 91 420 27 80