The first exhibition of the Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection in the Thyssen Museum in Madrid: From Canaletto to Kandinsky. Masterpieces from the Carmen Thyssen Collection, was held in 1996 and showed a selection of 85 works dating from the seventeenth to the early twentieth century. In subsequent years, this first sample of the Baroness’s private collection was followed by different national and international exhibitions, showcasing the masterpieces in the Collection.
In the international context, the following stand out: From Zurbarán to Picasso, held in 1996 at the National Art Centre of China in Shanghai, and Masterworks from the Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection, held in 1997 on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the opening of the Villa Favorita Gallery in Lugano. The exhibition entitled The Spirit of the Place was held in the Frick Collection in New York. In 1998 the collection’s masterpieces went on show in Japan, with an exhibition based in four cities, entitled Masterworks from the Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection.
In the following years, this international vocation continued with many exhibitions on specific themes within the Carmen Thyssen Collection, such as Fortuny and Spanish preciosista painting in the Castello Ursino Civic Museum in Catania (1999), From Impressionism to the avant-garde in the Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection, Museum of the Palace of Fine Arts, Mexico City (2000), The Revolution of Colour. From Impressionism to the avant-garde, Masterworks from the Collection of Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza, lxelles Museum, Brussels (2000), Landscapes from Brueghel to Kandinsky. Exhibition in Honour of the Collector Baron Hans Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza, Bonn (2001), The triumph of colour. Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection: Monet, Van Gogh, Gauguin, Tolouse-Lautrec, Matisse, Kandinsky, Ruspoli Palace, Rome (2002). Likewise, 1997 saw the first monographic exhibition dedicated to the Carmen Thyssen Collection in Andorra. The theme was landscape painting: Catalan landscape painting from Naturalism to Noucentisme in the Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection, and later, Impressionism and its footprint in the Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection (2000) and The sea in Spanish painting (2005), all of them displayed in the Andorran Government’s Exhibition Hall.
In the national context, the exhibitions of the Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection have focused on specific topics in the collection, for instance vedute painting. The first to deal with this topic was From vedute to the first avant-garde movements, Museum of Fine Arts, Bilbao (1997). Later came The Voyage to Italy. Italian vedute from the eighteenth century, in the Monastery of Pedralbes, Barcelona (1997).
Subsequent exhibitions have been held in the main cities on the Spanish mainland, including Barcelona, Gerona, Tarragona, Lerida, Zaragoza, Santiago de Compostela, Valencia, Malaga, Corunna, Castellón, Los Arcos and Tudela (in Navarre), Mataró, Manresa, Seville, Almería, Lugo, Murcia and Oviedo, exploring different thematic aspects of the collection in depth.
Furthermore, the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum itself, in 2004, dedicated two of its temporary exhibitions to the Spanish paintings in the Carmen Thyssen Collection: Catalan Painting from Naturalism to Noucentisme and Andalusian Painting in the Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection. On the other hand, since it was inaugurated in 2011, the Carmen Thyssen Museum Malaga has dedicated its temporary exhibitions to disseminating the Carmen Thyssen collection. In much the same way, the Carmen Thyssen Space, inaugurated in Sant Feliú de Guíxols in 2012 with the exhibition Landscapes of light, landscapes of dreams. From Gauguin to Delvaux, hosts a temporary exhibition with different themes from the Carmen Thyssen Collection every summer. Since then, other exhibitions have included Sisley, Kandinsky and Hopper in the Carmen Thyssen Collection (2013) and The ideal in landscape. From Meifren to Matisse and Gontxarova (2014).
María Luisa García Serrano. Art historian.