On 13 April 2021 it will be 100 years since Hans Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza (1921−2002) was born. The baron inherited his father’s collection in 1947, completed it by acquiring further classic masterpieces, and began assembling one of the finest private collections of nineteenth- and twentieth-century painting in 1961. Concerned with preserving his collection intact and sharing it with as many people as possible, in 1988 he made a pledge to lend 775 works to the Spanish state and five years later signed a sale agreement.

All the centenary activities pay tribute to the baron, to whom the museum wishes to thank for his decisive contribution to culturally enriching our country and sharing with visitors – both in person and virtual – the conviction that art can change the world and make people freer.

With the Collaboration of:

Comunidad de Madrid
Evelyn Hofer: Baron Thyssen-Bornemisza in Villa Favorita, Lugano, 1983

I have a passion for art which has often seen me through difficult times in my private life and my business. It is more important than anything else and puts the rest in its proper perspective.

A life in pictures

Hans Heinrich as a child with his parents, his sister Gabrielle and his grandfather August, ca. 1926
Hans Heinrich boy, climbed on the gate of Scheveningen's family house
Gabrielle, Hans Heinrich and his first love, Pusch (Hannelore Schmidt), on the beach at Viareggio, Italy, August 1937
Hans Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza, ca. 1938
Hans Heinrich skiing, ca. 1945
Hans Heinrich's wedding with Theresa zur Lippe at Villa Favorita, Lugano, on 1 August 1946
Baron Thyssen-Bornemisza at the exit of the civil registry of Colombo (Ceylon) on his wedding day with Nina Dyer, 23 June 1954
Baron Thyssen-Bornemisza and his wife Fiona Campbell-Walter during the 36th Auction at the Stuttgarter Kunstkabinett, May 1961
Baron Thyssen-Bornemisza with Fiona Campbell-Walter, his third wife, ca. 1963
The baron Thyssen-Bornemisza with Denise Shorto, his fourth wife, on his wedding day in Lugano, 13 December 1967
Inauguration of the exhibition "Old Master Paintings from the Collection of Baron Thyssen-Bornemisza", at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, in November 1979. In the image the baron, Harry J. Gray, the baron's fourth wife, Denise Shorto, and John R. Stevenson
Evelyn Hofer: Baron Thyssen-Bornemisza in Villa Favorita, Lugano, 1983
Baron Thyssen-Bornemisza and Carmen Cervera during a gala reception at the exhibition "Modern Masters from the Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection" at the Royal Academy of Arts, London, 15 October 1984
Baron Thyssen-Bornemisza's speech on the occasion of the opening of the exhibition "Moderne Malerei aus der Sammlung Thyssen-Bornemisza" at the Germanisches Nationalmuseum in Nuremberg, January 1985
Wedding of baron Thyssen-Bornemisza and Carmen Cervera in Moraton-in-March, with Ann Getty and the Duke of Badajoz as godfathers, 6 August 1985
Baron Thyssen-Bornemisza at the Villa Favorita gallery of paintings, Lugano, ca. 1988
Baron Thyssen-Bornemisza in his office at Villa Favorita, Lugano, ca. 1990
Baron Thyssen-Bornemisza in the Madrid. Transfer of the Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection, 1992
Inauguration of the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum in Madrid on 8 October 1992. The King greets Baron Thyssen-Bornemisza in the presence of the Queen, the Minister of Culture Solé Tura and the baroness

Centenary activities

Exhibitions and special displays

Featured content

Nations separated by political barriers or with clashing ideologies can find common ground and a path to understanding in the universal language of art.
Hans Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza