The museum’s library is located on the third floor of the Palacio de Villahermosa. It is divided into six rooms with 20 study seats. Its main aim is to support research regarding the museum’s permanent collection and the Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza collection, as well as the activities developed by the museum itself.

The books we acquire for the library complete the extensive range that was brought over from Lugano, Switzerland. We also continuously update the bibliographies about the artists represented in the collection, prioritising their catalogues.

A unique and invaluable collection

A unique and invaluable collection

  • The library holdings focus on European art from the Middle Ages to the 20th century, and in 19th and 20th century North American art.
  • It houses books about various artistic movements, the experimental avant-garde of the early 20th century and central European art during the interwar years; books which are almost impossible to find in any other Spanish library. . 
  • The library contains about 29,000 books, 1,750 brochures, as well a vast selection of periodicals, electronic resources, and audio and visual recordings.
General Information

General Information

  • Restricted access to the library, only for Museum staff and researchers who are working on topics related to the museum’s permanent collection and the Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza collection, as well as post-graduates and other specialist researchers may use the library. Appointments are to be made in advance via email.
  • The library has a non-lending policy. However, in some cases we are able to offer restricted reproduction services. We also sometimes lend publications to other libraries or exchange them with other institutions.
Ex-libris del Barón Thyssen-Bornemisza

Historical overview

The library was created at the same time the museum opened in 1992. The management team needed this resource to support studies of the collection, to assist in preparing temporary exhibitions and to help training and educational activities organised as part of the museum’s cultural programme.

In 1999 the library received an important selection of 8,500 titles from Villa Favorita, the home of the Thyssen-Bornemisza family in Lugano, Switzerland. This donation was the express wish of Baron Hans Heinrich Thyssen. The importance of this donation lies in the fact that these books were acquired to complement the Baron Thyssen’s art collection. The books directly reflect the artistic tastes of the two men who created our magnificent art collection. The library also includes a small selection of publications from Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza’s library.

A project cataloguing the books from Lugano was carried out between 2007 and 2009.