The museum in action

Doña Pilar de Borbón, Mariano Rajoy (Ministro de Cultura) y los barones en la firma del préstamo de la Colección Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza

Doña Pilar de Borbón, Mariano Rajoy (Minister of Culture) and the barons at the signing of the loan of the Carmen Thyssen Collection, June 1999

Almost from the outset the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza displayed loans from the Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection which had not been part of the 1988 agreement and passed to Carmen Thyssen in 1993. The baron’s wife carried on collecting during the following years and in 1999 undertook to loan part of her collection free of charge for a ten-year period (which has since been extended to the present day). In addition to this important loan, other members of the Thyssen family have lent pieces from their own private collections, such as Sansovino’s Annunciation and Bernini’s Saint Sebastian

Ampliación del museo. Salas de la Colección Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza
Museum extension. Galleries housing the Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection

In 2004, following an agreement between the baroness and the Spanish government, a new wing of the museum was opened to house the Carmen Thyssen Collection. As well as new galleries, it was equipped with space for offices, workshops, storage, and temporary exhibition rooms.

Exposición Purple de John Akomfrah, organizada por TBA21, en las salas del museo, 2018

Exhibition Purple by John Akomfrah, organized by TBA21, in the museum rooms, 2018

Another significant recent contribution to the museum – called the Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza since 2017 – was the agreement signed with Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary (TBA21), a contemporary art foundation established in 2002 by the baron’s daughter Francesca Thyssen. TBA21 represents the fourth generation of the Thyssen-Bornemisza family’s commitment to the arts and its presence in the Madrid museum – with two exhibitions each year – establishes an ongoing link with cutting-edge art.

Mujer en el baño, 1963, de Roy Lichtenstein, en las salas del museo. © Pablo Casares
Woman in Bath, 1963, by Roy Lichtenstein, in the museum galleries. Photo: Pablo Casares

The year 2021 marks another important milestone in the museum’s history, at least in two respects. Firstly, it is the centenary of the birth of Baron Hans Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza, to whom the Madrid institution is paying tribute by organising exhibitions and special displays, series of lectures, conferences, and educational activities, among other events. Secondly, it has witnessed a long-awaited achievement: the signing of an agreement for the 15-year loan of the Carmen Thyssen Collection to the museum, with the option to purchase it at the end of the period.


Baron Thyssen-Bornemisza Centenary. 1921/2021

A collector’s legacy