As part of the activities scheduled to commemorate the centenary of Baron Hans Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza’s birth, the Museum has put together two special displays to be shown alongside works from its permanent collections. The collection assembled by Hans Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza was much larger than that currently on view at the Palacio de Villahermosa building. Apart from pictures – the core of the holdings – the family’s collecting zeal Hans Heinrich inherited from his father also extended to sculptures and superb examples of the so-called ‘decorative’ arts, whose presence enhanced and contextualised the canvases and panel paintings.
The first display, entitled Treasures from the Thyssen-Bornemisza family Collection and on show from 12 April 2021 to 23 January 2022, consists of a selection of twenty works. All of them except for three rock crystal pieces were part of a generous additional loan from Baron and Baroness Thyssen-Bornemisza for the museum’s opening in 1992, which remained on view there for nine and a half years. The more than 120 pieces included furniture, rugs, tapestries, gold and silverwork, jewellery, ivories, metal objects and, naturally, paintings. The purpose of this additional loan was to offer a glimpse of the richness and full splendour of the collection as a whole through a sample of other pieces on a par with the paintings. All the works selected for this special display, which is designed to recreate the same impression, were acquired by Hans Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza or pieces he inherited from his father and kept.
The second display, entitled Italian painting from the fourteenth to the eighteenth century from Baron Thyssen-Bornemisza’s Collection at the MNAC, is due to run from 25 October 2021 to 9 January 2022. It will feature twelve of the fifty-five works on long-term loan from this institution to the Museo Nacional d’Art de Catalunya. They were all acquired by Hans Heinrich between the 1950s and 1980s. Several of these paintings have never been shown at the Madrid museum because when the collection was moved from Villa Favorita in Lugano, where the Thyssen-Bornemisza bequest was housed, they travelled directly to Barcelona in 1993. This group of works will enhance one of the best represented types of painting in the museum: the Italian school. Examples by Baroque, Renaissance, and primitive painters will hang alongside the pictures by Italian artists in the galleries for several months in order to complement and enrich the presence of this important school of painting.