Museo Thyssen Bornemisza (Thyssen Museum) --This art museum displays the eclectic art collection Spain acquired from Baron Hans Heinrich Thyssen Bornemisza (1921-2002).
Paseo del Prado, 8 - Metro stop: Banco de España
Latest update: October, 2008 Picture of Paul facing the Thyssen Museum
In the garden in front of the Thyssen Museum:
#1. Paul Schwarz, Man with hat and glasses, Jun 14,1998, JPEG on Monitor

The title for the above picture is a take-off on an abstract painting displayed inside the museum: #710. Pablo Picasso, Hombre con Clarinete, 1911-12, óleo sobre lienzo (#710. Paul Picasso, Man with Clarinet, 1911-12, oil on canvas). I didn't take a picture of the museum building, but you can find pictures in many Madrid guide books and in the links below.

For a good overview, I'll send you to Wikipedia, the Internet encyclopedia, to its Thyssen Museum Page.

And finally, for the real thing, I give you the official Thyssen page in Spain.

The reconstruction of the museum building, the Palacio de Villahermosa (Villahermosa Palace), was completed in 1992 to receive the baron's art collection whose purchase by Spain was completed in 1988. The name of the building comes from the fact that, before 1980, it was the home of the succession of Dukes of Villahermosa. The museum opened its doors to the public in 1992.

The story of this art collection starts in the early years of the 20th century after the Thyssen-Bornemisza family established the family fortune in heavy industry in Holland, Germany and Hungary. The collection once started was housed in the posh family villa near Lugano, Switzerland growing in a little over a half century to a point where experts considered that there was only one other comparable private collection, that of Queen Elizabeth II (Great Britain).

In the meantime, the original baron's son took as a fifth wife, the Spanish lady Carmen Cervera (María del Carmen Rosario Soledad Cervera Fernández de la Guerra). Tita (her nickname) was a former Miss Spain in the Miss Universe contest and divorced wife of actor Lex Barker (of Tarzan fame). Because of this Spanish association, Spain was able to acquire the entire collection when the family finally chose to sell it. Some of the other parties interested in buying the collection were Margaret Thatcher, Prince Charles, the Getty Museum (Los Angeles), the president of West Germany and even the Walt Disney Company. The price Spain paid was $350 million dollars, a bargain-basement price. Today the lady still participates in the museum's activities.

In fact, additional nearby buildings were acquired and they now house a great part of the extensive art collection of Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza .

After you have paid to enter the museum, you should stop in the great entrance hall to view two huge paintings: one of King Juan Carlos I with Queen Sofía (the current king and queen of Spain) and the other of Baron Thyssen-Bornemisza with his wife Carmen.

The museum remodeled under the direction of Spanish architect Rafael Moneo has 775 paintings, 447 from painters of the 13th to the 19th centuries and the rest from the 20th century. If you start on the top floor and work your way downstairs floor by floor you will view the collection in chronological order. On the ground floor there is the museum book store with all the art books you could possibly carry home, and, in the basement, a restaurant to satisfy your other hunger. Any bag you may carry into the museum will be x-rayed and checked for you to pick up later as you leave the museum.

Go back to the OLD-MADRID page.