MADRID, Spain, June 16, 2006 – Works from one of the most significant private collections in Latin America will get its first public showing when the Thyssen Bornemissza Museum opens “From Cranach to Monet: Masterpieces from the Pérez Simón Collection” on June 20. Designed to give visitors a synthesis of the most important movements in art history from the 14th to the 19th centuries, the exhibition will showcase 57 paintings by some of the great names in art through September 10. Works from this stunning collection by Jan and Pieter Brueghel, Canaletto, Corot, Cézanne, Gauguin, Goya, Pissarro, Renoir, Rubens, Tiepolo, Van Dyck and Van Gogh – never before shown as a group – will surely attract visitors to Madrid this summer.

Also know as the JAPS Collection, after its creator, Juan Antonio Pérez Simón, its key qualities are its emphasis on works portraying feminine beauty, nature, scenes from daily life that juxtapose earthly pleasures with the ephemeral nature found in the still lifes and a fascination with light and color as shown in the transition from Academic painting to modern art. Founded in early 1990 with the aim of developing artistic projects to enrich Mexicans’ awareness of the fine arts, the highly esteemed collection of more than 1000 paintings, sculpture, drawings, decorative art works and manuscripts will soon be housed in its own museum being created in Mexico.

In 2004 the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, one of Madrid’s cultural jewels, doubled in size to accommodate the nine-year loan of more than 700 masterpieces from the Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection. The $45.7 million expansion by BOPBAA Studio incorporated two late 19th century buildings adjoining the Villahermosa Palace linking them to the museum with a new glass pavilion facing a garden terrace. The additional 90,000 square feet now houses a temporary exhibition room, a library and expanded facilities for visitors.

When the Spanish government paid $350 million in 1993 for the 775 works of The Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection – considered the world’s most important private art collection – it solidified Madrid’s reputation as a leading cultural capital. Spanning the history of painting from the beginning of the 13th century to the late 20th century, the famed collection of Baron Hans Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza and his father, Baron Heinrich has outstanding Old Masters (works by Duccio, Dürer, Caravaggio, Van Eyck, Holbein and Hals) as well as paintings by Gauguin, Van Gogh, Klee, Mondrian and Rauschenberg. The collection comprises Dutch and Italian Primitives, German Expressionism, Russian Constructivism, Geometric Abstraction, Pop Art and American 19th century painting – rarely seen in other European museums.

Similar in content to the Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection, the Carmen Thyssen Bornemisza Collection has significant holdings of 17th century Dutch paintings and of 18th century artists such as Canaletto and Fragonard, little represented in other Spanish museums. Perhaps the most important part of the collection is made up of 19th century paintings from John Constable and Caspar David Friedrich to the Impressionists including works by artists like Corot and Daubigny. Richest and most impressive are the Impressionist and Post-Impressionist holdings featuring works by Degas, Gauguin, Manet, Monet, Picasso, Pissarro, Renoir, Sisley and Van Gogh and the early 20th century avant-garde movements as seen in works by the Fauves (Braque, Derain, Matisse) and the German Expressionists.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” explains Javier Piñanes, director of the Tourist Office of Spain in New York. “Both the Baron Thyssen-Bornemisza and Juan Antonio Pérez Simón said “art should be shared.” This summer visitors to Madrid will be able to appreciate the parallels between their two collections which are really quite complimentary – both with works by leading artists and movements not usually found in private or public institutions in Spain or Mexico,” says Piñanes.

Curating the exhibit is Roxana Velásquez Martínez del Campo, director of the Museo Nacional de Arte (MUNAL), Mexico D.F. and curator of the Pérez Simón Collection. Mar Borobia, head of the Department of Old Master Paintings, Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum served as the technical curator.

The Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum is located at Paseo del Prado, 8 and is open Tuesdays through Sundays from 10 AM to 7 PM and during July and August the temporary exhibitions will remain open until 11 PM Tuesdays to Saturdays. (Closed Mondays.) Admission to the temporary exhibition is about $5.14 and about $3.85 for students and seniors. Combined tickets for the temporary and context exhibitions and permanent collection range from $9 to $14.50 ($6.40 to $10.30 for students and seniors)

For information go to http://www.museothyssen.org/ or call 011-34-914-203-944 or fax: 011-34-914-202-780. Images can be downloaded at: www.museothyssen.org/prensa/Exposicion-Cranach-Monet/Htm/Imagenes.htm. For further information about Spain, contact the Tourist Office of Spain in New York (212-265-8822); Miami (305-358-1992); Chicago (312-642-1992) or Los Angeles (323-658-7188) or go to http://www.spain.info/

For more on Spain at ITKT

National Gallery of Art : Master Paintings from the Collection