The Thyssen-Bornemisza collection, which is housed at the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum in Madrid and was cultivated by ARTnews Top 200 Collectors Baron Hans Heinrich von Thyssen-Bornemisza and Baroness Carmen Cervera, will remain in Spain for the foreseeable future.
The Spanish government has come to an agreement with Baroness Carmen Cervera, Baron Hans Heinrich von Thyssen-Bornemisza’s widow, that gives the state the option to purchase the collection after a 15-year period, during which it will stay in view in the capital city.
“The [culture] minister has managed to agree a solid contract lasting 15 years, with the option for the State to purchase the collection at the end of that period,” the Spanish culture ministry said in a statement. “The annual fee is €6.5 million a year for a set of paintings and sculptures with a value of €1 billion.” (In U.S. dollars, the collection is worth $1.2 billion.)
The world-class collection includes works by Monet, Picasso, van Gogh, Gauguin, Roy Lichtenstein, Rembrandt, Caravaggio, Peter Paul Rubens, and many more marquee names. The holdings span the 13th to 20th centuries, and the Spanish government will assist the Baroness establish a museum dedicated to Catalan painting in Sant Feliu de Guíxols, near Barcelona.
Among the works that will stay in Madrid is Mata Mua, an 1892 painting by Gauguin that is among the artist’s most well-known works. El País reported in 2020 that Cervera was contemplating selling the work, which is said to be worth $45.6 million.
The Spanish government purchased 775 works from the Baron’s collection in 1993, and the state created a new another contract for works from the Baroness’s own holdings when they were added to the Baron’s collection in 1999. In 2016, following various contract extensions, the future home of the Baroness’s contributions to the collection has been an open question.