Madrid’s Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum presents, for the first time, an exhibition that traces the genealogy of the artistic current known as hyperrealism. Titled Hyperrealism 1967-2012, the exhibit features works by the great American masters of the genre’s first generation, such as Richard Estes, John Baeder, Robert Bechtle, Tom Blackwell, Chuck Close and Robert Cottingham. It also explores the continuity of the movement in Europe, as well as the impact these artists have had on the more recent exponents of hyperrealism.
DON EDDY. Untitled, 1971.
The pieces on display come from several museums and private collections. They comprise a total of 66 works from three generations of artists. Hyperrealism 1967-2012 has already been exhibited at Kunsthalle in Tübingen, Germany. After it leaves Madrid it will travel to the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery in the United Kingdom.
The Thyssen Museum contains a magnificent art collection with pieces dating from the 13th to the 20th century. It has about a thousand works representing the main art periods and pictorial schools: renaissance, mannerism, baroque, rococo, romanticism and the art of 19th and 20th centuries, including pop art. In contrast to other Spanish State Museums, which do not have space to showcase works from other artistic movements (impressionism, fauvism, expressionism, and the avant-garde of the early 20th centuries) the Thyssen (a private museum, partly funded by the state) has one of the most complete collections in the world.
RICHARD ESTES. Nedick’s, 1970.
In addition there is a vast selection of American paintings from the 19th century, as well as the collections of the Barons Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza (1875-1947) and Hans Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza (1921-2002). Since 2004, the Museum also houses the Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza collection of more than two hundred works.
BEN JOHNSON. Looking Back at Richmond House, 2011.
However, the museum regularly shows temporary exhibits, which represent much needed vitality to modern museums given the exchange and mobility they bring. The great museums of the world often draw large crowds of tourists to their halls, since they are by far some of the most attractive and unique options in the cities where they are located, but the citizens of Madrid pay homage to their rich artistic legacy by visiting the more than one hundred museums the city has to offer. Most famous is the cultural triangle composed by the three iconic museums in the city: Museo del Prado, Reina Sofia and Thyssen-Bornemisza. ■