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"From Cranach to Monet: Masterpieces from the Perez Simon Collection"
2006-06-20 until 2006-09-10
Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza
Madrid, , ES Spain

From 20 June, the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum will be opening From Cranach to Monet. Masterpieces from the Pérez Simón Collection, the first public display of this important private Mexican collection. A total of 57 paintings by some of the great names in the history of art – including Cranach, Rubens, Canaletto, Tiepolo, Goya, Corot, Monet, Cézanne, Gauguin, Pissarro, Renoir and Van Gogh – will provide visitors with a synthesis of the most important movements in art history from the 14th to the 19th centuries. In addition and for the first time, it will offer an overview of what is considered one of the most significant private collections in Latin America.

The Pérez Simón Collection

Comprising more than 1,000 works and including paintings, sculpture, drawings, the decorative arts and manuscripts from the 14th to the 19th centuries, this Mexican collection is well known and highly esteemed by art historians and a reference point for experts. Works from the collection have been included in a number of temporary exhibitions and museum projects but have never before been presented as a group.

The Pérez Simón Collection is also known as the JAPS Collection, the initials of its creator, Juan Antonio Pérez Simón, and of the foundation that manages it: Juntos Actuando por la Superación A.C.. It was founded in early 1970 and is currently embarked on a project to create its own museum. In addition to the conservation, study and dissemination of the works in the Collection, the Foundation’s aim is to encourage the development of cultural and artistic projects that enrich the taste and awareness of the Mexican public in the field of the fine arts.

Aesthetic rigour and the careful selection of works, as well as the unique personality and tastes of the Collection’s owner are the characteristics that define the Pérez Simón Collection. Among its particular traits are the clear interest in female beauty, nature, scenes from daily life that juxtapose earthly pleasures with the ephemeral nature of existence as found in still lifes, and a fascination with the use of light and colour, principally in the transition from Academic painting to modern art.

While placing particular emphasis on the 17th and 19th centuries – the latter the particular focus of the present exhibition - the Collection also has fine examples of early 20th-century avant-garde art as well as an important group of contemporary Latin American paintings and sculptures. The continuous process of acquisition over the last two decades has been principally aimed at filling the significant gaps in the collections of Mexican museums and collections.

Before its permanent installation in a specially-designed museum that will open in the near future in Mexico City, the official presentation of the Collection at the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum allows the visitor to appreciate the parallels between the two collections. These are principally their origins as private collections, the international nature of their holdings, and the complementary role that both Foundations play in the cultural scene of their respective countries, given that both collections have works by leading artists and movements not otherwise found in private or public institutions in those countries. They are also united by the desire expressed by their respective founders, Baron Thyssen-Bornemisza and Juan Antonio Pérez Simón, to exhibit their collections to the public as a result of their conviction that “art should be shared”, in the words of both. This desire has influenced the history of both collections and the institutions that manage them.

From the more than 400 Old Master paintings in the Pérez Simón Collection, the exhibition’s curator, Roxana Velásquez Martínez del Campo, has selected an important group which includes magnificent examples of Italian, German, Flemish, Dutch, French and British works. Particularly outstanding is the selection of 19th-century paintings, as this is one of the finest areas within the Collection, especially Victorian and Impressionism painting.

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