Madrid – Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum (Floor 1)

Following on from my visit to the excellent Thyssen Museum, I arguably stunned the art work with my analysis of the artworks on the second floor. Well, perhaps less stunned, as was totally ignored, but that’s probably for the best. I’ve rather forgotten exactly what floor some of the artworks were on, but from what I remember, the below were all on the first floor.

Henri Matisse’s Canal du Midi which was painted in 1898 and which is apparently painted with oil on cardboard, which is then attached to plywood. Sounds very professional…. The painting was for a while owned by Leo Stein, the American art collector and older brother of Gertrude Stein.

Édouard Manet’s Horsewoman which was painted in 1882 and is the only artwork by this artist that the gallery has. Manet was ill when he started to paint this artwork and the model was Henriette Chabot. He was keen for the artwork to be recognised by the Salon, a French organisation that was highly influential for artists, in 1884.

Edvard Munch’s Evening which was painted in 1888. This, rather randomly, reminds me of the immense security operation there must be at the gallery, and indeed at tens of other galleries around the world. Munch paintings have been stolen on numerous occasions, and it must be very difficult to defend such a large building from a potential attacker.

The painting includes Munch’s sister, Laura, and there are two other people in the artwork, standing by a boat. There were also once another two people in the painting, but Munch removed them, perhaps so that Laura remained the primary focus.

Vincent van Gogh’s Les Vessenots en Auvers which was painted in 1890, shortly before he killed himself. The photo is taken from a strange angle as that’s the nearest I could get to it, as it was one of the most popular paintings in the gallery. Actually, I could have patiently waited for a clearer photo, but I didn’t have the energy to faff about.

Henri Matisse’s The Yellow Flowers which was painted in 1902. It looks like a load of splodges to me, but I’m not very artistic, so let’s go with the gallery’s description instead. They say “the despondency triggered by the scandalous bankruptcy of his parents-in-law, who had been his financial mainstay during the early years, and the influence of the Nabis dulled his palette and simplified his compositions”.

Vincent van Gogh’s The Stevedores in Arles which was painted in 1902. The gallery has a long and detailed description of the meaning behind the painting, but the colours are certainly vivid and contrasting.

Andre Derain’s Waterloo Bridge which was painted in 1906. It’s not entirely clear from the photo, but the painting is comprised of lots of paint dots (apparently called the pointillist technique) and it was painted from the Victoria Embankment. The Houses of Parliament are in the painting, although are a little difficult to make out.

Something a little different, John Frederick Peto’s Toms River, painted in 1905. The painting is named after his house, and the HH is painted on, it is thought it refers to his grandfather, Hoffman Ham. The Star of David is there as an acknowledgement to the suffering of Jewish people, although it is hard for anyone to imagine just how much worse that got for so many Jews in the following decades.

Paul Gaugin’s Street in Rouen which was painted in 1884. The gallery has eleven works by Gaugin and they show a range of his different artistic styles. The gallery notes that he painted this during the period in which he was moving from being an amateur to a full-time artist.