Americans can paint (when they put their mind to it)

Thyssen - Street in Nassau

At first, the Old Masters collection of Thyssen-Boremisza in Madrid disappoints.  It can hardly do otherwise:  the expectations set up by the famous pieces they hold — a Claude, two Bronzinos, a Velvet Breughel, a Carpaccio — are so very high.  But the collection suffers from the “late-arrival” syndrome:  by the time collection-gathering swung into full tilt, the best pieces had already been permanently taken off the market: as a result, with the exception of the handful famous pieces everyone already knows about, T-B is full of minor masters, and very minor works by the great masters, and even minorer ones only attributed to them — usually not very convincingly.  (It’s supposed to have an important post 1900-collection, but how on earth would I know anything about that?)

The museum does contain a wonderful surprise, however: a large collection of late 19th century American academic landscapes — which are very good indeed.  If it weren’t for the topics, you’d swear these were 17th century Dutch.  This is perhaps the greatest pleasure one can experience in a museum:  to discover something completely new and unheard of.

Thank you, Miss T.

PS. If, like me, you are new to this world, here are a few names for you:  William Bradford , John Frederick Kensett , Frederic Edwin Church , Albert Bierstadt , William Trost Richards.

Thyssen - Trout catchers

thyssen - morgenstern

Thyssen - tropical landscape

Thyssen - Blue Ridge

Thyssen - Nicaragua

Thyssen - Labrador

Seaside with lighhouse

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