Francesca Thyssen-Bornemisza

Francesca Thyssen-Bornemisza Producer

Founder and Chair of Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary (TBA21), Francesca Thyssen-Bornemisza is an activist, philanthropist and patron of the arts. Driven by a belief in the power of art to serve as an agent of change, Thyssen-Bornemisza has supported artists throughout her career in the production and creation of new work that fuels engagement with the most pressing issues of our times. Since 2002, TBA21 has built an unparalleled collection of contemporary art under Thyssen-Bornemisza’s leadership, including more than 100 commissions, by such artists as Olafur Eliasson, Monica Bonvicini, Janet Cardiff & George Bures Miller, Phil Collins, Claudia Comte, Cerith Wyn Evans, Amar Kanwar, Ragnar Kjartensson, Walid Raad, Ernesto Neto, Rikrit Tiravanija, and Ai Weiwei. TBA21 established and programmed a dynamic center for contemporary art in Vienna for 15 years, but since 2019 has established a new office in Madrid, with a contract with the Museo Nacional Thyssen Bornemisza to organize two exhibitions a year from her collection. TBA21 has partnered with institutions internationally to lend works and mount cultural programs of ambitious scale and scope. In 2011, Thyssen-Bornemisza co-founded TBA21–Academy with Director Markus Reymann, which convenes artists, scientists, policymakers and local leadership in sustained cross-disciplinary explorations to catalyse oceanic research and advocacy. In 2019 TBA21-Academy inaugurated a new art space in Venice called Ocean Space. Francesca Thyssen-Bornemisza has received numerous honors, including the Simmons Award for Philanthropic Excellence in 2015, the Merit Award in Gold of the Province of Vienna for her cultural engagement in Vienna in 2009, the Iceland’s Order of the Falcon in 2007 and the Montblanc de la Culture Arts Patronage Award in 1996. She is a member of the Explorers Club. Her sustained commitment to the cultural realm extends a long tradition of collecting and philanthropy in the Thyssen family that dates back generations. Her father, Hans Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza, was the founder of the Thyssen-Bornemisza National Museum in Madrid, where she continues to serve on the Board.

Image credits: SYX Studio