The Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza presented the exhibition "Balenciaga and Spanish painting", that connects the creation of the fashion designer to the tradition of Spanish painting from the 16th to the 20th century, one of his greatest sources of inspiration.
Curator Eloy Martínez de la Pera brings together 55 works from national museums, foundations and private collections, and 90 pieces of clothing, many of them exclusively on display. The Design Museum of Barcelona has loaned eight of their most antique and important pieces from the Balenciaga collection.
The exhibition offers a chronological overview of the artistic and cultural reference of the dressmaker. One of the rooms is dedicated to El Greco. Two editions of his "Annunciation" join two pieces from the Museum, sharing a similar chromatic palette. The embroideries are paired with different Spanish paintings of the royal court. For example, a portray of Margaret of Austria and a gown from 1961, decorated with jets and tassels. Other stops on route are the silhouettes of the frairs and saints of Francisco de Zurbarán, portraits of Francisco de Goya and costumbrist paintings of the 19th century.
The Cristóbal Balenciaga collection of the Design Museum of Barcelona consists of 163 pieces: night gowns, tailored suits, outfits, coats, skirts…, and 169 hats. These items date from the mid 1930s to 1968, when the Basque designer closed his boutiques in Paris, Barcelona, Madrid and San Sebastian.
Most of this collection focuses, above all, on designs of the 50s and 60s, when Balenciaga introduced most of his innovations in the creations, both formal and aesthetic. For instance, the bag dress, the tunic and the baby doll. In fact, the eight gowns displayed in the current exhibition "Dressing the body. Silhouettes and fashion (1550-2015)" belong to this period.