Wed. Sep 28th, 2022

Madrid, (EFE).- The Prado Museum investigates the original origins of 62 works of art that it preserves in its collection, possibly confiscated during the Civil War and the Franco regime, including 25 from the General Commissariat of National Artistic Heritage, created in 1939.

On the 20th, the Prado published a list with these 25 works from its collection and announced that it would open an investigation to find out if there were more pieces in the same situation and, if necessary, “and proceed with all legal requirements. To their rightful owners.” to come back to.

Facade of the Prado Museum
A view of the main entrance of the Prado Museum in Madrid in a file photo. EFE/Victor Lerena

So far 62 have been identified and the Prado does not expect to find more, according to Efe sources from the Pinacoteca, who specified that they do not know which of these works have been claimed.

Of 22 of them, their provenance is already clearly stated in the public file on the museum’s website, while the remaining three pieces did not have a file due to their poor state of preservation. What the museum has done now is to group all the available information into one document that is accessible on the web.

The investigation opened by the Prado, and which will be led by Arturo Colorado, a professor and expert on the subject, aims to clarify any doubts that existed about the background and context prior to the entry into the Prado collection.

And the museum will apply the law if there is any injustice that can be recovered, after the corresponding claim is filed and there is a judicial decision, explained the same source.

62 works pending investigation

In particular, the Prado Museum preserves 62 works related to the General Commissariat for National Artistic Heritage (created in 1939) or the Board of Possession and Protection of Artistic Heritage (created in 1936).

Of these, 25 works assigned to its collections (23 paintings, 1 fruit bowl and a clock) from the General Commissariat of National Artistic Heritage, which, in turn, should have been confiscated and confiscated for protection. The Board of Artistic Heritage during the Civil War explained the museum.

In addition, it contains 11 paintings (deposited between 1936 and 1939) by the Artistic Treasures Ceasar Board and another 26 paintings deposited by the same board at unknown dates, generally in very poor condition.

Some of the works have some information relating to the provenance prior to confiscation, although in most cases the individual owner is unknown, either due to lack of information from heirs or family exile, among other circumstances.

17 of the 25 paintings that were delivered to the Prado Museum by the General Commissariat of National Artistic Heritage between 1940 and 1942, while 5 came to the Museum of Modern Art from the General Commissariat of National Artistic Heritage (1942), where they were part of the collection of the Spanish Museum of Contemporary Art (1968- 1971).

Also one that was distributed to the Museum of Modern Art, from the General Commissariat of National Artistic Heritage (1943), but which remained in the Museum of Contemporary Art and went to the Reina Sofia National Art Center Museum, from where it was connected to the Prado Museum in 2016 due to the reorganization of the collection. . And there is also a fruit bowl and a clock from General Thana in 1972.

The museum recalls that all information on the provenance of these 25 works is equally accessible to all citizens through the collection channel on the Prado Museum website.

And it explains that since 2017, historians and those interested in the evolution of artefacts during the Spanish Civil War and the Dictatorship, or those perhaps affected by the confiscation and return of artefacts during this period, can access the content preserved in it. Subject of the Digital Archive’s “The Civil War” collection, which contains 286 files.

The Minister of Culture, Mikel Iceta, has asked all national museums to do a job like the Prado so that “all works available to state agencies and public bodies recognize their origin” so that, if there has been an unjustified seizure, open a return procedure.

The government recently decided to return two works requested by the Franco regime to the family of shipowner Ramon de la Sota, after one of his heirs identified them at the Parador de Almagro (Ciudad Real).

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