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Dispute between Catalonia and Aragon over 97 pieces of art continues

The Government of Aragon has launched a judicial war against the Catalan Government over art from the Monastery of Santa Maria of Sixena, Aragon. The paintings and pieces of art were bought by the Generalitat in the 90s and have been exhibited at the National Art Museum of Catalonia (MNAC) and the Museum of Lleida ever since. In 2013, the Aragonese Government expressed its determination to “defend the integrity of Aragon’s historic and cultural heritage” and reclaimed the pieces. Despite the Catalan Ministry for Culture having always defended the purchase and struggled to preserve these pieces on two fronts, the murals and the 97 pieces of art, on Tuesday the 53 works housed in MNAC will have to be returned to Aragon.

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22 July 2016 06:51 PM

by

ACN

Barcelona (CNA).- Art from the Monastery of Santa Maria of Sixena, in Aragon, continues to be the subject of controversy. The paintings and 97 works were bought by the Catalan Government in the 90s and have been exhibited at the National Art Museum of Catalonia (MNAC) and the Museum of Lleida ever since. However, in 2013 the Aragonese Government expressed its determination to “defend the integrity of Aragon’s historic and cultural heritage” and reclaimed the pieces. The Catalan Ministry for Culture has always defended the purchase and struggled to preserve these pieces on two fronts, the murals and the 97 pieces of art. Nevertheless, the 53 works housed in MNAC will have to be returned to Aragon on Tuesday, while the pieces exhibited in Lleida will remain there, at least for now. 

 


The Department of Culture told the CNA that the Catalan Minister for Culture, Santi Vila, sent a letter last week to his counterpart in Aragon explaining her the situation of the 97 pieces in litigation and their cataloguing. In the letter, Vila explained that the 53 works which are currently exhibited at MNAC were not subject to any protection regime and therefore could be transferred to Aragon. The 53 pieces are paintings and clothes which Vila already tried to transfer to Aragon last April but couldn’t ultimately be ceded because of political disagreements. The present resolution would have to be passed by Parliament next Tuesday.

This Friday, the current Spanish Vice-President, Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría, insisted that “legal rulings have to be fulfilled and are binding for everybody”. She also urged for the transfer to be made “within the best conditions”, to preserve the “conservation of the works”. Sáenz de Santamaría also called for “cooperation and collaboration between both governments to preserve the integrity of these pieces”.

44 pieces to remain at the Museum of Lleida

The fear is that the transfer of 53 of the 97 pieces from Sixena currently housed at the MNAC with no compensation would lead to a transfer of even larger pieces of art that have for many years been subjects of dispute between Catalonia and Aragon.

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  • Three sepulchres of the Monastery of Santa Maria of Sixena, currently kept at the Museum of Lleida (by ACN)

  • Three sepulchres of the Monastery of Santa Maria of Sixena, currently kept at the Museum of Lleida (by ACN)